A barbecue veteran in Dallas has gone on to meet the barbecue gods: Alvin Darrel Plaskoff, founder of Big Al's Smokehouse Barbecue, passed away on November 24; he was 74.
Following a stint selling meat, Plaskoff opened the iconic Big Al's near Dallas Love Field in 1973, in the same barbecue zone as the famed Sonny's. It remained a family-owned and -operated restaurant serving hickory-pit smoked Choice meats including brisket, pork ribs, and beef ribs plus house-made daily sides. Big Al's also offers take-out, delivery and catering.
Plaskoff was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 31, 1944. When he was six, his family moved to Miami, Florida. After graduating high school and briefly attending community college, Al got married, moved to Dallas, and began raising a family.
He spent the late '60s and early '70s as a meat salesman for Farmer's Meat Market in downtown Dallas, selling briskets, hams and other meats to an array of barbecue restaurants.
"Travis Dickey, Red Bryan, Bob White – you name it. I sold to all of them," Al said in 2016, recalling an era when brisket and prime cuts were more dominant in the North than the South.
His family will continue running the business, along with a legacy of multiple entrepreneurial and communal successes.
Preceded in death by his parents, Al is survived by wife Linda Daniel, brother Martin Plaskoff, daughter Lauran Weiner, son Bart Plaskoff, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at the Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, at 8500 Hillcrest Ave., on November 27 at 12 noon.