Hayden Powers Restaurant Reviews


Maurices at Piggie Park
Columbia, SC

Had a late lunch at Maurices; had to go for the Big Pig – no relation to Buddy Goodwin. Chopped pork with Carolina mustard sauce; gave the meat a sort of strange yellow tint. Ribs and hash over rice with a roll and two hush puppies on the side. The pork was moist and tender and not over sauced even though the sauce had been mixed in with the meat. I actually added a little more to get more of the mustard sauce flavor with the meat. The ribs were OK, but a little on the tough side, but did have good flavor and the mustard sauce was good on them. I don’t know what all was in the hash, but it was served over rice and was very good. The slaw was a finely chopped type with mayo base. It was good and complemented the pork and hash very well. The hush puppies were golden brown spheres of cornmeal and onion and excellent; crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Overall a good introduction to South Carolina BBQ and hash since this is a first for me. I plan to try several more samples of South Carolina BBQ the rest of this week.

Mark
QN

Well here’s a good sampling of BBQ reviews from Mark Delashaw aka “QN” on the BBQ Forum. Mark had the opportunity to recently visit several famous BBQ restaurants in different parts of the country. Most of us know Mark as a CBJ on the BBQ Circuit. I’m sure you all will enjoy reading Mark’s reviews as much as I did. Thanks Mark.

Old Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q
(270) 926-9000
338 Washington Ave
Owensboro, KY 42301

Owensboro claims to be the “BBQ Capital of the World”. Don’t know that I would agree with that, but it is what they claim. There are a couple of BBQ joints in Owensboro that have been there quite a while. The locals I was with said Moonlite was not worth going to and the the Old Hickory was far and away the best. We went for lunch and while all my companions went for sandwiches I jumped in for the three meat combo plate. My choices were mutton (grown up lamb) served sliced, sliced brisket, and sliced pork butt. BBQ mutton was a first for me and was not bad though I would probably not order it again. The beef brisket was over cooked and sliced thick to compensate for the roast beef texture; falling apart. The best was the sliced pork, something we don’t usually get here in the south. It was sliced about 1/4″ thick and lightly sauced. Very tender, moist and good flavor. If I go back to Old Hickory I will probably just go for the sliced pork sandwich. The sides were basic mayo slaw and baked beans; nothing outstanding. Overall probably a 6; I would eat there again if with a group that wanted to go there, but would not go back on my own.

J & J B-B-Q
1306 Texas Ave.
Lubbock, TX 19401
806-744-7325

Downtown Lubbock behind the federal courthouse. The sign in the window says they are open till they run out of meat and the locals tell me they usually close in early afternoon so don’t plan to go there for dinner. I had sliced brisket and German sausage with slaw and beans. The brisket was excellent. Competition quality slices with nice smoke ring and bark. Tender and moist. I will definitely go back to J & J if I get back to Lubbock. The sausage was a local made product and good, but the brisket was much better. The slaw was a good mayo slaw and the Texas style pinto beans were very good. They also make their own desserts daily and we had to try the apricot fried pie and brownies. Both were excellent. Overall J & J is good BBQ; probably at least an 8 in my opinion for the brisket alone.

Sonny Bryan’s
Original Location
Dallas, TX

I will just say I was very disappointed in the brisket and that is why I went there. No need to go back.

Arthur Bryant’s
Original Location
Kansas City, MO

Great brisket. Sliced thin and piled high on the bread. One sandwich can feed two people. I will definitely return next time I get to KC.

Fireflies BBQ
235 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 01702
phone: 508/820-3333

