So we went to a couple of local BBQ restaurants this week, and I have to say that I was really disappointed. The ribs at both places were so decidedly mediocre I couldn't believe that people really go there regularly and spend a lot of money for these. Maybe this is just what I get for going to BBQ restaurants in Massachusetts, but I think we've all had similar experiences elsewhere.
So the first place we went was called Firefly BBQ in Quincy MA. I hadn't ever noticed it before, but a friend told us it was there, and it's pretty close to our house. I looked at their website, and it bragged about how they've won over 50 national BBQ awards, so I was really looking forward to trying their food. I figured I could learn what it was 'supposed' to taste like, and learn how to make mine better. I ordered a combo plate with St. Louis ribs with their 'spicy' memphis-style sauce, along with sliced brisket. The brisket was just horrible. I really thought they had brought out the wrong thing - it looked like overcooked pot roast - no smoke ring - no color to the meat at all execpt grey, and no char on the outside. This had never seen the inside of a smoker, though it was billed as 'slow smoked for 14 hours'. It had very little flavor, and the meat was dried out. I don't think my dog would have eaten this. The ribs were OK - they at least smelled a bit smokey, had the right color, and tasted pretty good. They were really fatty though, and their spicy sauce might have had a pepper waved at it before cooking. It just tasted like molasses. My wife got the same ribs, and had the same opinion, but she also got some smoked pork sausages that were OK, though not great. I do have to say that all their side dishes were great though.
This morning, a friend of mine from college was in town, and he wanted to go to brunch. We ended up at Redbones, which is a pretty famous BBQ joint in Davis Square, Somerville MA. I hadn't been there in years, but I remembered having liked it in the past. Again, I ordered 'spicy' St. Louis cut ribs. These were better than at the other place. They obviously had been smoked, and the meat was falling off the bone. They were still really fatty, and the sauce was applied really sparingly and had no flavor at all. If they used I rub, I couldn't taste it. I ate them at noon, and it's now 8:30 and they are still sitting in my stomach like a rock. Blah.
I think I need to make some ribs this week. I need to get the memories of these things out of my head. I may be an amateur, but I can certainly make better than the '50 national awards' guy. I kind of want to set up the Egg in his parking lot and give people samples of decent BBQ. It's funny - I could overhear people at both places saying how much they liked the food, but after getting used to food off the Egg, I just don't want to eat meat at restaurants anymore.
Sorry for the long rant.