Big Rig BBQ finds success with flavor

By Rosemary McCoy

Fans of Big Rig BBQ have lots to celebrate.

The restaurant, which claimed its fame late last year in a Travel Channel feature on the best barbecue joint in each state, expanded to a location with seating just before Christmas and added a lunch buffet in January.

Earlier this month, it won the People’s Choice Award at RibFest.

And likely sometime this week, Big Rig returns to its roots, reopening a take-out location on South Louise Avenue in front of Home Depot. That’s where owners Bob and Nichole Brenner started Big Rig two years ago, serving his Texas-style barbecue from a former drive-thru coffee cabin and the trailer where he smokes the meat. This year, his daughters and sisters will run the Louise site.

The Big Rig BBQ trailer is expected to open this week on South Louise Avenue.

Big Rig will serve lunch at the site from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays with a limited menu of pulled pork and pulled brisket sandwiches and side dishes, Brenner said. Sometimes, items such as ribs and sliced brisket will be available, too.

Some of the hot-food items on the buffet at Big Rig BBQ

The new location on the northwest corner of 41st Street and Minnesota Avenue next to Little Caesars Pizza seats 46 inside and picnic tables provide space for outdoor dining. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The lunch buffet is loaded from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays. The all-you-can-eat buffet typically features at least four meats, including choices such as pulled pork, pulled brisket, pork loin, pork belly, sausage, ham and chicken. In addition, there are several sides and a dessert.

In an average week, Brenner smokes 120 to 150 racks of ribs and 500 pounds of pork butt and brisket.

Big Rig BBQ smokes its meats from a trailer outside the restaurant at 3219 S. Minnesota Ave.

“We’ve picked up more catering” with the location at the high-traffic intersection, he said.

He’s looking forward to drawing even more attention with “Hamlet.” The pink pig sculpture made its debut at RibFest, where people were encouraged to sit on it, take their photo and share it on social media.

“My wife thought I was about crazy, but then it started making sense,” he said of Hamlet.

The sculpture will find a home outside the restaurant once Brenner figures out how to anchor it.

Big Rig and a Vermillion barbecue joint were the only South Dakota vendors at RibFest, which features traveling teams from barbecue restaurants across the country. Big Rig served 600 racks of ribs during the three-day event.

Brenner is proud of taking home the People’s Choice Award.

“If we get invited back next year, we’ll definitely go,” he said.

Part of the buffet sits on the counter at Big Rig BBQ.

Typical buffet menu at Big Rig BBQ

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Big Rig BBQ finds success with flavor

Fans of Big Rig BBQ have lots to celebrate.

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