Great BBQ in Massachusetts. Recommended to me by Andy King, NEBS President so I had to fit in a trip to Fireflys in Framingham on the way from Worcester back to Boston. I got there for a late lunch and had to try the four meat combo platter. This is a whole lot of meat with two sides and cornbread. The meats were pulled pork with a North Carolina style vinegar sauce, St. Louis ribs, baby back ribs, and sliced brisket. Far and away the best was the brisket. Sliced and presented on the end of the plate like competition slices. Moist, tender, and great flavor. If I get to go back I will have a plate of sliced brisket. It was a 9 all the way. The St. Louis ribs were also good; I got them without sauce so I could experiment with the 5 or 6 sauces they offer. They were definitely better than the baby backs. The pork was moist and the vinegar base sauce was really tasty. Might have to go to the two meat combo so I can at least have pork and brisket next time. The slaw was a good, basic mayo slaw and the beans were pintos, but a little sweet for my taste. They also offer several other sides including collards and sweet potatoes. They said they run a scratch kitchen and even the collards are prepared fresh every day. I did not know people in Massachusetts knew what collards are. Overall a great BBQ restaurant with full bar and table service. Harpoon winter ale on tap was also very good. They also have a location in Marlboro.

The following review was submitted by Brian Pearcy aka “The BBQ Guy” with minor editting.

Famous Dave’s
36601 Warren Road
Westland, MI 48185
(734) 595-1000
www.famousdaves.com

After a quick visit to the Westland Mall on 11/25/05, my wife Linda and I stopped by the Famous Dave’s restaurant for lunch.

As we entered the front door, we immediately noticed that the interior decorators had gone to a great deal of trouble in an attempt to duplicate the atmosphere one might discover in a bon-a-fide southern-style BBQ place, even though most of the items appeared to be reproduction items. I’m sure it’s hard to find genuine southern artifacts for display like that, but some of the items were obvious store-bought wannabe antiques.

We were greeted by the hostess and seated at a booth in the front dining room. The booths, tables and chairs in the dining room were made of wood and covered in red and white vinyl checker table cloths and floor was very clean. The numerous windows let in lots of natural sunlight and made a very pleasant impression. The dining room was filled with blues music emanating from several stereo speakers mounted strategically throughout the dining room. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Albert Collins were some of the artists I recognized.

Linda made a comment to me that for a bbq restaurant there was an absence of any smokey aroma she expected. When the waitress arrived at the table after we’d been seated a short time, Linda asked, “How come I don’t smell any smoke?” The waitress replied, “Did you want to set in the smoking section?” Neither Linda nor I smoke cigarettes, but after Linda explained that she was referring to bbq smoke from burning wood or charcoal, the waitress struggled to explain that she shouldn’t expect to “smell” smoke because the smoker was “in the back”. I think the waitress missed the point of the question entirely, but after a period of awkward silence and Linda trying to explain that she thought bbq cooked with burning wood or charcoal would produce at least some amount of smoke fragrance, we proceeded to place our order.

The waitress did an excellent job explaining the main menu items and accompanying side order choices. The restaurant menu has a lunch section and a dinner section, but customers can order from either one. The waitress explained that the lunch items are served in smaller portion sizes and are slightly less expensive. Famous Dave’s offers appetizers, soups, salads, fish, burgers in addition to the “classic” bbq items. The “All-American BBQ Feast” serves 4-5 people for $53 and the menu also detailed a ”Feast for Two” for $30 in addition to various other combinations annotated as “combos”.

Linda chose the “Georgia Chopped Pork” sandwich and I ordered the “Texas Beef Brisket”. Side choices included corn bread muffin, potato salad, creamy coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, fries, apples, baked potato or beans. We both had the beans, and I added potato salad.

As we waited for our order we sampled the selection of sauces on the table which included traditional Heinz ketchup, “Devil’s Spit”, “Texas Style”, “Georgia Mustard”, “Rich and Sassy” and “Sweet and Sassy”. I liked the two sassy selections best.

After just a very few minutes the waitress brought our meals. The chopped pork was served on a traditional hamburger bun and sauced with the “Sweet and Sassy” barbecue sauce. My brisket slices were served on a slice of Texas toast, with a little “Rich and Sassy” barbecue sauce on top, and accompanied by a corn muffin and corn-on-the-cob in addition to the potato salad and beans I ordered. The chopped pork sandwich looked very tasty and Linda confirmed that it exceeded what she has come to expect from a commercial bbq restaurant. My sliced brisket was a little different from what I would cook at home and had no visible “bark” or bbq spice rub whatsoever, but it was good nonetheless. We were both satisfied with the meal and agreed that it’s head and shoulders above any other barbecue we’ve sampled since moving to the Detroit area.

