Bludso’s BBQ opened last August on Walker Street in West End and I don’t know that I’ve heard a single person talking about. (Spoiler alert: people should be talking about it – this is seriously good brisket.) In fact, I drive through that section of town about three days a week, but had never noticed it. So this restaurant referral came courtesy of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, and a recent article of new barbecue spots in town, which a friend of mine sent to me. I usually bypass that part of Walker Street (at the intersection with Peters Street) because of the perpetual issue at the train tracks – there’s almost always a train there at the time I drive through, so I wasn’t quite sure where it was. As we were heading in town, I had a general idea of where it was located and as we drove east on Walker Street, we drove right by it, even with the giant sign painted on the storefront…
We arrived kind of late for the lunch crowd and just ahead of a really heavy rain shower. This is actually the Atlanta outpost of Texas-style BBQ joint from Compton. Yep – Texas barbecue, in the ATL, via LA. According to their website, the primary focus is catering and carry-out, but they do have seating for 30-40 people between the two levels. Even though there were only two parties (totaling 3 people) in line in front of us, it took a while to get our order placed, which didn’t portend well.
We didn’t look at the menu on-line, but my beloved was planning on having some chicken with a salad or a baked potato, but we were surprised to find that neither salad nor baked potatoes were on the menu. (She told me to go ahead and get a plate and she’d get something later on.) Also, for what it’s worth, they don’t have iced tea, other than in a can. The menu did have a wide variety of meats – beef rib, beef brisket, rib tips, chicken, chicken links, beef links and pork shoulder – and a quintet of sides – cole slaw, baked beans, mac-n-cheese, greens and potato salad.
Wonder what this is? I chose a two meat combo (brisket – they’re Texas-style barbecue, this should be their specialty, right? – and rib tips), with double mac n cheese.
You can’t really see the brisket in this packaging, but it is underneath the rib tips. The meat was slathered in sauce – in retrospect, I should have ordered it “dry”, because the sauce was a little sweet for me. The mac-n-cheese was fine, with a little bit of smoke. The rib tips were large and meaty and the brisket was excellent. When I dug a fork full of the brisket (which absolutely shredded when I tried to pick it up) out from underneath the sauce, the smoke flavor was apparent and the meat was moist. And it wasn’t only me who thought that the brisket was good.
As we were leaving, I stepped toward the kitchen to ask about the smoker and the woods they used (a custom built rotisserie style smoker, cooking over pecan and hickory, cooking the brisket for about eighteen hours). As I was talking with the pit master, who said he comes in at 3:30 to get things going, Jo stepped up behind me and said, “He makes me eat a lot of barbecue. And that was good brisket!” That’s quite an endorsement!
Do yourself a favor – go there and order brisket, with the sauce on the side. I think you’ll thank me.