Thursday, August 06, 2009

Erik Pena Officially Joins BBQ Quest!

Erik's been so good at his guest reviews, we decided to make him a standard contributor of the site. He'll be posting his own reviews. We look forward to seeing all new reviews.

Big Daddy

Interstate BBQ – Memphis, TN

Guest Review by Erik Pena:
Here’s a hometown gem in my backyard that I had not visited yet. I swear that Memphis has more high quality BBQ joints in one square mile than most cities can claim in their entire metro area.

I had made the requisite trip to Rendezvous (overrated), Corky’s (great but a bit commercial now), Commissary (sometimes hit-or-miss), and some other smaller shops, but this beats ALL! For anyone touring Memphis it is worth a short ride south on 3rd Street.

My wife and I got the sampler platter which is more than enough for two with pork and beef ribs, beef link, pork shoulder, slaw, BBQ spaghetti, and beans. I really wanted to try the pork ribs but I looked down for a minute to eat some of the excellent link and they were gone. She says she doesn’t know what happened. There is some photographic evidence.

The parts that I had were awesome. I’ve been back a few times with friends and family which is saying something given all the great places in Memphis. I’ll be back again.

Craig’s BBQ – De Vall’s Bluff, AR

Guest Review by Erik Pena:
I was driving back from vacation in the Ozarks and decided to hit this place. It is on the old Highway 70 between Memphis and Little Rock. It’s right across the street from The Pie Shop which got some major press from the USA Today food writer about 2 years ago. But this isn’t a pie blog so that’s all there will be about that.

I had rained hard for about two days here. Things inside were a bit soggy. But potential health code violations have never kept me from good BBQ. I got the dinner plate hot. You can get mild, medium, or hot. Apparently you can get extra hot too but I didn’t know that until after I ate. I like a spicy BBQ as long as it isn’t so hot to interfere with actually enjoying the food. The hot sauce is a thick, spicy, orange sauce that would hold up well on most any meat. I got the pork. It was tender, and thick sliced but still soft enough to chew through on a sandwich without stopping to cut it up.

The coleslaw is mayo based. I’m not a fan of that in general so I pushed it off to the side. Most of the carry-out orders were for BBQ only so I figure I wasn’t missing much. There were a lot of drive-up customers from out of town. One guy was returning from Oklahoma where he had moved after growing up. The place has been around since the ‘40s. It’s nice to see such longevity when it is earned from the consumers.

Chances are I’ll be back here and I’ll be having some pie too.