This spring, the Village of Belgium was blessed with an early start to the season with Big Ed’s Smoke Pit. The restaurant opened just last July, serving a mouth-watering assortment of deliciously slow-cooked barbequed meats- from beef brisket and ribs to pulled pork and pulled chicken, as well as sides to comfort your soul: mac and cheese, beans, corn on the cob and potato salad.
James McMahon and Ed Tucker both work at another restaurant called The Bay in Whitefish Bay. The namesake of Big Ed’s is Ed Tucker. Ed has been the head chef at The Bay for seven years, and he and McMahon had often chatted about opening a place for Ed to run as a side project. Ed is a quiet guy, which spawned the restaurant’s tagline, “Less talk, more BBQ.”
Located conveniently next to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, Big Ed’s Smoke Pit operated in 2019 seasonally on weekends. This year, it was scheduled to open in May, but when the pandemic hit, McMahon and Tucker decided opening Big Ed’s early provided a good opportunity seeing that they are always take-out only. They are leaning toward limited Sunday only hours in 2020 with a longer overall season.
“We’re looking forward to being up here every weekend,” McMahon says. “We miss it. We want to be more attached to the community.”
Big Ed’s Smoke Pit is currently open for pickup every Sunday from 3 pm – 7 pm. They are kicking off the season with a limited menu, which can be found online at www.bigedssmokepit.com and its Facebook Page. After selling out within a couple hours the first weekend, Big Ed’s always recommends pre-ordering in order to secure your favorite BBQ items. You can reserve by calling and leaving a message (262) 476-5126, and they will verify your order with a call back.
The 746 Main Street Belgium location that is now Big Ed’s was quite familiar to McMahon. He had been traveling to the small building located next to the tracks on Belgium’s Main Street for nearly 20 years to rehearse in the back with his band, The Form. McMahon is the lead singer of the band, and also plays harmonica.
“I’ve been coming to Belgium for years. We knew what this community had to offer and that made the decision to open here easier,” explains McMahon.
This year’s plans for the restaurant include large event catering, and the team is also looking into offsite events. The menu includes items served in a variety of sizes for family-style servings, and would be a wonderful option for graduation parties, anniversaries, summer events and weddings. Last summer, Big Ed’s also provided menu options at Luxembourg Fest and Splash Pad Sunday. The Belgium Scouts sold his sandwiches as a fundraiser at one of Belgium’s Summer Nights Live events.
“The good thing with barbeque is you get a reasonable per-person cost. In this time of uncertainty it can’t hurt to have a meal be affordable.” says McMahon.