. . . including my own!
We were shiftless and lazy last night and decided to get some takeout barbecue from a local restaurant that has received some positive reviews in the press and glowing comments from a few local bloggers. Barbecue is one of my favorite foods, and I take it fairly seriously. I think that most restaurants make abysmal, bordering on inedible, barbecue. Sweetness is not a substitute for all other flavors, but it is one of the easiest to dump into a dry rub or pour into a batch of sauce. And I can’t stand cloyingly sweet ‘que (and neither should you!). Of course, most restaurants are guilty of this misuse of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, as well as bottled smoke, and that’s why I always am suspicious of barbecue coming from any place that has other foods on the menu. Barbecue requires an intensity and a focus that isn’t available to most restaurant cooks when they’re slinging other foods. But I had read the entrails of a chicken, and all indications were that this place was going to be good.
And it was, but not to my taste. The barbecue was well made, tender and juicy, with interesting spicing. And I could really taste the smoke! The sides were very good, another indication of seriousness. Even the white bread was homemade and good. They clearly know how to make barbecue. But I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t like the combination of spices that their pit master used, and they’re depending too much on the smoke and not enough on the flavor of the meat. However if anyone asks me for a recommendation for barbecue in my town, I certainly would mention this place. And if friends want to go there for dinner, I won’t hold my breath and stamp my feet. I will happily go and order carefully and realize that my palate does not approve of all good food.
P.S. I am not trying to be coy by not naming this place. I don’t want to be critical of a restaurant that does something well, but just not the way I want it done. If anyone is curious, I would be happy to spill the (baked) beans; send me an e-mail. Oh, they also have a more casual barbecue-only restaurant a few miles away, which also is a serious place.