By Andrea Harward
Downtown’s favorite barbeque joint inside the Container Park has recently welcomed veteran chef Ken Brown to their team. With his arrival, Big Ern’s unveiled a slew of new menu items worthy of sharing the plate with any of its barbequed meats.
Barbeque culture has always held a special place in its heart for potato salad. Served a la carte, piled onto your sandwich or mixed into your jambalaya, potato salad is the quintessential southern side dish. Big Ern’s potato salad ($2.95) is made with celery, onion, healthy chunks of potatoes and the surprise addition of black olives. It’s slightly sweet, dense and creamy, proving potato salad made without mayonnaise can be just as satisfying.
Jambalaya, the classic Cajun sausage and rice dish, can be made with anything and everything. Big Ern’s jambalaya ($3.95) packs a ton of heat, big flavor from the sausage and chicken, a little sweetness, and lot of smoke.
Perfectly prepared collard greens are a true delicacy. Think of them as the side salad of the south. Big Ern’s collard greens ($2.95) boast a rich, meaty base, smoky pork pieces, big spiciness and not a hint of bitterness.
Nothing goes with barbeque quite like macaroni and cheese. This is some of the richest, cheesiest mac and cheese around. Made up of large elbow macaroni resting in a creamy cheese sauce and ribboned with thick strands of melted cheese, digging into this macaroni and cheese ($3.95) is a sinful adventure.
The fried okra ($2.95) are tater tot-esque cubes of golden-fried goodness. Pair with the mac and cheese and prepare to share these crispy, crunchy bite-sized treats with your dining companions.
Don’t let the pecans and golden raisins scare you, a warm and buttery spoonful of Big Ern’s bread pudding is like a soul-soothing hug for your tummy. The texture is just right. The seasoning is just right. The balance of pecans and raisins is just right. And at $4.95 for each hearty serving, it’s easy to go back for seconds.
Big Ern’s dedication to quality barbeque and southern hospitality has helped amass a loyal following and propelled the tiny restaurant into the local spotlight. The second location is set to open at Fiesta Rancho on October 1.