What Makes A Good BBQ Joint?
I was reading an article by Remus Powers, Ph. B. in the Bullsheet (The Kansas City Barbeque Society's monthly newsletter) last night and it mentioned that there are rules to determine if a barbecue restaurant or joint is worth a visit. These rules were originally published in the book Real Barbecue - The Only Book You'll Ever Need by Vince Staten and Greg Johnson.
From what I can tell, these rules were written for the barbecue places in the country. I'm wondering if the rules need some revisions as barbeque enters the metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago and Boston.
Rule One: The place should bear the name of the owner. The theory is that if the owner has his or her name on the place, he/she has a personal stake in serving good Que.
Rule Two: The parking lot of the joint should be crowded and have both expensive and cheap cars and trucks. A mix of vehicles shows that the food appeals to all income levels.
Rule Three: There should be a woodpile visible. If it's neat and tidy, it's a warning sign that it's simply there for show. If it's messy, you can bet it's a working woodpile which means that the wood is actually bing used. No woodpile - don't even bother going in.
Rule Four: Barbecue should be the specialty of the house. If the place claims that another dish is - keep going.
Rule Five: Dust and flies. Contrary to what the NYC DOH preaches, a good barbecue joint needs some dust and flies. If the place is too clean - who's paying attention to the pit. No flies? What do they know that you don't?
That's a lot of rules and this post is getting too long. In a future post, I'll apply these rules to the New York barbecue scene and see how we compare. I'm wondering if my friend Gary over at PigTrip would like to chime in?