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Jul 1, 2006 02:44 AM

Calling Paz and Alice: Big Daddy's BBQ? (MSP)

Have there been any sitings of the guy who served ribs outside Johnny Baby's last summer?

Paz, I'm writing because you mentioned wanting to try the barbeque without sauce. Have you (or has anyone) spotted him in the parking lot yet?

For those who might be interested, Johnny Baby's is at 981 University Ave W., St. Paul MN. Big Daddy used to cook on Saturday afternoons. If you see his tent & smoker out there, sound the alert!!!

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  1. Per Paz, we have not really looked for him, but we have noticed that West Indies Soul is serving BBQ on the corner of Dale and University that we have yet to try.
    Paz is the BBQ king, I am just his mouthpiece on this one. I am flattered to get a shout-out!

    1. Almost one year later, here's a Big Daddy sighting for you.

      There's a big sign on the former Abundant Bistro that says "Big Daddy's BBQ" and "Saturdays Only"

      It looked like they were getting stuff set up behind the building today...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Danny

        THANK YOU!

        Gotta do serious laps around the lakes tomorrow to burn enough calories. I last saw this guy in the summer of 2005, and the lunch serving was brontosaurus-sized.

        1. re: Danny

          Big Daddy sighting confirmed - they're cooking today (Saturday) in the parking lot next to the Abundant Bistro. So is West Indies Soul, making the University-Dale corner into a two-establishment rib festival.


          1. re: AnneInMpls

            I grabbed some rib tips for my trip up north Saturday afternoon. (Rib tips were all they had ready/left at 3-ish, but they had a huge stack of them working up on the grill).

            If you like the flavor of smoked meat uninterrupted by spices, rubs and/or sauce these are definitely the way to go. Pure, sizzling, satisfying, plain ol' smoky meat. In this town, this is probably the finest treatment of meat with smoke by far.

            It's always a trick to eat BBQ and drive at the same time (I don't condone this with anyone other than myself...ha ha) but there aren't a whole lot of places to sit down and eat around Abundant Bistro. By the time I was at the 694/94 split at Maple Grove, I was thoroughly satisfied and sticky fingered. Thank goodness it was my mother-in-law's car.

        2. Driving home from the Hmong market last Saturday I took University Ave to Snelling. Lo and behold, just before the corner of Dale and University I noted a group of folks standing around the North side of the street and some smoke billowing from between two buildings. Then I noted the sign:

          Big Daddy's Saturday Barbecue - Saturdays Only

          Since I was full, I waited until today to check it out for lunch. I'll be back.

          Had a 1/2 rack of ribs and 1/2 a chicken (I do have leftovers). Both meats were excellent. They are served dry with a boat of their tangy, tomato-based sauce. Great smokiness and excellent char. They split the ribs for you and chop the chicken into pieces which is a nice touch making it finger food.

          Bring wet-naps if you intend to sit on the hood of your car and eat the food in the parking lot. Although the rest of you may be more civilized than I and will bring it home.

          I figured all y'all must have been there so I did a quick search and came up with this thread.

          5 Replies
          1. re: SLBunge

            Thanks for the reminder--I just saw this post, and was so inspired that we ran out and got some BBQ pork ribs! Fantastic. I'll post photos later, but their hours are 11am-7pm, Saturdays only.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Photo #1 Big Daddy's Bright yellow sign as you come from the West on University or from the South (Dale St.)

              Photo #2 The parking lot scene you see as you come from the East on University (they don't have an East facing sign...)

              Photo #3 Menu (sorry so fuzzy--I tried to crop the photo to make it closer up but I'm not sure it helped.) $17 for a full slab of pork ribs. Otherwise, there's beef ribs, tips, cole slaw, potato salad and pop. Bummed there was none of his fantastic other sides (baked beans, collard greens, etc.) but the star was always the BBQ!

              Photo #4 Full slab of pork ribs, sauce, and bread


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Photo #1 Close-up ribs (you can see the smoke ring, right?)

                Also, I'm attaching places link --it's in the parking lot for the old Abundant Bistro, next to Saigon on University. (Note Abundant Catering is apparently still going strong, it's just that the restaurant is no longer operating...)


                Abundant Bistro & Catering
                609 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55103

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Oh, it turns out you cannot post photos and a places link at the same time. The places link "took" but the photo didn't, so, once again, here's Photo #1 "Close up ribs (you can see the smoke ring, right?) again. I hope it works this time!


              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                I got the impression (because of the sign) that they will be going year-round and move inside when the weather gets cold. But I forgot to ask.

                Thanks for the photos.

            2. Big Daddy was doing a brisk business today in spite of the rain. I had a half-rack of pork ribs ($10), which were beautifully charred and amazingly good with or without sauce, and a cup of coleslaw ($1) which was okay -- could've used more vinegar. But, dang, those ribs. I'm afraid Pastor Hamilton has been replaced in my affections. Sorry, Rev.

              I was there around 5:00 and they were out of chicken; Big Daddy says he usually runs out by late afternoon.

              1. In this morning's PiPress Nancy Ngo says Big Daddy's is now offering BBQ on Fridays in addition to Saturdays. She also says "to take out or to eat in"--have they opened up the Abundant Bistro space or something for dining in? Anyone know?


                5 Replies
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  i was just there this last weekend, and i noticed they've changed their sign to "*friday* and saturday bbq!" but i was outside the whole time looking at the smokers-- dh went inside and placed our to-go order. i'll ask him if he saw a dining area opened up inside.

                  we got pork ribs and they were fantastic as usual. fwiw i'm pretty scary when i eat bbq ribs. i really don't think i would do it in public :) besides they taste better when you eat them with your pants off!!!

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    I'm not sure if that's too much information or not enough information soupkitten.

                    Thanks for the heads' up on this...I'm much more likely to get over there on a Friday nowadays. A while back I was talking to them about future plans and they mentioned a few things. I'm hopeful they keep moving in the direction of a more permanent place as well as some side dishes. How great would a smoky bowl of beans, some mac and cheese, and/or some other gluttonous delight be with those smoky meats?!?

                    1. re: MSPD

                      Drove by this morning on my way into work and they were stoking the smokers. That corner smells sooooo good.

                    2. re: soupkitten

                      dh says the inside looks the same, & no dining area apart from the "conference room"-- which i think you need to reserve in advance for bigger parties. but maybe this is what n. ngo was referring to by "eating in?"

                      MSPD: at the risk of giving too much info-- dh once walked into the home office to find me sitting in the dark mawing down on some big daddy ribs. i hadn't bothered to turn on the lights (there was some fading light from the windows, i could still see, kinda) but i'd removed my pants because i didn't want to get sauce and grease all over them. so me with guilty expression, some bbq ribs, no pants, in the dark. . . he says he almost peed himself laughing and now eating big daddy ribs sans pants is a big joke in haus soupkitten. . .see when i say i shouldn't eat bbq in public i mean it! :)

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        Just had my first Big Daddy's experience - rib tips and beef ribs. Wow. Ribs were incredible - tender and greasy and so flavorful. There was a line of people at 1.45 including a couple of other newbies. Will be making the trek on a regular basis if my arteries can stand it.