It isn’t often that I will mention restaurants or food establishments, but I felt it was only fair to tell about the bad as well as the good.
I have always been a huge fan of good barbecue, from Texas to the Carolina’s, Tom and I both love good barbecue. I always hesitate to try barbecue in New Jersey just for the simple fact that although New Jerseyans know how to make many great things to eat they haven’t grasped what it means to make good slow cooked smoked barbecued meats.
You may be asking yourself what is she talking about, well its in the rub. no matter what state you go to down south or midwest they know how to pull it all together from the rub to the sauce. From the Carolina’s with their tangy vinegar based sauce to the midwest with their thicker and often hotter sauces it comes together so well you can't help but find your mouth watering as you get messy while you feast on it.
So this past week we decided to try one of the local barbecue places that opened in town and to be blunt it was very very disappointing and expensive for take out. The meals ranged from $11.99 to $22.99 for entrées and $6.99 to $9.99 for their burgers and sandwiches. The meat was cooked enough but the only thing you tasted without smothering it in sauce was plain meat with a strong smoke taste which seemed more like a liquid smoke taste then that of real smoked meats.
I give them props for tenderness, but a - 10 for lack of real seasoning. We tried one of their meat plates which gave us a choice of four items which we shared -- their pulled pork, ribs and sausage links. The sausage was homemade but very overcooked, and had a strong cinnamon flavor that was overpowering. The sausage was hard like an overcooked meatloaf (sad but true). It was hot (spicy) but we each had only a bite or two becuase it was to strong.
The ribs, as I said, were cooked not perfectly but the meat came off the bone easily. The only issue we both had was it had absolutely no flavor except for the smoke.The pulled pork was the best of the three, it was juicy and tender but again no rub or flavor.
We also tried their fried pickles, which weren’t bad. The sauce that went with them was watery and disappointing. The best part of the meal was the onion rings which were made perfectly. One would think that an establishment called the Meat BBQ Co would take the time to get it right. BBQ isn’t one of those things you do half way it takes a full on commitment and love for what you're making. I can't honestly recommend this food and I feel bad about that. Truthfully though, for what they charge I expected better. They claim to have award winning BBQ but I wonder where they won their award.
So for now, I guess I will keep making my own barbecue instead of trying take out. When we have barbecue in our house the table groans as the food is laid out. By the end of dinner the chairs are groaning from all the full belly’s at the table. Barbecue should make everyone feel good, because sharing a good barbecue meal with friends and family is about as American as you can get when it comes to cooking. If someone walks away disappointed I know I would take it seriously, wouldn’t you?