Big T’s BBQ (Calgary) – If you love meat (like me) you’ll love this place
I first came to Big T’s BBQ in 2004 with J’s family when it was a newer franchise that had just opened. J’s father was difficult to impress as he was a barbeque connoisseur himself, but more of the Chinese variety. He didn’t like the place too much but I immediately loved it and since then, it has been a yearly indulgence. I’d go more but J forbids me. What blew me away initially was how much preparation went into the meat. I remember reading that their beef brisket is smoked for 18 hours, their ribs smoked for 12 hours etc etc. It hasn’t really changed its appearance in the last several years. It is a southern BBQ house style place with very simple decor and lots of blues. Typical soundtrack includes John Lee Hooker, Etta James, BB King, and Muddy Waters.
We decided to come here with a few friends for my birthday while I was in Calgary for the summer. Looking at the menu, I was blown away that it wasn’t made of paper anymore! They used to have a ridiculous paper menu that was always water damaged. Finally. Plastic. We’ve made progress. Sadly, the cost of making the laminated menus has caused the price of my favourite dish to rise in price.
This is the Elvis Platter for $95. It feeds about 5-6 people. It used to cost $65. It makes me sad that the cost has risen so much. But damn is it tasty. What you get is sliced beef brisket, pulled pork, 8 St. Louis ribs, a whole chicken, rib ends, andouille sausage, coleslaw, baked beans, fries, cornbread and buns.
This thing is just huge! So much starch! We rarely finish everything but we never ever leave meat uneaten. The beef brisket is smokey, fatty, and juicy. The pulled pork is a bit leaner but still very tender. The St. Louis ribs aren’t quite fall off the bone but it is likely secondary to the smoking that makes them so damn tasty. I like it more than Swiss Chalet (though Swiss Chalet has a special place in my heart). The rib ends are nicely crisp but juicy by the bone. The sausage is passable as there is so much better meat to eat. The chicken is probably the most outstanding meat. Infused with smokiness, very tender without being undercooked, falling off the bone, with slightly crispy skin. God my mouth is salivating writing this.
I love Big T’s BBQ. I don’t care that the Elvis Platter has gone up in price. I am going to keep supporting this business because it gives me all the meat I want…. and all the meat I deserve. There are lots of small scale things to eat here as well but truly, the platters are irresistible.
Big T’s BBQ, 2 locations, no website.
2138 Crowchild Trail NW, Calgary, AB, (403) 284-5959