Monday, October 18, 2010

Hole In The Wall BBQ: Mount Juliet, TN

Shane's Rib Shack: Columbus, OH

Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous: Memphis, TN

Soulman's Bar-B-Que: Rockwall, TX

Smokin' B's B-B-Q: Monteagle, TN

Smok'n Pig B-B-Q: Valdosta, GA

BJ's Alabama BBQ: Tampa, FL

Pratt's BBQ: Kingsport, TN

Shurford's Smoke House Bar-B-Que: Chattanooga, TN

Virgils BBQ - New York City

Virgil's is just off of Times Square in downtown New York City.

Say what you want about New York, but Virgil's has authentic BBQ done right and some of the better stuff I have had. Good job!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Rick's Smoke House – Garland, TX

Like Scott I travel pretty often for a living. BBQ is not the only thing I look for but it ranks up there near the top. I like a unique experience with local food. BBQ is done differently all over the country so it fits that bill. I always wonder if certain places are successful because of where they are or what they serve.

Places like Interstate BBQ serve fantastic food but also happen to be very convenient to said interstate. Other places are so far out that you can't even see "the sticks" if you had a step ladder. Even still the people are there. If you cook it they will come, I guess.

Rick's Smoke House probably falls somewhere in the middle. Garland is a bit of a suburban wasteland bordering on converted cattle country outside of Dallas. It also happens to be home to a really really big international defense contractor. I was working there again for a week. While I was getting my papers and badge done I saw a pretty steady stream of employees wandering across the street to and from the food to the hive. I called my customer and said I'd be in after I grabbed some lunch and headed off.

They weren't too busy in the parking lot for a lunch hour but most people were walking in. I got inside and asked someone in line what he liked and was told "most anything but the chicken". That was good because chicken is meant to be fried, baked, broiled, or grilled but rarely smoked for BBQ in my opinion. There were a lot of choices so I got a rib sandwich which is no switch for me. This was especially good with the ribs on Texas Toast.

The ribs were good. Definitely not the best I had but they had good texture and flavor. Probably the best thing about the meal was the toast. The worst thing about it was the German chocolate cake. I don't know what my deal is with dessert, but it's a mixed bag. I seriously considered putting the sauce on the cake. It would have been an improvement.

I got the plate with two sides: cheddar potatoes and soup beans. The potatoes were so-so. The beans were awesome. Instead of baked beans they had white soup beans. Good stuff.

All in all, I have had worse BBQ in Dallas. Maybe I haven't found the world famous stuff yet, but for a town that prides itself on brisket, these pork ribs were pretty darn good. Sonny Bryan's is supposed to be top notch, but I found that it is just an average local chain now. Someday I'll get back to Angelo's in Ft. Worth -- I hear that is pretty good too. But for now if I'm at a certain government contractor, I may go there again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jim Dandy's Family BBQ: Sharonville, OH

I was recently on a business trip to Cincinnati, but even my business associates know that any trip is a quest for more Q! They recommended we try a new place just north of town called Jim Dandy's.

The smoker they use to cook the meat is right out front, so you know it's done using real hickory wood. The smoke permeates the front porch area and the inside, and there is an open, airy feel to the place.

Unfortunately, I couldn't focus as much on the food because I actually did have to talk some business. But was was able to take a quick snapshot of my meal, which was the pulled pork sandwich place with sides of beans and greens.

When ordering, it's more of a cafeteria style, where they put the stuff right on your plate as you order in line.

The pulled pork was good, and had a good amount of smoke to it. I would have liked to have tried the ribs, and I suspect I will be back to try them at some point. The sauces were red based sauces, and the hot one was really hot, and I liked it. The sides were OK. The beans were the best side. The greens already had vinegar added to them, when I did NOT like. I didn't care for the flavor. The tea was decent, and the cornbread was OK, but there was no "wow" factor going on for anything.

Considering there are few good BBQ places in Cincinnati, and the most famous one (Montgomery Inn) doesn't even count, this is fairly good for that area. I still prefer City Barbecue, but this place has promise. Overall score is a 6.5, dinged mainly for the sides. I'll retry the ribs later and up the score if it's worth it.

