Barbecue is to summer as chili is to fall. However, as the heat rises, even die-hard backyard chefs know when to step away from the coals. Make your surrender to summer a little sweeter by exploring these East Valley eateries. My list of favorites includes much more than your standard burger or brisket; this is barbecue three ways, and you’re going to want to try them all.
1445 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler
(480) 899-7675 or PorkopolisBBQaz.com
Porkopolis is a modern adaptation of all-American barbecue. Classic cravings include pulled pork sandwiches and fried pickles, but it’s the burnt ends that will forever raise your barbecue bar. Can’t decide? Share a man-sized meat platter including choices like brisket and melt-in-your-mouth baby back ribs. Signature sides include homemade corn bread and mac-and-cheese goodness.
2950 S. Alma School Road, Mesa
(480) 897-2451 or AlohaKitchen.com
Aloha Kitchen is serving up barbecue in island style, incorporating inspiration from Japanese, Hawaiian, Chinese and Korean traditions. This neighborhood spot is dishing up plates just like TuTu Wahine (that’s grandma to you mainlanders) used to make. When you go, try the Bulkogi Plate, thinly sliced rib eye beef marinated in Korean barbecue sauce, charbroiled and served on a bed of cabbage with rice and macaroni-potato salad.
YC’s Mongolian Grill
3260 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe
(480) 820-8880 or YCs-MongolianGrill.com
YC’s Mongolian Grill removes the restrictions of a standard menu and leaves it to you to build your own barbecue bowl. Choose your protein (thin-sliced chicken, pork, beef or tofu squares), and then pile on a variety of crisp vegetables, noodles and your own special sauce. I take mine heavy on the fresh garlic and toasted sesame oil. Experiment with creating your own sauce, or choose from popular prepared mix-ins.
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