Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que

2117 Lamar
Sweetwater, TX 79556

Phone: 325-235-2700
Hours: M-W 11-6, Thur-Sat 11-8

Opened 2000
Pitmaster Gaylan Marth
Method Mesquite; direct-heat pit
Pro Tip Save room for Mrs. Marth's key lime pie.

TMBBQ Rating: 4

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

More Reviews

May 16, 2013

The exceptional thing to note about Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que is the fact that it exists at all. Located in a caliche lot along a desolate road in Sweetwater next to a bowling alley turned bar, Big Boy’s has the feel of an oasis—or a mirage. Blink and it might disappear. But Big Boy’s isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it was Harold’s, the venerable joint forty miles up the interstate in Abilene, that disappeared, back in…


October 18, 2011

A large pickup truck whizzed along Lamar St. (State Highway 70) in Sweetwater while we sat in the parking lot of Big Boy’s enjoying some smoked meats while my newborn son ate in the backseat. The scene was only worth a glance until a State Highway patrolman followed with lights and sirens blaring . . . then another, and another, and another, until five police cars had passed, one of which narrowly missed a semi truck as it passed under the I-20 overpass. We wouldn’t know until the next day that the driver had stolen the vehicle and was shot dead just a few blocks north of where we had sat.

Moments before, things were much more calm inside Big Boy’s. It was getting near closing time and the place was pretty empty on a Saturday night. I chatted with owner and pitmaster Gaylan Marth while my order was being put together, and he made no qualms about sharing his cooking method. “It’s not smoked,” he said. In the way of Cooper’s, Hard 8, and Schoepf’s, this meat had been cooked directly over mesquite coals. Gaylan uses whole briskets that are around eight or nine pounds so that they cook a little quicker under his 275 degree fire. On this day I was seeking some of that brisket along with the ribs and beans. Dessert wasn’t in my plans, but they generously offered to give me a large serving of banana pudding gratis after they returned with a huge pan of it from a catering gig.

St. Louis-cut ribs had more than a subtle glaze. This one was pretty thick with black pepper and possibly honey. There wasn’t really a smoky flavor to cover up given the cooking method, but it would have been duly covered. While providing and enjoyable flavor, the glaze was certainly the dominant flavor on these perfectly cooked ribs. Brisket was sliced from the flat end and was very tender. I’m used to seeing brisket sliced very thick at other direct-heat joints because of the tenderness, but these were sliced thin and fell apart completely after handling. Even if only small pieces could reach my mouth, the flavor was excellent. The meat really took on the flavor of those mesquite coals unlike I’ve seen before. The sweet black pepper rub was a good complement. I just hope the next visit will be a bit less dramatic.

(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)



    Anonymous says:

    Good reportage Daniel, I’m a sucker for what’s happening around me while I eat my meal.
    RL Reeves Jr

    Born and raised in Memphis on pulled pork and ribs, I know a thing or too about good Q. I’ve been living in Texas for 10yr and have yet to find a good BBQ joint that serves pork until I stumbled on Big Boys last month. The ribs are great! In fact I found all the sides to be great too including the coconut cake. Now the pork shoulder was sliced instead of pulled but it was good too. 2 ??up

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