Calling all meat eaters and smoke lovers; there's a new restaurant in town! Big Racks Barbecue Iqaluit opened today, and I went in with Justin to have a first taste from this much-anticipated restaurant and delivery spot. Before I get into our experience, here are some important details.
Address: Building 810
Hours: 11AM - 9PM
Payment: Cash, debit, Visa, Mastercard
Phone: 867 979 5555
Delivery charge: $6
Big Racks Barbecue Menu
Big Racks Barbecue Review
We drove up to building 810 and managed to squeeze into a parking spot between two trucks, thereby filling the entire lot. The restaurant is in a mixed-use part of town, and used to be a family home. What was once a foyer and living room is now an eat-in, pick-up area, that remained full during our entire one-hour stay.
Justin and I grabbed a few menus and sat down at the only empty table. The menu is surprisingly large and varied, with everything from fried chicken to pizza to battered cod. Matt Wilkins, one of Big Racks owners, informed me that they had brought in a barbecue consultant from BC from the get-go - nearly three years ago! - to help plan the menu. When I asked him why he chose to open a barbecue joint, Matt responded simply, "Why not?"
Since Big Racks has barbecue in its name, we were pretty set on getting something smoked and grilled and slathered in sauce. We decided in the BBQ Plate ($22.95) to share, opting for brisket and ribs as our meat options, and macaroni and cheese and coleslaw as our sides.
Fifteen minutes after placing our order, we were served a hot plate of meat. The portion sizes at Big Racks are large and great value for your money. The BBQ Plate was more than enough for the two of us, and with tax, tip, and two Cokes, the meal came to just over $30. Not bad for lunch for two in Iqaluit.
On to the food itself. Let's start with the brisket, which was clearly slow-cooked in one of the two in-house smokers to tender perfection. It had a great flavour, though slightly on the salty side. The mac and cheese fell short on seasoning as well - I found it lacked salt - but like the brisket, had all the right flavours and texture.
What I really liked was the coleslaw. Clearly house-made, tangy, sweet, crunchy, and the perfect counterpart to the fatty ribs and rich brisket. The 1/3 rack of ribs was also delicious, soft and juicy and saucy. A great plate of food, especially at that price point!
In addition to Bob the restaurant consultant, Big Racks also brought in a kitchen manager, Murphy, to keep service running smoothly. Like Matt and Bob, Murphy is another barbecue lover, who confided that after several years working in high-end or fine-dining establishments, he was happy to get back to the 'cue.
Big Racks has also hired about a dozen new employees, and Matty has another set of recruits coming in for training on Monday. And, if all goes well, this new crew will allow Big Racks to extend its hours, opening at 9AM for breakfast (they currently open at 11AM and aren't offering breakfast options just yet). This is part of Matt's plan to introduce the restaurant "in baby steps" so that the crew have time to work out the kinks.
And how have things been going on day one? I asked Matt, and he smiled and said, "People are leaving with smiles on their faces and doggy bags. That seems pretty good to me."