If you’ve ducked into Downtown Container Park’s friendly barbecue depot recently, you may have noticed some new food. Big Ern’s has fiery chicken-and-sausage jambalaya and tender-crisp fried okra. There’s rich, hearty collard greens with chunks of smoky pork and creamy, no-mayo potato salad, and the kitchen has new-and-improved the gooiest mac and cheese ever.
Also with the new side dishes comes renewed focus on making the most of its smoked meats, from sweet pulled pork saturated with spicy sauce to meaty baby back ribs and some of the best brisket in the city. Ernie Loya, who started serving it up even before Container Park opened from a tent erected during construction, recently brought on veteran chef Ken Brown to upgrade the menu, and not just to keep Downtowners happy. Big Ern’s is expanding with a larger restaurant location at Fiesta Rancho, the northwest neighborhood casino. Set to open around October 1, the bigger Ern’s brings new challenges. With this food, Loya, Brown and company are ready to rock it.
Big Ern's BBQ Container Park, 702-834-7845. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.