There are plenty of barbecue sandwiches around Houston, but there is only one “Phatt Daddy” barbecue sandwich, made for manly appetites.
The Phatt Daddy is a large, more-than-one-meal delight concocted by small business owner and 5 Corners Improvement District resident Russell Taylor.
Taylor’s 5 Corners District Barbecue truck and catering — with no official tie to the District but plenty of appreciation from it — serves up the sandwiches on an 8-inch roll with more meat on it than you can possibly imagine.
Though Taylor has had a busy and interesting life, working full time at a chemical plant (now retired), juggling sideline pursuits as a performer, recording studio owner, voice-over talent and sound mixer, his love of cooking and feeding his local neighbors resulted in his becoming quite a barbecue chef with three cooking pits. He gets rave reviews and repeat business from locals in 5 Corners.
From his trademark sandwiches, he acquired the nickname Phatt Daddy, and he has been cooking and serving up barbecue since 2014, when he retired from his regular job. Cooking barbecue was something he always wanted to do.
“When I started cooking, I thought that I am a pretty funky guy and I like street (lingo) type names, so my sandwiches became Phatt Daddy sandwiches,” Taylor said. “I thought the word phatt really described them, as they are pretty hot and tempting, bold and delicious.”
Then again, they are also phatt as in fat, or extremely large. His idea for these sandwiches is that people were paying way too much for barbecue in the area for small sandwiches on a bun, so he wanted to create a whole meal on a longer po’ boy or hoagie roll (8 inches) for a more reasonable price.
“I didn’t like my neighbors getting taken advantage of with high prices, and I wanted to serve my community because I live here,” Taylor said. “I wanted to serve good food without folks having to spend a lot of money. So I serve good food at a good price and my customers get treated right.”
The feedback on his barbecue was immediate and people started ordering directly from him before he purchased his truck and trailer. His intention was to “carve out a space for every day neighborhood folk” with his food truck. He has built up a lot of devotees even though he does not have a steady spot.
Instead he works street events, festivals in the area, and takes catering orders.
Because he made music since he was a child, he feels that his barbecue is another one of his performances – as a creative outlet, where instead of audience applause, he pleases peoples’ palates with his cooking.
“That is what I love to hear, that the food is so good, so delicious,” Taylor said. “That is my applause.”
Taylor takes a lot of care with cooking the meats. He buys in bulk, for example 20 pounds of brisket, and he purchases 8-inch long rolls from a local baker that services another local famous sandwich shop.
One the meat is purchased, the preparation is labor intensive. He cleans the meat, seasons and marinates it for an entire day, and then cooks it. It takes 45 minutes per pound. He cooks to a certain temperature, freezes it overnight, and then takes it out and cuts it up.
The secret to the soaked-in flavor he is so proud of is that he uses a variety of woods – mesquite, pecan and others. He came up with a marinade that he likes and he uses a dry rub as well on ribs, chicken, occasional turkey legs and brisket as well.
“Then I serve it up real simple, on those special rolls, and I offer pickles and onions,” Taylor explained. “It doesn’t need anything else.”
He offers platters too, for those who do not want the sandwich bread. All of his items come with a bag of chips and a drink, and most of the items on his menu are $10 or less for a very filling meal. Taylor also offers a variety of mixed meat sandwiches for those who have trouble choosing just one meat. Meat offerings include brisket, chicken, sausage, ribs
Due to not wanting to pay rent, he regularly stationed his truck at a barber shop close to his home, but he eventually had to leave that lot.
Now he wanders a bit with his trailer, waiting for special events and doing a busy catering business for people who want his food when he is not around.
At a recent street festival, Taylor sold his big sandwiches to an appreciative crowd. The aroma of the meat as it came out steaming hot on the roll added to the experience. The meat was tender and delicious and, as advertised, much too much for one sitting.
For catering or location information, contact him at [email protected]
— by Arlene Nisson Lassin