The waitress brought Coke and Diet Coke refills without us having to ask and the receipt totalled $21. We left a $3 tip and left, pleasantly surprised.

On a scale of 1 through 10, I’d rate the overall dining experience an “8.5″ and the barbecue as “good”. Linda made several positive comments on the way back to the truck regarding the good quality of service provided by the waitress.

Thanks,
Brian Pearcy
“The BBQ Guy”
www.thebbqguy.com
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association

KEN’S HICKORY PIT BARBECUE
4817 Pinson Valley Pkwy
Birmingham, AL 35215
Ph# 205-853-6488

Part 2 of 3 reviews in Alabama

I’ll admit that Ken’s Hickory Pit Barbecue in Birmingham, Al has been my favorite barbecue restaurant for at least over 30 years. That goes back to when I was a freshman at Jefferson State Junior College in 1970. I believe that’s about the time that Ken’s opened just down the road from Jeff. State. It became a favorite lunch spot for the college kids and soon was well known throughout the eastern end of Birmingham.

Now let me start out by saying that Ken’s is not a fancy place with hostesses, bar or ambiance. In fact you will not be able to order any alcoholic beverages at Ken’s. This is a roadside barbecue “joint” and I use that term affectionately and with all due respect. People come here for one reason, to eat outstanding barbecue. It is located on busy Pinson Valley Parkway in the northeast section of Birmingham and Jefferson County. Drive by here any day close to lunchtime and you will not find a parking place in the main lot. You will notice that the folks at Ken cut their own hickory with a log splitter located on one side of the building. When you exit your car the first thing you smell is that wonderful hickory smoke coming out of the pit smoke stack. Walk in the front door and you’ll notice a pretty busy place, tables and chairs in front of you and a long counter with stools to your left.

If I’m by myself I usually sit at the counter just in front of the pit. Here you will have a ringside seat to view the meats on the open pit and also see the help prepare the meals. When you sit down you’ll notice that there are no menus to hand out. All of the food items are displayed on a menu board above the meal prep area. Most of the people that come into Ken’s are regulars. They know what they want and really do not need a menu. That’s certainly true with me. I have been ordering the combination plate for as long as I can remember. The combination plate includes chopped pork barbecue, several slices of smoked link sausage, barbecue beans, French fries, Cole slaw and a slice of white bread. You can order either the small or regular size plate for any of the plate dinners. Take my word for it the small plate will give you plenty of food.

Ken’s only has one type of barbecue sauce. It’s a dark brown rich sauce that is short on the sweet and loaded with spice and flavor. I have been trying to come up with a similar homemade sauce that resembles Ken’s and I just cannot match it. The pork meat is superb with great hickory smoke flavor. I always ask for mixed barbecue pork (inside meat and outside bark mix). Now Ken’s also offers chicken, sausage and ribs along with sandwiches. Their baked beans are certainly worth trying. They put a healthy dose of pork in with the beans. Mighty tasty!

Now back to the pit. Ken’s like numerous other Alabama barbecue restaurants (see Johnny Ray’s) uses a brick pit instead of more modern types of barbecue smokers. A pit master tends to the pit checking the meats and turning when necessary and adding firewood as needed. The meats rest on a metal grate blackened with years of smoke residue. As I mentioned earlier my favorite spot is at the counter where I can witness all the action preparing the meals, tending the pit and watch the pit master chop the pork butts. It’s worth a cover charge to view the pork butts coming off the pit and rendering themselves up to human consumption. Oh yes you want find pulled pork here. Chopped is the preferred style, although you may be able to get your order sliced.

Next time you’re in the Birmingham area be sure to stop by Ken’s Hickory Pit Barbecue. I’m sure you will be glad you did.

MEMPHIS CHAMPIONSHIP BARBECUE
2250 Warm Springs Road (Green Valley area)
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Ph# 702-260-6909
Website: www.memphis-bbq.com

Week of October 31st

Well your humble reporter is on his annual trek to Lost Wages, I mean Las Vegas to attend the SEMA/AAPEX show for the automotive aftermarket. I’ve been attending this show for the last 20 odd years and have seen it grow to become one of the largest convention/trade shows in Las Vegas. This year’s attendance was estimated to be close to 135,000.

