No need to wait for summer to enjoy smoky, backyard barbecue. Handy Market, the well-stocked corner store where Magnolia Boulevard meets Buena Vista Street in Burbank, spills out into the parking lot on Saturdays, 'cueing up pounds and pounds of beef, pork, chicken, turkey and sausage for the hungry hordes. The lines are long but the service is efficient and the taste is worth any wait. Just ask Jay Leno.
"Mr. Leno comes by all the time," says the young woman wrapping up orders in big sheets of heavy duty foil. "He pulls up in one of his fancy cars and always leaves a big tip," she says. "The chicken is his favorite."
I'd have to agree with the comedian. The barbecue chicken is remarkable. Juicy, tender and reeking of mesquite. I like the half-bird slathered in Handy's tangy barbecue sauce but I notice many customers prefer their meats unembellished. As patrons step up to the outdoor counter, they seem to be clear on how they like their selections. "Medium rare large tri-tip, no sauce" or "Small slab pork baby back ribs, sauce on the side," for instance. The counter clerk, wielding long tongs, pokes at piles of char-grilled tri-tips, sensing the proper springiness to the meat before wrapping it up. Cooks supervise flaming mesquite grills, constantly replenishing the "done" piles.