The temperature was already into the mid-80s when I arrived at Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix on a June morning. Though the eatery’s doors don’t open until 11 a.m., my cousin — who was already a frequent visitor to the Austin-inspired barbecue joint — insisted that we arrive at least an hour and a half early to ensure we get the freshest cuts. (I initially thought she was crazy, but when I saw the line of cars following us into the parking lot, I knew that this was something worth waiting for.)
We claimed the coveted position of first in line and settled into our place just outside the entrance doors. As I peeked in, employees were already prepping the meats for service, with the menu handwritten on butcher paper and taped on the wall just behind them. My nose then led me to the side of the shop, where large smokers contained juicy cuts of brisket, pulled pork and ribs. An employee had opened the smokers and began piling slabs of meat on a metal tray to be served for the day. Immediately, I cared less about standing in the heat and more about taming my grumbling stomach.
Just before the restaurant opened, a man in an apron and glasses came out to talk to my cousin and me. His name was Scott, and he was just as excited as we were about being the first ones in line as well as that it was my first time there.
Scott proceeded to tell us the specials of the day and what we shouldn’t miss out on. It wasn’t until he moved on to the next party that my cousin turned to me and said, “He’s the owner.”
Finally, the doors opened, and Scott took his place behind the counter, offering samples of the brisket and any other type of meat we wanted to try. My cousin and I settled on, well, basically everything: brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs and sides of potato salad, coleslaw and beans.
We devoured the food in what seemed like record time and still had room for a mini pecan pie, freshly made by Scott’s wife every day. Suddenly, standing in 80-degree weather for nearly two hours seemed very well worth it, indeed.