When Grant and I were planning our co- blogging dinner (auto correct changed “dinner” to “fibber” when I originally typed that word, that may have been a Freudian confession about my food experiences) to Righteous ‘Que (chronicled here and here), I mentioned five or six barbecue joints that I had planned to go to and we cross-referenced lists. I had two on my list in Hapeville – Pit Boss and Hambones. He said that Pit Boss was really good. Today, when I had a lunch meeting at 1:00 in the West End, I decided to give Pit Boss a try. Unfortunately, when I pulled up, about 11:30, there was a hand written note on the door saying they wouldn’t be opening until 12:00. Curses!
Fortuitously, I had driven by Hambones on the way down Virginia Avenue, and they were also on my list, so I headed back towards 85 and found a nearly full parking lot. Inside was fairly full, as well, with a short line at the register where you place your order. I waited my turn, placed my order, got my number (3 – curses! So close to number 1, again) and found a table. While I waited, I sampled the sauces.None of the sauces was particularly great, but mixing the hot and the sweet (labeled rib sauce) made for something to give the meat some much-needed flavor. My self-mixed sauce chosen, I waited for them to call my number. A few minutes later, my combo plate arrived:brisket, pork, mac-n-cheese and peach cobbler. The best thing I can say about my lunch was that I enjoyed the peach cobbler. It was not great cobbler, in fact it was very much like a crazy cobbler (where you just throw everything in a bowl and bake it). The peaches were obviously from a can, but it was an adequate cobbler. That an adequate cobbler was the best part of the meal says a lot about the quality of the rest of it. While the brisket was moist, it had zero, and I do mean zero, smoke flavor, unless you were eating an outside piece.Look at that smoke ring! Wait, you can’t see it? That’s because there wasn’t one. And the pork was just as smokeless and had less taste. I appreciated that they served the meat without sauce (here, it could have been an improvement if they had), but it was like going to Golden Corral and getting a plate with roast beef and minced ham (without any of the positive aspects of ham).
The amazing thing to me, after eating there, was that the place was full. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. But a place that makes me wish I had gone to Sonny’s, instead, is fairly tragic.