So, I knew in advance that I was going to be here for a couple of days and I was determined to try some local barbecue. These trips to Vegas usually require lunch meetings with customers and an occasional dinner at some restaurant I can’t even spell much less pronounce. Before I left home I checked out the City Guides section on MSN.com to see what kind of barbecue restaurants I had to choose from. I didn’t have to go to far until I came upon Memphis Championship Barbecue (MCB). Anyone who knows barbecue has heard of Mike Mills either through his competition team, restaurants, recent book and President of the NBBQA. Well my decision was made; I just needed to pick one of the four locations in the surrounding Vegas area.

I decided on the Warm Springs Road location for dinner. As the cab pulled up to the front door I noticed that this place was huge and very well decorated on the outside. A big sign out front makes it hard to miss MCB. Maureen, one of the hostesses on duty, greeted me. She led me to a table and mentioned that Melissa would be my server. Melissa arrived at the table and asked for my drink order. I chose sweet tea; yes they have sweet tea in Vegas. This gave me some time to look at the menu. MCB’s menu offers a wide variety of appetizers, salads, stuffed potatoes, Chili & Soups, burgers, sandwiches and side items. Some of the interesting appetizers: Onion Straws, Memphis Skins, Memphis Sliders (think White Castle or Krystal with bbq’d pork), and a item that you don’t see outside of the South-Southern Fried Dill Pickles. I think I could have made a meal off the Memphis Sampler Plate; onion straws, Memphis potato skins, smoked wings and Southern Fried Dill Pickles. However, I was here for some famous Mike Mills ‘Que. The rest of the menu included Ribs, Blue Ribbon Selections (combo plates) and entrees.

I finally found exactly what I was looking for, the “Grand Champion Plate”. This plate contains the following: 5 St. Louis ribs, 1 beef rib, smoked chicken (thigh and leg) hot link sausage, beef brisket, pork shoulder and choice of two sides. WOW! I chose baked beans and French fries for my sides and set back and loosen the belt for what was about to happen. This gave me a little time to walk around and view the restaurant. Maureen told me that each restaurant has been decorated to resemble Mike’s original restaurant in Murphysboro, IL. I noticed that I kept hearing a train whistle every couple of minutes. “This is for customers who liked their meal and service”, said Maureen. Kids particularly like to pull the cord and listen to the whistle on their way out the door.

Well, by the time I had made it back to my table the feast had arrived. Where do I begin, I started with the chicken. May be some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Tender, moist, nice pink color with just the right amount of apple wood smoke. I sprinkled some of the “Magic Dust” and a little barbecue sauce on the chicken. Didn’t care too much for the Magic Dust but the sauce was terrific with a subtle apple flavor. Then I tried the beef rib. A little tough but nice flavor. The St. Louis style ribs were excellent. Pull off the bone tender, perfectly done. The beef brisket was next. Several slices of brisket came with the plate. Very good beef taste and not over powered by the smoke. Finally I reached the end of my dining experience with the remaining chopped pork shoulder. I just added a little barbecue sauce and enjoyed the last few bites. The pork was great. Just enough apple wood smoke flavor and a little outside bark. The fries were typical frozen crinkle cut. The barbecue beans were wonderful, they included three types of beans Lima, Kidney and I believe White. The beans had a great sauce and were not too sweet. I believe this is the same recipe that appears in Mike’s book Peace, Love and Barbecue. MCB uses Ole Hickory Pits to smoke their meats. Apple wood is used to add the smoke flavor.

This was truly a terrific barbecue dining experience. I would give Memphis Championship Barbecue high marks for ambience, service and quality food. Hey Mike when you going to open a MCB in West Michigan?

A little side note: A special thank you to Maureen for bird-dogging the taxi company to come and pick me up. It must have taken an hour to get the cab out to MCB. But, due to Maureen’s persistence they did arrive.

Dink’s Pit Bar-B-Que
2929 E. Frank Phillips Blvd.
Bartlesville, OK 74006
Ph# 918-335-0606

The following review was submitted by James Moutray aka “Redbird” on the BBQ Forum. Minor editing by the reporter.

