The sauce can be sweet, vinegary, tangy, spicy or smoky. It can be thin or thick. But, one thing is for sure. When you think of barbecue, good American comfort food usually comes to mind.

A few new barbecue restaurants opened recently in Chandler, making this city a hub of barbecue flavors.

New Flavors

Just as Texas and New Mexico are neighbors, Rudy’s Bar Country Store and Bar-B-Q and Can’t Stop Smokin’ Bar-B-Q Smokehouse are neighbors – both recently opened across the street from each other (54th Street and Chandler Boulevard). Neither knew about the other before they opened, and each offers its own style of barbecue with its own specialties.

Rudy’s Bar Country Store and Bar-B-Q hails from Texas, with humble beginnings as a service station and grocery store more than 30 years ago.

It expanded its offerings to barbecue in 1989 and has grown to more than 30 restaurants. Its specialties include Texas-style brisket and smoked sausage.

Can’t Stop Smokin’ Bar-B-Q Smokehouse offers “mountain-style” barbecue.

Originating from New Mexico, the restaurant’s specialties include spicy pulled pork, smoked sausage and sirloin tri-tip. It offers more than 20 kinds of smoked meats, including pork, poultry, sausages and beef.

Down-Home Favorites

Other recent openings bring the number of barbecue restaurants within Chandler’s 71 square miles to 10. When you’re here craving barbecue, you don’t have far to look for satisfaction.

Chandler BBQ Co. serves Southern-style barbecue to customers daily. It is also famous for Southern-fried catfish and sweet potato pie.

Famous Dave’s specializes in hickory-smoked ribs and Georgia chopped pork.

As Americans, we sometimes think we invented barbecue, but other cultures have their own saucy barbecue roots. You can find some of those in Chandler, too.

Find island-style barbecue featuring pineapple flavors at Ono Hawaiian BBQ.

Or cook your meal at your own table’s grill, and taste the flavors of Korean barbecue at Takamatsu Restaurant or Chodang Tofu & BBQ.

Serious Sides and Desserts

Barbecue lovers are carnivores, so it’s all about meat. That is, until you get to the sides.

Classics include coleslaw and potato salad, but don’t be afraid to venture out and try the green chile stew or three-bean salad at Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q or Elisa’s garlic potatoes at Can’t Stop Smokin’ Bar-B-Q Smokehouse.

And don’t forget about dessert. Standards like fruit cobbler and pecan pie are always great choices to round out your meal.

If you’re seeking something different, try the buttermilk pie at Rudy’s Country Store & Barb-B-Q, a Kahlua brownie at Famous Dave’s or the signature sweet potato pie at Chandler BBQ Co.

All Hail Barbecue

Chandler reveres barbecue so much, the city even has an event celebrating it. The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival comes around every March to satisfy the appetites of barbecue aficionados.

If you’re a fan of barbecue, this is your chance to sample the many different styles Chandler has to offer all in one day and in one place. Restaurants gather in downtown Chandler with booths, and beverage vendors participate too. Iced tea, water or lemonade – virtually anything you like – can accompany your barbecue at this fest. But since beer shares top billing, why not plan a day of sampling to get the full flavor of Chandler?

Passionate Crafters and Their Brews

View from brewery with credit and frames.jpgWhat’s barbecue without a cold brew to go with it?

Local favorite San Tan Brewing Company handcrafts beers in downtown Chandler. BJ’s Brewery creates a selection of brews in the Chandler Fashion Center area.

Both establishments are passionate about their brews. Read their blogs, and you can tell they are sticklers about creating the perfect environment in which to enjoy their beers, as they wax poetic about the details: the exact temperature to drink beer, the delicate aromas, the unique ingredients they use… This may seem like a lot of fuss, but with this attention to detail, you can be assured the beer is great.

Taste pic- with new credit.jpgCraft beer will also share the spotlight at TASTE, Chandler’s adult-oriented culinary festival, on Oct. 6, 2012. Held in downtown Chandler, this delectable evening event showcases the area’s best noshing opportunities.

With all this to choose from, it is clear Chandler has become a barbecue- and brew-lover’s destination. To plan your culinary adventure in Chandler, check the dining page on the City of Chandler website.

(Brought to you by the City of Chandler, (888) 663-2489,