You can check them out at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Moon BBQ: Hendersonville, TN

It's been a fairly regular tradition to to go to Hendersonville on Sunday after church to get some "All you can eat" fried chicken at Uncle Bud's Catfish, Chicken, and Such restaurant for $6.99, so I was really disappointed to hear that they closed it down. A few weeks later, I drove past it and saw a new sign up for a new BBQ place. That is about the only thing I can think of to replace Uncle Bud's. Needless to say, this place has been on my list to visit since the day it opened.

I finally got a good excuse to get up that way and decided to check it out. The store manager was extremely friendly and gave a mini-tour of the smokers they use. Check them out:

Blue moon has a great BBQ atmosphere. They changed the fishing motif for Uncle Bud's and I think they really stepped it up a notch with the memorabilia:

We stepped up to order. Since we always like to get a platter with a little of everything to sample as much as possible, we got the "Jay Boy" which has everything except chicken - for $20. Great price. We added a 1/2 chicken as well. I figured that would keep me from starving for at least an hour.

They do not use MSG in any of their seasoning. They cannot control the MSG in the sausage, but everything else is MSG-free, and this was a real relief. It was also refreshing that they understood what it was and why it's not a good thing.

The picture directly below is where you go to get your drinks after ordering. They have a variety of hot sauces, including the very hot El Yucatero - which goes very well with BBQ. They plan to have an even wider selection in the new future I am told. The sweet tea was excellent, and a good first sign that there is good stuff on the way. I have said it before, but it bears repeating. If the BBQ place pays attention to the tea and the "little" things, the food will usually be good.

With our plate, we got the beans and slaw as usual. The slaw was sort of a half way between mayo and vinegar based. It was OK, but I think it needs to go one way or the other. The beans were a little pasty, but you could tell they had been cooked (they were not directly poured out of a can and re-heated). They had meat cooked into them, which gave them a good flavor.

The meat was excellent. Their brisket is the best I have had in the Nashville area lately. Blue Moon is very comparable to Martin's BBQ Joint in Nolensville in presentation and the food served when it comes to the platters. However, I can say that overall Blue Moon has Martin's beat. The portions are a little bigger, and the meat is a little tastier. In fact, we enjoyed eating the meat without any sauce at first. At Martins, the chicken seems more like rotisserie, and at Blue Moon you can tell it has been in a smoker. The pulled pork has more smoke as well. I think this is because they use only hickory at Blue Moon and it makes a difference.

The ribs are also comparable to Martin's, but I think Blue Moon has them beat on taste. Although the pulled pork and chicken were also good, I think the brisket and ribs are the stars of the show. I plan to come back for a brisket sandwich soon.

The sauces at Blue Moon are a regular tomato based, a sweet and spicy, and a mustard based sauce. We did not care for the mustard at all. All of the sauces are a bit too sweet for my taste. This tends to overtake the taste of the meat if you use too much, especially when the ribs have such a great flavor on their own. My favorite was to combine the sweet and spicy with some El Yucatero and Louisiana hot sauces and it tasted awesome. I would highly recommend that they keep playing around with the sauce recipe's and tweaking them a little bit more. Perhaps check out the sauces at Jim -N- Nicks. To get back to a comparison of Martin's BBQ Joint - Martin's has more variety, but none of their sauces were really as good (even mixed). Martin's tends to be very "spice heavy" where you get the sense that the spice hasn't fully blended with the sauce. Not the case here.

Unfortunately we were unable to try desert. I am told their Banana Pudding is a great experience. That's on my list for next time.

After we finished eating, the manager wanted our honest opinion on the food and experience and we gave him the same feedback that we are giving here. I would rate Blue Moon a 7.75, and I only ding them a .25 point because the sides and sauces need to come up a notch or so. That's one of my higher ratings. Blue Moon is definitely a strong contender to Jim -N- Nicks and one of the better places in the Nashville area. The prices are good, and the service is excellent. Real smoked BBQ and a great atmosphere to eat it in. Check them out at:

104 Sanders Ferry
Hendersonville, TN. 37075

Tell them BBQ Quest sent you!

-Big Daddy