One of the biggest selling points of Little Rock is our quick access to fantastic parks and trails around the area. To illustrate the point, on a typical spring Saturday with nice weather you can find what seems to be half of Arkansas out at Pinnacle Mountain Park hiking up the trails, playing football, or biking around the area.
Over the past 37-ish years of enjoying the park, one thing I’ve never found was something decent to eat while there. That all changed with Rock Bottom BBQ food truck beginning to set up full time last year.
Owners Blake and Samantha McFadden launched their BBQ business in 2018, quickly buying a truck that made the rounds in their home base of Roland, all over West Little Rock, and other parts of the city before settling into one of their favorite sets at Pinnacle Mountain Park last year as their mostly permanent location. Here you can find them on Wednesday – Saturday (except for in bad weather) slinging food to hungry hikers and others enjoying the park. It has been a great niche to fill given that there are no food options for miles to serve people going to the park.
As far as the food goes, to say Rock Bottom has BBQ in its blood would be accurate. Blake’s family started and ran the infamous Shack BBQ in Little Rock for years. He grew up around understanding what makes for good Little Rock ‘que and has done a great job representing the family heritage while trying to carve out a name for himself.
“I certainly have all the old Shack recipes, including the Shack Sauce. But you won’t find any of it on the truck,” McFadden explains. “I really wanted to build on what I know and make something even better, rather than just relying on what was given to me. I love cooking bbq, and want to create a name for myself.”
One of the things that make Rock Bottom BBQ successful is the dedication to only serving fresh bbq. Many other places cut day old meat back into newly cooked meat, but for the McFaddens they want to only serve the best quality. It sometimes means that popular items sell out quickly on a busy day. Their brisket that is special on Saturdays is usually gone by early afternoon. Any leftover food at the end of the day they work to distribute directly to local homeless camps.
On the menu you will find the typical pulled pork and pulled chicken, along with the Saturday brisket previously mentioned, all excellently cooked. Those are all available by the plate or sandwich. You can also add any of those to nachos, which is a great way to go. They also offer burgers, hand pattied and cooked fresh to order, along with their own take on Philly Cheesesteaks.
Probably our favorite thing is the fact that they have a solid kids menu. You can get hot dog, PB&J, or a grilled cheese. When we enjoy the park we like to take our two little ones with us, who can be picky eaters. This saves us from having to pack a separate lunch.
Rock Bottom BBQ is set up in the main parking lot of Pinnacle Mountain State Park starting at 11am and ending whenever they run out of food, which is usually around 4pm.