Monday, October 01, 2007

Lenny Mac's BBQ - Duluth, GA

I had to make an unplanned trip to Atlanta today. What better way to celebrate an unscheduled trip than to try something new. I stayed near the Gwinnet Center Arena and right across the street from the parking lot was Lenny Mac's BBQ. So I had to succomb to temptation and do some market research.

Lenny Mac's has only been open since January of 2007 so everything is still new. I ordered take out so I cannot really say much about the service, but everyone at the front and the manager (Blaine) was very nice. Seems like a nice clean place.

Lenny's smokes the meat onsite. They use a combination of hickory, white oak, and cherry to smoke the meat. They offer brisket and smoke it for at least 12 hours. That peaked my interest. They have the Mac's Big Combo which would probably feed 2 or 3, and I simply asked if I could get it cut in half. Blaine, the owners son was happy to oblige.

The tea was good, and a little stronger than I usually get at most places. I consider this a plus. The sides I got were beans and slaw. The beans were a little thinner than what I am used to so they did not appear to be "baked" but they did have a good flavor and did not taste right out of the can. I might suggest putting some of the pulled pork in there to soak up a little of the juice. But not bad. The slaw was mayo based. It was simple and not too many ingredients. But it was not too thick or thin. It needs something to make the flavor pop, but again it was not bad.

I started on the pulled pork. You can definitely smell smoke - and for most normal people it has a good balance and is not over powering. It was not too salty and tasted good on its own without the sauce. A good amount of bark was in there too which spruced up the flavor. The ribs were a bit overcooked. The meat fell off the bones, but it was a little on the dry side. However they did have a good flavor and the rub had a good balance with the sauce. I would have liked to have tried some fresh off the smoker as I imagine it would have been much juicer. I had a chicken thigh but I was told that the chicken will not be on the menu in about a month, so I am not going to review it here. This is their least popular dish anyway. The brisket was tender and had flavor. It was a little on the greasy side and starting to dry, but I loved the outer smoke ring and bark. It could use just a touch more flavor internally, but I was happy with the tenderness of the meat.

I chose the spicy sauce, which I would characterize as somewhere between a standard red/sweet and the Dreamland sauce. It goes very well with the pork, especially the ribs. I finished it off with a little garlic bread, which was a nice touch.

Summary: While I would not put this as competition level Q, it definitely ain't bad, and I would eat here again. I would rate them about a 6.5 on the Q scale. They beat out most of the Florida based BBQ places I have eaten at (save Fat Boys in Ocala). Lenny Mac's comes across as very authentic, down home, southern BBQ for the locals and does a good job. Definitely worth checking out.

Big Daddy