After all the years of growing up in the Bartlesville/Pawhuska area and driving back and forth in front of the Dink’s BBQ and saying “I’ll never eat at a place called Dink’s”, Man was I wrong!!!! Had a class reunion in Pawhuska this weekend and had to get a BBQ fix.

Well I was staying in B’ville and the only BBQ I ran across was Dink’s. I looked at my wife, she shrugged her shoulders (I had told her about not ever wanting to eat somewhere with that name) and we went in and ordered. She got a smoked turkey sandwich and I ordered a hot pig sandwich, pork loin w/coleslaw (not the creamy stuff) w/ jalapenos and both w/ fries and a couple of ribs.

Well I’m trying to plan another trip down home to get another taste of Dink’s BBQ!!!!! It seems after you get your cooking down and go out to BBQ joints, they never quite taste good enough, too tough, too soggy, not enough smoke…. you know what I mean. Well the sandwiches were both killer, they didn’t last long and the ribs… mmmm. And they have a $8.95 Tuesday night all-you-can-eat!!!!! Looks like there might be some extended weekends in the future!!! If you’re ever through B’ville give it a try, I’m glad I did!!!!

JOHNNY RAY’S
2910 Morgan Road, Suite 100
Bessemer, AL 35022
PH# 205-424-6639
www.johnnyrays.com

PART 1 0F 3 REVIEWS IN ALABAMA

It’s the week of October 17th and I’ll be heading to Tuscaloosa, AL for the annual Tennessee vs. Alabama football game on Saturday. Fortunately I’ll have several opportunities to stop by some of my old barbecue favorites in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. First up is Johnny Ray’s.

Let me start by saying that I was born and raised in the eastern section of Birmingham and have been a fan of Johnny Ray’s barbecue for as long as I can remember. Johnny Ray passed away last year and those of us who knew Johnny have missed his presence. He was a true barbecue legend in the Birmingham area. I can remember eating at Johnny Ray’s in the Roebuck Sopping Center back in the 60’s. That was Johnny’s first location and today there are several locations throughout Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

Ok, enough for the history lesson. We stopped by Johnny Ray’s off of I-459 in Bessemer on our way to Tuscaloosa. The restaurant is located on the end of a strip shopping center complex. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was the standard brick pit located behind the counter in the back. The Pit master was busy tending the meats; ribs, pork shoulders, chicken and checking the pit temperature. This is a common site in most barbecue restaurants in the South. You want see very many fancy smokers with all of the bells and whistles. This is true “Hickory Pit” smoked barbecue.

The three of us sat down at our table and were promptly greeted by our waitress. The menu had not changed since my last visit at the Montgomery Highway location a couple of years ago. Todd chose the rib plate with slaw and fries, Jason and I each choice the chopped pork plate with beans and fries. I asked for my pork to be mixed with inside and outside meat. After a short wait our food arrived. Todd’s rib plate was huge with an ample amount of ribs full of meat. These things were more like dinosaur ribs. The pork plates were full with meat and sides. Mine had a great mix of inside and outside meat. I really enjoyed the taste of the dark outside meat and tender chopped inside meat. Johnny Ray’s sauce is a vinegar/tomato base, sweet with plenty of interesting spices, complements the meat without over powering.

The three of us were completely full when we finished and decided to skip Honey’s famous pies for dessert. Honey is Johnny’s wife and over the years she has developed some of the best tasting pies you will find anywhere. All of the Johnny Ray’s restaurants feature Honey’s pies and I would recommend trying any and all of them.

SLOW’S BAR B Q
2138 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI. 48216
Ph# 313-962-9828
www.slowsbbq.com

Last week I had to be in the Detroit area on a business trip. I knew that I wanted to sample some of Motown’s barbecue so I prepared in advance by asking the BBQ Forum members for recommendations. One reply came back with a new barbecue spot opening up in downtown Detroit named Slow’s Bar B Q. Now this place is so new that they are not listed in the MSN City Guides section. It’s my guess that they will be very soon once word gets out that they are open.

