Gene “Big Daddy” Sampson, is back at the pit – at least one day a week. Sampson, a legend on the local barbecue scene, got his start selling ribs and chicken next to Tiger Jack’s shack on Dale St. near the I-94 entrance ramp with his buddies Ron Whyte and Bob Edmond. Sampson gradually worked his way up to owning his own barbecue restaurant in Saint Paul’s Union Depot in the 90s. When that venture failed, Big Daddy disappeared from view for a while, but we were delighted to find him back in business, and reunited with Whyte and Edmond, in the parking lot outside the Abundant Catering storefront at 609 University Ave., Saint Paul.
The take-out only menu includes a full rack of pork ribs for $17, or a half rack for $10, rib tips for $7 a pound, and barbecued chickens for $11 a whole bird, or $7 a half. Sides of cole slaw and potato salad are $1 each. Sampson’s other specialty is his “Flintstone beef ribs”: a half rack of beef short ribs for $16.
Big Daddy’s new venture operates Saturdays only, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. But he also offers catering for groups of all sizes; for more information, call him at 651-276-3101.