Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lonnie's BBQ: Nashville, TN

Last month we were eating at Blackstone Brewery on West End in Nashville. When I walked out fo the doors to leave I looked across the parking lot and saw in huge letters painted on the side of the building that said "Lonnies BBQ - WORLD FAMOUS". Well, now dadgum! I ain't ever heard of them. I asked around. No one else has ever heard of them and no one had eaten there. So I am not sure if the claim about being world famous can be backed up, or if this is just to attract the seasonal tourist who are hunting and pecking around town.

Me and the "BBQ wrecking crew" - that's me and my buddies - headed over to find out what all the fuss was about. Turn out the world famous place is a hole in the wall in an alley behind a Pizza Hut on West End Ave.

I had the ribs, another person had the pulled pork sandwich, and another had the brisket. I originally wanted a combination plate and offered to pay more to get a plate with a little bit of everything on it. When the manager found out who I was and what I was doing there, he would not even sell me his chicken because he said it was not his regular chicken. He had been ordering from an alternate source because his main supplier was out for a few days. So I just had the ribs by themselves.

Here is my plate:

As you can probably tell, the ribs were not cooked over a slow heat. The outside shows more of a braised look. They were harder to bite off of the bone because of this, as would be expected. Other than not being as tender, they had no real rub or bark. Because of the faster paced cooking, they were a little fattier and the flavor just wasn't there.

The sauce was basically a "Texas Pete" strength hot sauce. I did not notive anything special about the taste. It was not a thick sauce, about the consistency of regular ole hot sauce. The sides were just OK. The beans were closer to canned than baked and the slaw was a little soggy.

My friend who had the brisket said it was very tough and agreed with me on the sides. Both he and I rate Lonnies as about a 3.5 or a 4 maximum on the BBQ wrecking scale. Not something I was too impressed with, but if you don't have enough money to eat at Blackstone, the prices tend to be a lot cheaper. But don't count this as your experience with the best TN BBQ has to offer.

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