BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.

I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman  at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.

He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.

Naked BBQ

Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.

Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.

After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd  Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.

The meats at Naked BBQ

The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.

Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.

Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).

Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.

Sauce it up

If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.

If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.

Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market Expands Dinner Menu at Campfire Bistro and beer & wine now also available to go with that award-winning barbecue

Here is an update for some new additions to Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market which is on the Southwest corner of 94th and Bell Roads and continues to be more than just a gas station. The corner store has quickly become a neighborhood meeting spot for a cup of locally roasted coffee at Pinnacle Perk or breakfast and lunch at the Campfire Bistro. This week, the Bistro introduces an expanded dinner menu and full table service from 4:30 – 8pm nightly. The new offerings coincide with its license approval to serve beer and wine.

Chef Tudie Frank-Johnson has taken the café’s award-winning barbecue and Southern-inspired specialties to create a range of family dinner-worthy dishes. Headlining the menu are the Barbecue Ribs – a half rack of ribs with two side dishes for $16. The Campfire Bistro ribs recently took top honors at the Channel 15 Sonoran Living BBQ Challenge.
Also on the menu are Grilled Salmon over Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Red Pepper Coulis and Sautéed Zucchini with Shallots ($13.99), Crab Cakes, and rotating specials like Blackened Catfish with Fries, Fiesta Slaw and Drizzled with Chipolte Aioli ($10.99) and Peach Cobbler ($3.99).
“The community has been so supportive of Tom’s and everything we offer. The Bistro is truly becoming the meeting place we’ve hoped for – where neighbors come in for breakfast or business people for lunch,” says operator Jonathan Kish. “We’re excited to be able to offer a formal dinner menu for our guests to enjoy in the evening with their friends and families.”
The dinner menu is available from 4:30 – 8pm nightly when the Bistro transforms into a full restaurant with table service.
Tom’s Thumb also is now serving beer and wine by the bottle and glass. The selection changes weekly and comes from its range of affordable, high quality wines and craft beers selected by Market Sommelier Chuck Hesson. Prices range from $4 – 5 per bottle for beer and $5 – 11 for wine. Drinks are $1 off during happy hour from 3 – 6pm daily.

Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market is located at 9393 E. Bell Road, Scottsdale on the SouthWest corner of 94th and Bell. Find menus and other updates about the market on its website, TomsThumbFreshMarket.com, on Facebook (facebook.com/Toms-Thumb-Fresh-Market) and the Twitter (@TheThumb1). 480-513-8186.

FIRST ARIZONA LOCATION OF CAN’T STOP SMOKIN’ BAR-B-Q SCHEDULED TO OPEN IN CHANDLER MAY 3! Restaurant to introduce healthy dining options, wooden nickel program to benefit community

 
Prior to last week, the focus was on the 5,200-square-foot interior of the new Can’t Stop Smokin’ Bar-B-Q restaurant at 7250 W. Chandler Boulevard in Chandler, which has involved multiple truckloads of logs, all hand cut on site.  According to General Manager Nick Jaquez, this construction represents the casual, mountain feel the restaurant is incorporating, as it is now finalizing the exterior and preparing to introduce the first Arizona location of Can’t Stop Smokin’ to the East Valley May 3. 
“We look forward to introducing Can’t Stop Smokin’ and our Mountain-style barbeque, which has been crafted over the past 15 years,” said Jaquez.  “In addition to offering a new, healthy dining option for the neighborhood, we also provide business delivery and catering.  Those who live or work in the area will appreciate our carry-out options, such as our family-size dinners that include smoked barbeque chicken or a rack of ribs, with side dishes and whole pies or cobblers.”
The focus will be the restaurant’s signature, 20-foot-long hotline counter that will showcase a variety of healthy, high-quality, smoked barbeque meats, including beef, pork, chicken and turkey, all prepared fresh daily with homemade, preservative-free seasonings, and then smoked on-site for between three and 13 hours.  Each is served deli-style with a choice of Classic or Southwest Spicy barbeque sauce.  Also available: a salad bar (offering “power greens”); beef and turkey jerky; numerous side dishes beyond the standard coleslaw, baked beans and corn-on-the-cob; and desserts like homemade, pies, cookies and cobblers.
As it prepares to open, Can’t Stop Smokin’ is posting regular construction updates on its website (www.CantStopSmokin.com), and on Facebook (CantStopSmokinBBQChandler), and is finalizing the hiring of outgoing, energetic people to serve the restaurant, which will seat up to 140 guests.
“In our other restaurants, it is our team members and the service that really sets us apart,” said Conrad Studor, director of franchise development for Can’t Stop Smokin’.  “We also support the communities in which we do business, and are proud to introduce our wooden nickel program, which each month, based on specific customer input, will benefit four local community and charitable organizations.”
In New Mexico, Can’t Stop Smokin’ was recently named “Best BBQ” by Ruidoso News and “Client of the Year” by New Mexico State University in Alamogordo, N.M.  In Chandler, the new restaurant will be open seven days per week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  For more information or to learn about franchise opportunities call 888-99 SMOKIN (76654) or visit www.CantStopSmokin.com.