I've been in the Scottsdale area for 2020 Spring Training Baseball and made the trek over to Caldwell County BBQ for dinner.
I arrived at 6:30pm today (Saturday) and the place was jumpin'. Parking lot was packed, the outdoor patio area full of people enjoying barbecue. No sooner did I set foot on the sidewalk next to the four huge pits and pull out my iPhone was I greeted by pitmaster Jimmy Perez. He started asking me where I was from, was this my first visit, how did I hear about Caldwell's, etc. He gave me a business card and said, "Go inside, enjoy your meal, then find me and I'll answer any questions you have."
I arrived during a lull in the line at the counter, so I placed my order and got my food quickly. I got a chopped brisket sandwich with 1/3 pound of half lean, half fatty brisket, 1/4 pound of smoked turkey, a sausage link, mac & cheese, and sweet tea.
The brisket sammie was legit. Moist, flavorful, good smoke flavor, some crusty bark. (My photo below does not do it justice.) A very solid sandwich. Turkey and sausage were both moist and I enjoyed them, but mild in flavor. Caldwell's is a riff on Central Texas barbecue in terms of menu, cooking techniques, and decor, so I would have expected more of a coarse black pepper crust on the turkey, but that's my only constructive criticism. Mac & cheese was cheesy, not gloppy, with some jalapeno mixed in.
Speaking with Jimmy after eating, he said they're cooking over mesquite (which I saw piles of upon entering the parking lot). To my taste, the brisket cooked over mesquite tasted great, so don't let anyone tell you you can't use mesquite, it's too strong, etc., it's just a matter of knowing how to build a good fire with it in your stickburner.
Jimmy also told me they cook briskets from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM each day, then wrap in butcher paper and hold them overnight in a hot box at 175*F for service the next day at 11:00 AM. Yes, you read that right--held 17 hours. That length of time shocked me!
On the must do list now. Barb and I go down to the Phoenix area about once a year to go to the American furniture warehouse or Cabela's. Soon our daughter will be moving to Surprise which is not to far from Gilbert we will have an excuse to go more often.