BBQ West North Central Region
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Q Tips, a new section lists unsolicited BBQ restaurant recommendations that showed up in my email. Congratulations to my wife Connie for coming up with the name. Q Tips.
Hog Wild Pit Bar-B-Q
1200 S. Rock Rd.
About half a mile south of Kellogg Rd. (Rt. 54), on the left in a small strip mall. Doesn’t stand out very well so watch carefully after turning off Webb and onto Rock.
The look is what you’d expect from a place in a strip mall – neat and clean. A sign on the door states that this is a “smoke-free” restaurant – a surreal touch for a place that sells smoked meat. A row of plants stretches the length of the store above the ordering and serving counter, but this is offset a bit by the fact that the signs for “Order”, “Pickup”, and the restaurant name itself are made out of twisted strands of barbed wire.
I ordered a two-meat plate – brisket and pulled pork. Both were very good and tender. The only problem was that the brisket came chopped and, after covering the brisket and pork with BBQ sauce, it was hard to tell them apart. Excellent BBQ sauces, by the way. The mild had a deep taste and the hot wasn’t really hot, just spiced up a bit to give it a bite but without making sweat break out on your hairline. Excellent cole slaw.
Overall rating – Very good. (Would have been excellent except for the difficulty distinguishing between the brisket and pulled pork.)
Thanks to Rex Schechster of CCH for this recommendation.
Two Brothers BBQ
300 S. Greenwich Rd.
On the right, about 300 yards north of Kellogg Rd. (Rt. 54) on Greenwich, almost directly across from Subway. Basically, the place is in the southeast corner of the Raytheon/Beech Airport. It’s in a small, whitewashed brick building that stands alone, but doesn’t stand out very well so watch carefully after passing Subway.
The inside is nicely spartan, with a small order and pickup counter, ten or so small tables, and two TVs.
I ordered a two-meat plate – brisket and Kansas City burned ends. The brisket was outstanding – thinly sliced, moist, and with a deep smoke ring.
I’d read descriptions of burned ends but never had them before. They’re made out of the end pieces that get trimmed off when cutting a brisket and are then smoked all over again. (Assuming that you save the end chunks rather than eating them. This never happens when I make brisket at home because my wife steals the end chunks and shares them with the dog, so the idea has never progressed beyond theory.) Burned ends are usually described as looking like pieces of charcoal covered with BBQ sauce, but these looked just like small chunks of brisket. You don’t get the full effect until you pop a piece in your mouth, at which point the piece just melts away like a meringue. Absolutely outstanding. There’s a story, probably apocryphal, about a BBQ restaurant in Austin, TX whose sign read “You don’t need teef to eat my beef”, and you see what they mean when you try a burned end.
The BBQ sauce was also outstanding. I kept eating it by the spoonful. The cole slaw was very good, but little more than an afterthought in this meat nirvana.
Overall rating – Outstanding.
2131 Snelling Ave.
Famous Dave’s is, in theory, everything that a BBQ joint should not be – part of a huge chain (100+ outlets), in chain restaurant-style buildings with overly cutesy decor, and lots of professionally-done advertising. And yet… I like the place. The meat is excellent, the sauces vary but they’re all at least good, the place is clean and easy to find… More specifically…
This restaurant is on a main drag – Snelling – north of Minneapolis and about four miles south of Rt. 694 at the Snelling Avenue exit. It’s also just across the road from the Har Mar Mall, so it’s easy to find. I went in the late afternoon on a Wednesday, so the place was pretty empty. It’s full of old-looking oak tables and chairs, with a take-out booth at the front door and an apparent take-out booth inside where you actually place your order for someone to bring to your table. They were playing a great Blues CD in the background, which included Long Tall Marcia Ball on piano.
I ordered a two-meat platter – ribs and pulled pork – with apples and coleslaw. The platters also come with corn on the cob and a corn muffin. The ribs were excellent – falling off the bone tender with no fat at all. The pork was also excellent – chunks and strings, chewy but not mushy, covered with sauce on a slice of white bread. Apples were excellent, as was the coleslaw.
Overall rating – I’m probably violating some law of nature by doing this, but I rate the place as excellent.