Chandler's Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival: Plenty of Food, Space, and Music
Chandler's Great American BBQ and Beer Festival, now in its fifth year, delivered on the promises of barbecued meats, craft beer, and music. We had our reservations at the start of the event but walked away full and thoroughly impressed with the event's organization, food and drink offerings, and entertainment.
Lauren Saria The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival delivered on the promise of BBQ, beer, and music.
We arrived in downtown Chandler about 10 minutes before the festival gates opened at noon and found ourselves at the back of a very long and slow-moving line of attendees waiting to get inside. There seemed to be little forward progress for about 15 minutes, but we were able to get inside and start eating around 12:20 p.m. Next year, a smoother -- or just faster -- process for admitting early guests would be nice, but other than that, we have few suggestions for improvement.
Lauren Saria Despite long lines to enter, the festival was one of the best food events we've been to so far this year.
One of the best things about the event is the venue, which allowed plenty of space for those who brought lawn chairs, tents, and the like. Food vendors, beer tents, and liquor tents and vendors were spread over three streets in Downtown Chandler. The setup meant little to no lines at most tents and plenty of space to sit and enjoy your food.
We started our eating on a high note with a $2 sampler from Four Brothers SmokeHouse & Grill. About two-thirds of the BBQ vendors offered these affordable, sample-size portions of meat in addition to full-size sandwiches and plates. Four Brothers, based in Tempe, might have been offering the best deal, though, with just two bucks getting you a slider and a side of your choice. We went with a brisket slider and mac n' cheese. The brisket -- smoked for 12 hours -- was tender and well-spiced and one of the best things we ate all day.
We also enjoyed the $2 rib sample from Waldo's BBQ, based in Mesa. Not only was it a huge beef rib, it was one of the most tender pieces of meat we've had in a while. It was smokey and nearly falling off the bone.
Lauren Saria Waldo's rib was $2 well spent.