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BBQ Love


Love for family - love for bbq

REAL. GOOD. MEAT.

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BBQ Love


Love for family - love for bbq

REAL. GOOD. MEAT.

BIGMISTA'S IS ABOUT TRADITIONAL BBQ WITH A LOVE FOR ALL THINGS SMOKY

The Sammich Shop opened in November 2014 and is located in what is considered east Long Beach. Morning Wood opened November 2015 in what is considered Lakewood Village. Since then, People's Choice Champion, Bigmista, has continued to serve up brisket, ribs, pastrami and other smoky goodness to young and old, hip and geek alike. They operate on the Texas tradition of WHEN IT'S GONE, IT'S GONE. We also believe that those who stand in line take precedence over those in the phone.

Both places our offer limited seating, so we don't feel bad if you order to go. Most of our smoked meats are carved to order, whether it's a half pound of brisket or a whole rack of ribs. This helps it to retain the juicitosity (the interior doesn't dry out). We could do like some places and have it sitting in some sort of wetness but that's not how we do. If you know anything about low and slow, you know it requires patience. We in the business to serve good food, not fast food.

The juicy morsels of beef, pork and poultry are seasoned with our own rubs (Chicken Scratch - Bitchin' Beef - Perfect Pork). It's so tender there are no words… Real food is the name of the game and we want to serve something that makes you think of foodfamily and fun.

Bigmista's started it's smoky journey on the California bbq competition circuit in 2006 and still competes even now. After earning awards and request for food, in November 2008, Neil & Phyllis decided to sell at farmers markets in around the Los Angeles area. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bringing families back to the table with REAL. GOOD. MEAT. is how we do. No one appreciates family and good bbq more than we do because family goes beyond bloodlines. It's the folks that laugh, cry and raid your fridge. They show up to your potluck empty handed and leave with a plate.

It is our mission to make you feel like family when you visit Bigmista's. The only difference is we don't expect you to do the dishes.

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Eat Together


Sit down and enjoy a meal with the ones you love. Talk, not text!

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Eat Together


Sit down and enjoy a meal with the ones you love. Talk, not text!

We're meant to be social We're meant to eat. We're meant to love. All that can be accomplished with bbq. We're not talking the quick grill stuff that may take 30 minutes. We're talking about briskets, butts and ribs, that take hours and patience.

Our pitmasters smoke meat for a living but they talking about smoking meat because love it They will talk about the joys of bbq with you till the cows come home, but don't expect them to give you the family secrets.

Our cashiers can tell you what's good for the day and what's gone. We don't run out our purpose, it's just folks get a case of monkey see, monkey do (oooh that looks good, I'll have that).

They also have a tendency to go in Mrs. Mista's stash of Tootsie Pops. If she ever finds out who giving away her suckers, they're in trouble.

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The Family


If you must know.

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The Family


If you must know.

Bigmista's Barbecue is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Neil and Phyllis Strawder. 

Neil caught the barbecue competition bug back in 2004 and that's where it all kind of kicked off. The business started as a way for Neil to replace Phyllis' shoe budget he was dipping into for barbecue competitions. The idea to compete in the first place came from the great guys Neil met on the BBQ Brethren Forum. After posting, reading and finding community on the site, Neil decided he wanted a smoker. At the time the Strawders lived in a two-bedroom apartment, UPSTAIRS, with a balcony. Phyllis, being the supportive and understanding wife that she is, said sure. As competitions produced awards, so came more request for Neil's signature barbecue. 

In October of 2008, Neil and Phyllis decided to make Bigmista's Barbecue official. Instead of opening a brick-and-mortar eatery, the Strawders started vending at the Watts Farmer’s Market. With plans to grow slowly, they hit the road crawling. They discovered that trying to sell barbecue during Thanksgiving and Christmas was a bad idea but hung in there, wanting to see if people would like their food enough to buy it on a regular basis. They hoped that if things went well enough, Neil would be able to leave his job in August of 2009. By February 2009, Bigmista was in five markets and Neil turned in his resignation without any regrets.

Bigmista continues to grow and change with each passing year. Some of the markets where they've done vending are Torrance, Eagle Rock, Silverlake, Lawndale, Echo Park, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo and maybe a few others. The only one they have stayed true to is Atwater Village which help put them on the map. Neil and Phyllis attribute their success to faith in GOD and a very supportive family. Without either, none of this would be possible.

Pitmaster

Neil obtained his great love for food from his dad, Henry (Pop) Strawder AND mom, Patricia (Pat) Tate. They are both great cooks in their own right. His second love (being a computer geek) is a distant flicker in his rear view.

Neil has done a lot of things over the course of his life. He was a DJ, bartender, web designer, bodyguard and finally a banker before he gave into his passion and decided to capitalize on his cooking. Now he’s the man with the apron and the big mouth. He loves being out with the crowd and seeing the enjoyment on their faces when his food crosses their lips. He wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 Neil's cooking prowess has garnered him a lot of great publicity and many awards since his final career change. He has competed on Season 2 of BBQ Pitmasters as well as The Ultimate BBQ Showdown on CBS. He even wrote a dating cooking book (before Mrs. Mista).

Everything Else

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Phyllis avoids cooking as much as possible but jumps in when she has too. She is a forever student with a Bachelor’s degree from CSULA in Finance. She gets her thirst for  knowledge from her dad, Phillip (Phil) Williams and her giving nature from her mom, Helen (Hel) Williams.

She was the requisite bbq wife (or widow) with a job and benefits behind the bbq man. Now she's The Money Lady and all things administrative for the business, She also keeps everyone in line, including the customers. She's a has a degree in Finance, completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Entrepreneurial Program, is a Certified KCBS Judge and serves on the Culinary Advisory Board for Long Beach City College.

Although she loves to write she's only taken the time to write one article for the online magazine Smoke Signals. She tried blogging for a while but was short lived as she likes to put pen to paper. Also Bigmista considered her blog post to... for the company site so hence the separate site. Now her mission is to build a bbq empire unlike any other. Sounds like something to write about.

Heir Apparent

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Morgan has been running around the farmers markets since before she was 2. By age 4 she was sitting on a stool at the booth taking orders. She loves her ribs but has moved on to pulled pork being her favorite.

Morgan is will let you know that she is the manager of the upcoming restaurant and get's very upset if you say otherwise. She plans to have a new dessert place soon after.

She has yet to figure out how to balance school, friends, karate and mommy telling her to get a job but she' working on it.