My favorite kind of sweat is meat sweats. Although it’s an admittedly gross phrase, it envelops everything that’s great about barbecue: eating smoky meat, competing for elbow room with your friends and getting a little too full for comfort. Hey, it’s better than cardio, right?
I got my latest workout on a recent Saturday evening when my boyfriend, Brandon Pratt, and I did a double date with our friends Katelyn and Kevin Robertson. We walked in a with a game plan: We’ll get ¼ pound of each meat and the sides we wanted, all a la carte. The man behind the counter quickly threw a wrench in that plan: “Order by the plate and the side is included in the meal,” he said. So we took his advice and split up the order. Brandon got the chicken plate with pit beans, I got the brisket plate with chips and an extra serving of turkey, Katelyn got the pulled pork plate with potato salad and Kevin got the sausage plate with cornbread and an extra two ribs. When our plates arrived, I was impressed with the large serving sizes, which made it easier to trade bites of everything.
The Meat Breakdown
The best meat on the plate was the smoked chicken. It’s hard to do smoked chicken well without it getting dry, and this was perfect: tender, juicy, great smoke flavor. The other white meat, the turkey (which is served cold), was lacking in smoky flavor and was a little dry. On to the pork: The sausage checked the No. 1 box, which is having a “great snap.” When you bite into it, you physically hear and feel the snap of the casing before getting into the meat, which also had a balanced flavor of smoke and heat. The ribs were also a highlight, with a great bark, more meat than fat and a good smoke flavor. The pulled pork was more like a roasted pork shoulder than the fork-tender, sauce-covered pulled pork you traditionally think about. It was better when covered in mustard sauce. Now to the king of meats: beef brisket. I got two thick slices on my plate, and you could easily see the pink border of smoke penetration. The bark was the best part: a great mix of salt and pepper that added a good crunch to the bite. The meat was a little tough to get through, and, again, I liked it better with sweet sauce on it. (It’s worth mentioning here that we went during the last hour of service, so the meat may have been sitting. I would be interested to see how their lunchtime brisket measures up.)