Charles Kendrick has been cooking since the 1960s, taking his fondness for traditional barbecue flavoring to the kitchen with his latest venture—Mr. K's Barbeque. Mr. K's serves a distinct style of patiently-smoked Tucson barbecue, in a market-style setting, that includes half-pound pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches in a tomato-based sauce and racks of ribs served simply in dry-rubbed tuxedos. The restaurant also offers catering packages that feature one, two, or three meats along with homemade sides.
The pit masters at Hog Pit Smokehouse prepare a huge menu of meats that they season with secret-recipe rubs and then cook slow and low over aromatic pecan wood. They bequeath everything from wings to rib-eye steak with the kiss of smoky barbecue. Diners can dig into platters piled high with award-winning pulled pork, corn, texas toast, and a choice of side dish.
If the kitschy surrounds don’t keep kids entertained—old wagon wheels and bull skulls line the pine walls in this western-style trading post—the musicals that take place Monday through Saturday will. As guests watch the show, their tables fill with family-style bowls of baked beans, ribs, and roast chicken.
Over a mesquite fire is where the pit masters at Chandler BBQ Company do most of their work, slow cooking meats until they're tender enough to fall off the bone. They choose not to favor any regional style of barbecue, loading their grill with whole pork shoulders for pulled pork sandwiches, brisket for barbecue burritos, and louisiana hot sausages that come paired with two homestyle sides. No matter what entree they serve, they always pair it with a slice of cornbread to mop up the flavorful juices. Though they specialize in meats, the chefs have a soft spot for desserts, fashioning Southern favorites such as banana pudding and their signature slices of sweet potato pie. For meals at home, they package meats by the pound and sides by the quart to create meals that are both tasty and fast, much like that hamburger somebody put on a skateboard.
By morning, Brady Bogen is "the voice of morality" on KUPD's Holmberg's Morning Sickness, but come lunchtime, the quirky radio personality dons another cap: barbecue aficionado. After finishing his radio shift, Brady heads over to his barbecue restaurant—Porkopolis—which he co-owns with seasoned restaurateur Matt Hamilton. You can spot Brady in the joint's dining room, captaining the bar, greeting customers, or digging into a juicy barbecue sandwich himself. Otherwise, he might be in the kitchen, directing chefs as they pile platters high with slices of tender brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. The skilled chefs smother platters with Brady's own brand of tangy sauces and pair dishes with classic sides such as mac 'n cheese, beans, and cornbread. For dessert, the chefs dish out apple crisp and handmade popsicles from Paletas Betty.
Customers hungrily inhale barbecue aromas as they await meals in the dining area—a space described by a Mouth By Southwest blogger as "sleek" and "modern." They bide the time by sipping draft beer and artisanal cocktails, including bacon bloody marys and drinks made with whiskey from Ole Smoky Distillery.