I stopped in for lunch on a midweek day. Slow’s is located just a short distance west of Tigers Stadium. It’s in the Corktown section of Detroit. Now some of the neighborhood around Slow’s may not win any city beautification award. But there are ample sports bars and other restaurants in the area. The owners of Slow’s have done a nice job rehabbing an old storefront into a very comfortable restaurant/bar. A hostess greeted me and since I was by myself I chose to sit at the bar. Every table was taken and there were several customers along with me at the bar. The menu offered an abundance of appetizers but I chose to go straight to the entrees. Featured entrees included Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Baby Back and St. Louis style ribs and Smoked Chicken. They also offer a variety of combos. I picked The Big Three-Pulled Pork, Pulled Chicken and Sliced Brisket. You also get two sides. I chose Cole Slaw and baked beans, however the bartender talked me into trying the baked Macaroni and Cheese.

While I was waiting for my order I had a chance to ask the bartender a few questions about Slow’s and how they got started. They’ve been open for about a month. The name Slow’s refers to the cooking method we all know and love: Low & Slow. They use a Southern Pride smoker for all of their meats. Apple wood is the primary smoking fuel. On each table and at various locations on the bar you will find 5 different types of barbecue sauces: Spicy, Sweet, North Carolina Sauce, Mustard Sweet and Apple. I sampled all of them and must say they were all very good. The Apple definitely had an apple flavor. The North Carolina sauce had a good bite with red pepper flakes mixed in the vinegar/tomato base. I decided to try them all with my meal. When the combo arrived there was a nice portion of all three meats. The side order of Macaroni & cheese was huge with plenty of warm melted sharp cheddar cheese. I started with a taste of the brisket and was a little disappointed. There wasn’t much flavor, very little smoke in the meat although it did have a nice dark outside bark. Next I tried the pork. Better, good flavor with a nice mix of spices and also dark outside bark. The chicken also had a spicy/hot taste with apple wood smoke, very good. The Mac & Cheese was awesome. They use a small shell type pasta Conchiglie, I believe and add spices. The Cole Slaw was adequate.

Slow’s also offers a variety of sandwiches. One that sounded especially interesting was the Longhorn, Beef Brisket with onion marmalade and smoked Gouda cheese. Pork, Chicken and Smoked Ham sandwiches are also offered. Side items besides those previously mentioned included Black-eyed Peas, Green Beans, and Black Beans. Service was excellent.

I’ll try Slow’s again in a few months. Until then if you’re in the downtown Detroit area I’d recommend trying Slow’s. And when you do, send me your review we’ll post it in the BBQ Forum Blog.

Upcoming reviews: Ken’s Hickory Pit Barbecue-Birmingham, Al. Dreamland Barbecue-Tuscaloosa, AL. Memphis Championship Barbecue-Las Vegas, NV.

Westpoint Barbeque
25301 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI. 48124
Ph# 313-278-3311

The following review was submitted by Brian Pearcy aka ‘The BBQG Guy”:

My wife Linda and I stopped in for lunch today at Westpoint Barbeque at 25301 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, MI. It’s the first time Linda has tried a barbecue restaurant since we moved here from Florida and my second visit to a commercial barbecue restaurant in the Motor City area.

Before I say anything else about our experience, I should offer this disclaimer: Linda and I have cooked in barbecue contests with KCBS and FBA for the past three years. We cook our own barbecue at home and enjoy it a lot. Linda grew up in Tennessee and is a southern-style barbecue connoisseur. I grew up in Missouri, but fell in love with Tennessee style pulled pork after I moved to Tennessee after college graduation.

I’ve driven by the Westpoint Barbeque restaurant a lot in my trips to and from work and the place always seems to have a lot of cars in the parking lot. We stopped in at 11 a.m. for lunch on our way to Greenfield Village. We were ahead of the regular lunch crowd and there were only two or three other groups in the restaurant when we arrived. We figured that any restaurant that has the word “barbeque” in their name should stand a good chance of serving some pretty good barbecue, so we decided to give it a try.

