A couple of weeks back, I heard that a new BBQ spot had opened on the Westside, of which the proprietor was Mike LaSage (the chef behind Monday night barbecue at P’Cheen). When I was deciding where to grab a bite down town and found myself on Howell Mill, my memory kicked in and down Huff Road I sailed. Getting almost to the Atlanta Road end, I found Bone Lick on the right, in the lower level of a multi-use development. As I walked up, there was a sign out front that they were filming for an episode of Atlanta Eats and my entrance was consent to use my likeness in the episode. I weighed the pros and cons of potentially being “discovered” and went inside, anyhow.
The look is somewhat kitschy, with a bar in the center, tables and booths to the right and a “festive area” off to the left including a juke box, neon signs and a skee-ball table. I was seated at a two top, near the door, and ordered a Diet Coke while I perused the menu. Five meat choices (spare ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork and chicken) with about as many sides (tater tots, slaw, greens, jalapeño mac-n-cheese and something that I can’t recall) served in a variety of combinations.
I decided on the ménage a trois (that feels REALLY odd to type) – their three meat combo – with spare ribs, brisket and pulled pork with the mac-n-cheese. After putting my order in, the waitress returned with the selection of sauces – Kansas City, South Carolina, North Carolina and Hot Pepper. She suggested that I shake them all up and give them a try, which I did. The Kansas City was the thickest and sweetest. I’m a fan of that type of sauce and this was good – not overly sweet, but with a taste. The North Carolina sauce was very thin, heavy on vinegar and a had a real peppery “kick” at the end. A little strong on its own, but it might mix well with the KC. The South Carolina sauce was yellow mustardy, as you’d expect, and had an excellent taste, which I didn’t expect. The Hot Pepper was very similar to the NC sauce – I honestly had a difficult time distinguishing between the two.
When the plate arrived, I had three decent sized ribs, a thick slice of brisket and a good sized pile of pulled pork, along with the mac-n-cheese and a slice of toast. The portions were more than fair-sized, something upon which many “new” ‘cue joints skimp. (Note the samplings of sauces on the top right corner of the tray)
I started with the brisket. It was excellent. Neither stringy like roast beef or dry. A three-quarter-inch thick slice, with a nice smoke ring with just a little bit of fat left on the edge. I tried all of the sauces on it, but I decided that I liked it best with the KC sauce.
The spare ribs were okay – you can see the (to me) heavy char in the photo. They were meaty enough, but the overwhelming taste on these was of the burnt exterior.
The pulled pork was excellent. Nice tan color with an appropriate amount of smoke. But the most surprising thing to me was how good the SC sauce tasted on that pork. I tried them all and thought, “that’s odd. The mustard sauce was the best.” So I tried them all again. Same result. So I kept slathering that yellow-orange sauce on every mouthful. If every mustard-based sauce was this good, South Carolina barbecue might be my favorite. Amazing!
As I finished the waitress asked me I’d read about their “Big Muff” challenge. I hadn’t, so she explained. One pound of each of their meats, on bread – six pounds total weight. Eat it an hour and it’s free and you get your name on a plaque. Don’t finish and you pay for it ($35.00). Honestly, if it was five pounds off that pulled pork with mustard sauce, I might be able to do it. I will be back…
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