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THE DISH: 2nd Phase scores touchdown with Underground Backyard Barbecue pop-up

It’s not currently underground or in a backyard but Underground Backyard BBQ will deliver on the most important part of its name — the 'que — when it pops up Aug. 15 at 2nd Phase Brewing.

The perfect pairing of barbecue, brews and football is credited to Frank "Pancho" Miranda, owner and brewmaster of the downtown business, who reached out to Underground's Tony Bitten.

"I'm just really grateful for 2nd Phase and Pancho for choosing us," Bitten said. "He had reached out to us during the pandemic. I'm really thrilled to partner up."

This is the first taste a wider audience will be able to experience of Bitten's barbecue. As the name implies, he launched Underground Backyard BBQ last May from his Westchester home, inspired by wife Dalaia's encouragement to share his culinary talents beyond family and friends. 

Bitten was stymied on his journey by the pandemic, during which the county restricted pop-up events like the one he had planned that June.

The entrepreneur, who is also a project manager for Kaiser Permanente, continued to brainstorm alternatives including a food truck he was planning to transform.

Since other regulations have put the truck on hold, Bitten was excited to hear from his friend Eddie Zepeda of Zepeda's Stone Fire Pizza that Miranda was looking for a pop-up at the brewery for the NFL season.

"We saw Eddie at the Kaiser farmers market (at Haggin Oaks). He said, 'They're looking to do barbecue for Sunday football.' He (Miranda) was looking to do this whole football thing for the season with beer and barbecue."

Working from his portable barbecue rig, Bitten will offer a variety of meat plates including a choice of beef rib, brisket or chicken ($15 each) as well as a meat sampler ($18), each of which come with two sides. Options are collard greens, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, kale salad and brisket baked beans. (Separate sides are available for $5 each.)

Customers can also order a half-rack ($12) or full rack ($25) of beef ribs and brisket by the half-pound ($10) or pound ($18). 

He has also brought back a crowd favorite, brisket fries ($12), which are topped with melted cheddar cheese, sliced jalapeño and pico de gallo.

"That's a meal in itself," he said.

Another item that has tested well and made the menu is a stuffed smoked turkey leg ($12).

"We cook it until the meat falls off the bone, then stuff it with mac and cheese," Bitten said.

"I think it's going to be one of our most popular items. You definitely need to eat it with a fork."

(He also has a version stuffed with blackened tilapia with Alfredo sauce and dirty rice but didn't know if it would make the final cut.)

Bitten also added another menu item that he said is essential for sports viewing.

"Since it's football, we’ll have to do wings. We're trying to cover everything for football."

Diners can order 10 hot wings for $10 or as a combo with fries for $12.

Bitten said he should be serving from 10 a.m. to around 2 or 3 p.m. Sundays starting Aug. 15 at the brewery, 1004 19th St.

For more on Underground Backyard BBQ, follow the business on Instagram (@undergroundbackyardbbq), Facebook ( or Twitter (@UndergroungB).

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.