Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ on How He Got Started and His Restaurant’s Unexpected Location

March 29, 2016 - bbq set

Chef Scott Holmes has a adore of barbque that translates into prolonged waits and clinging customers.EXPAND

Since opening in 2014, Little Miss BBQ has turn famous as a Valley’s tip mark for grill — and prolonged lunchtime lines. Led by cook Scott Holmes and his wife, Bekke, along with Holmes’ father, Denman, and brother-in-law, Quinton, a grill and a simple, internal atmosphere ideally fit a spot’s down-home eats. 

On any given day, we can find diners queued adult outward a little restaurant, watchful for plates piled high with what Holmes calls Central Texas-style ‘cue. The menu includes slow-smoked greasy brisket that glistens in a midday sun, poignant house-made sausages, and pig ribs wearing a thick cloak of black peppers bark. 

In some ways, Holmes, a Valley internal who grew adult in Tempe, is an doubtful father for this internal grill haven. He started his grill career by attending culinary propagandize after graduating from high propagandize and primarily worked during Havana Cafe, a well-loved Cuban grill that sealed in 2014. After flourishing unfortunate with a cook’s life, he left a grill business to seat down with a some-more normal career offered medical equipment. 

The branch indicate came when Holmes married and trafficked to Texas to revisit Bekke’s family. He remembers his in-laws met them during a airfield with a cooler of drink and announced, “We’re going to Salt Lick,” a worshiped grill grill in a heart of a smoked meat-rich region.

“I was preoccupied with a place,” Holmes says. “There was a large mill array with glow and all this beef on it … it was glorious.”

Scott Holmes shows off his smokers, filled with tender briskets.EXPAND

When Holmes returned home, he bought a smoker and started cooking grill for fun. For a subsequent 4 years, he baked for friends and family, and after going to a grill competition, motionless he could presumably be a contender. His mother agreed, and Holmes began to practice. For weeks on end, he would set adult his cooler and smoker outward his home to use his paces in preparation. In a end, Holmes says he did fine yet not good during that initial competition, and he spent a subsequent 5 years competing in a Kansas City Barbeque Society circuit. 

Eventually, Holmes’ mania gave approach to a career idea as he and Bekke returned to Austin again and again to revisit family and spend time checking out a grill scene.

“We were during John Mueller [Meat Co.], and we was examination this man thinking, ‘Man, that would be a coolest thing in Phoenix,'” Holmes says.

And only like that, a initial hints of Little Miss BBQ began to arise.

Holmes’ initial judgment for a grill grill in Phoenix enclosed a rented lot with a trailer and Port-a-Johns on a side. It was to be a infrequent mark with a dynamic, contented atmosphere, yet Holmes says county needing scarcely laughed during a idea of unstable toilets. He afterwards motionless to demeanour for brick-and-mortar locations, and after a year and a half of searching, he found Little Miss BBQ’s home on University Drive between 42nd and 44th streets. 

If it seems an doubtful mark for a highly-respected grill restaurant, Holmes is austere it’s not.

“I suspicion it was in a center of nowhere, yet a airfield is 4 mins away,” he says, adding that Arizona State University’s Tempe campus is only 3 miles divided and that downtown Phoenix can be reached by a brief 10-minute drive.

Still, Holmes will acknowledge he wasn’t always so sure. 

“When we sealed a franchise and got a keys, this place was a dump,” he says, adding, “The initial time we came we was on a verge of crying. we was like, ‘What am we doing?’ There were dual frame clubs nearby. Why would anyone wish to be here?”

Nevertheless, Holmes and his family did roughly all a cleanup themselves, and before long, a doors to Little Miss BBQ opened.

Lines of grill being smoked for tomorrow's lunch rush.EXPAND

Success was discerning to follow. People from circuitously offices would come to check a grill out, returning in following days with a incomparable organisation of co-workers, Holmes remembers. Visitors on layovers during a airfield came to eat, and solemnly yet certainly a lines outward of Little Miss BBQ began to grow. These days, a line can infrequently raise adult to dual and a half hours.

“It blows my mind,” Holmes says, yet he admits a vigour can also be stressful and humbling. 

Holmes describes a grill as Central Texas style, smoked over white ash and pecan woods, with elementary seasonings of salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne. He uses primary brisket, that he says should be prosaic and ideally thick all a approach across.

“It’s about removing a beef to shine,” Holmes says. “What can we furnish with good meat, seasonings, and technique?” 

The prolonged lines might sound intimidating, yet Holmes says congregation find ways to perform any other during a wait. He says one-third to one-half of guest are repeat customers, and they can mostly be listened revelation newcomers, “You’ve never had anything like this!” There’s an electricity, and a wait is partial of what creates going to Little Miss BBQ such an sparkling experience. 

Arizona diners might be scandalous for disliking wait times, yet many come out of a Little Miss BBQ knowledge observant they would have happily waited twice as long. The outcome brings Holmes and his family a good clarity of pride.

“I adore it,” Holmes says. “I can work 80 to 90 hours a week and still come in each day. There’s no place I’d rather be.”

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