Friday, February 15, 2008
The BBQ Trail
When we made our One Lap of America two years ago, my wife and I were determined to eat as much regional cuisine as possible. And by "regional cuisine" we mean "barbecue". I'm a pulled pork man but my wife is constantly in search of the perfect ribs: short ribs, not baby backs, dry rub, not wet sauce, and most importantly never, never, boiled. It's harder than you think. Here's a run down of some of the places we hit:
Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue Kansas City
Kansas City is beef and Jack Stack Barbecue is ribs. This suspiciously elegant restaurant is down by the railyards and serves all varieties of barbecue and ribs. We had some sampler plates and were wowed by both the pork and beef. Still, a barbecue place shouldn't take reservations. I have a saying that it isn't authentic barbecue unless you endanger your life getting there.
Stubb's Barbecue Austin, Texas
Right off the highway, Stubb's is part barbecue joint, part honkey tonk. They have a huge double high stage area and a concert amphitheater out back. We just stopped in while passing through but still found some great sauces and delicious side dishes.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse Dallas, Texas
The original Sonny Bryan's is just a shack which closes up when they run out for the day, but fortunately they have stand alone locations at various spots around Dallas. We found this one in a grocery store strip mall and were still satisfied with the large portions and good variety.
Central BBQ Memphis, Tennessee
There are plenty of place to eat on Tacky Tourist District Beale Street, but we went further afield and found Central BBQ which had a funky hippie-fied feel. The open patio was the only place to even come close to avoiding the thick heavy cigarette smoke indoors. The patio was also where the country folk band was playing and I am always in favor of live music while dining. The food was only so-so, but it sure touched the spirit of what is real barbecue.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: Where's your favorite barbecue? Extra credit if you can recommend someplace in Atlanta.