Our intention was to order pulled pork and spare ribs; that way we could both try some of each. The waitress brought our menus and we noticed that Westpoint Barbeque serves a lot of other things besides barbecue. The first item that caught my eye when I opened the menu was “pitas”. They must have had three or four different pitas to choose from. They also serve fish, steaks, hamburgers, and a variety of other sandwiches and salads. Linda was disappointed that they didn’t have “pulled pork” on the menu. I ordered the barbecue ribs (1/2 slab) and Linda chose the “sliced” barbecue pork tenderloin sandwich. The waitress served our drinks quickly and brought silverware to the table with the food arriving within 10 minutes of placing the order. The tables were clean, the waitresses were pleasant and we were greeted and seated within a few seconds of arriving.

The ribs are served with Texas Toast and a choice of fries, broiled potatoes or a baked potato. I chose a side order of cole slaw and the broiled potatoes. At first glance the ribs appeared over cooked. They were very black in color and were slathered in a bright red barbecue sauce. The ribs were pre-cut to make them easier to pull apart, but I was able to separate the ribs easily. Upon first bite my taste buds were greeted with some flavors and textures that I do not usually associate with barbecue ribs; a “charred” texture to the meat from the top of the ribs and a lack of sweetness to the barbecue sauce. I did not notice any rub on the ribs at all. I can only guess that the ribs were cooked with a lot of sauce, and therefore the cooking process “burned” the sauced onto the ribs causing the charring effect. I prefer barbecue sauce that is sweeter and have grown accustomed to honey or molasses flavors. The sauce seemed to be a derivative of the Cattleman’s sauce that you can buy at Sam’s Club warehouse store. I can also only assume that the ribs were cooked a long time before they were served; perhaps the day before. They had the characteristics of barbecue ribs that I sometimes eat as leftovers. The vinegar slaw and broiled potato wedges were very good.

The barbecue pork tenderloin sandwich was served on Texas Toast with lettuce, tomato and A LOT of barbecue sauce slopped on it. Linda commented that she’d never had barbecue with lettuce and tomato. She promptly removed them. Sauce was oozing out onto the bread from all sides. Linda commented that the meat was dried out and that the spice flavoring did not penetrate the meat through and through. I had a bite of the tenderloin and it didn’t take long to figure out why it was served with so much sauce; it was really dried out.
The waitress offered us refills and presented the check: $21 and change. We left a $4 tip and left.

I’ll be the first to admit that we are pretty critical restaurant guests. We notice things like unswept floors, finger prints on the glass, cigarette smells, and unclean restroom facilities. We found NONE of those characteristics at Westpoint Barbeque. The restaurant was very neat, very organized and very clean throughout the dining room area, the waitresses and bus boys were neatly dressed and pleasant. The restroom was one of the cleanest I’ve seen in a family-style restaurant.

On a scale of 1 through 10, I’d rate the overall dining experience a “7″ and the barbecue as “marginal”.

Thanks,

Brian Pearcy
“The BBQ Guy”
www.thebbqguy.com
Member Kansas City Barbecue Society
Member Florida Barbecue Association

Ok, so you’re about to take off on a vacation, business trip, etc and you want to find out if your destination has any good barbecue restaurants. Where do you start your search?

Go to: www.msn.com, and look for the “city guides” link in the left hand side of the front page. Click on “city guide” and you will be directed to a page listing states and largest cities in the state. If you do not see the city you are looking for click on “choose another city” type in the city and/or zip code and enter. When the city page pops up search for the “restaurants” link and click. In the middle of the page you will see a “Restaurant Search”. Click on “By Cuisine”. This will take you to a page where you can refine your search by types of food served. Scroll down the list on the left hand side until you see Barbecue. The number of barbecue restaurants in that city and surrounding areas will be listed. Click on the barbecue link and you will be directed to a page listing all of the restaurants specializing in barbecue. There will be addresses, phone numbers, map etc. If you’re lucky there will also be several reviews about the restaurant and the food served.

I use this site anytime I’m planning a trip, business or otherwise, to plan my barbecue reviews. You can also submit your own review of the restaurant if you like. And while you’re doing that why not submit one to the BBQ Forum Blog Restaurant Review section. Let’s build up our own database for the use of BBQ Forum users.

Now go eat some barbecue.

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