No, not that Q!
If you’ve reached this post through some weird algorithmic cluster f@¢# of “internet research”, please have a listen to this song by Carly Simon.
In December last year we wrote about the best BBQ Pit Stops we’d sampled throughout 2020.
It’s now June, 2021, so we figured we should spin this one again like this song from Daft Punk, a band that recently called it quits, which is a damn shame.
Moe’s Original – Mobile, AL ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
It’s entirely a coincidence that Moe’s Original BBQ is both the first pit stop on this list, because of the chronological order from oldest to newest, and the #1 BBQ joint we’ve been to in the last six months.
Hot damn! Moe’s knows how to sling some southern cooking.
From mouth watering pulled pork, to perfectly seasoned black eyed peas, unctuous Oreo cookie pudding, and a southern fried catfish sandwich that has nary a rival – this place was so damn good!!!
Few things are more synonymous with Texas as BBQ, and ZZ Top. So, when a member of the latter writes a song about the former, it’s a worthy introduction to this venerable holy ground of smoked meat inspired shin digs.
Texas Pit Stop BBQ – Galveston, TX ⭐⭐⭐
This was our first stop in the great state of Texas, right across from the beach and Gulf of Mexico, along the strip of land known as Galveston Island.
As often as we eat BBQ, some places are bound to be average. Nothing against their food or service. It’s aight.
Rudy’s “Country Store” BBQ – Austin, TX ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The counter service, BBQ by the ounce, cheeky decor, slash gas station, didn’t scream high quality at first glance.
But it took just one bite of their melt-in-your-mouth brisket, the house specialty, to know we’d found a place that took its slow and low seriously.
Seriously, get your brisket here at Rudy’s!
Main Street Market – Odessa, TX
To be fair, this is a grocery store and not a restaurant, but JC was craving ribs and an easy dinner, so we grabbed a couple of their “fresh and hot” dinner plates to-go. We got ribs with carrots and peas, you know, the kind that most definitely came out of a can.
For those of you who’ve never experienced the featureless, barren wasteland that is West Texas, in the heart of oil country, let us reassure you – you’re not missing anything!
The BBQ, and the environment that is Midland and Odessa, Texas, are as bleak as hospital stay, or a weekend in the slammer. Zero ⭐’s was intentional, because we don’t want to give you the wrong impression about whether there’s anything redeeming about either.
A word of caution should you find yourself in the Permian Basin in spring time. This otherwise flat, desert landscape, can roar to life in the form of wind and dust, with such ferocious intensity you may lose all visibility, and find dust in places you never knew existed.
Danny’s Place – Carlsbad, NM ⭐⭐⭐1/2
We visited this quaint little restaurant in Carlsbad, NM, after having endured days full of 40-60 mph winds, all encompassing dust storms in TX and NM, while learning the benefits of wearing a mask outdoors in such situations.
Danny’s was just the right mix of tasty Q, small town vibes, hospitality, and reprieve from the unsettling experience (for us non-natives) that comes with a daily barrage of being pelted by sand.
The Wigglin’ Pig – Cortez, CO ⭐⭐⭐*
Erin is the kind of person who knows what she likes, and doesn’t stray far from those preferences, when dining out. JC is the ‘Ill try anything once’, kind of diner.
The Wigglin’ Pig offered us a chance to stick to our guns, as they say.
Erin got a pulled pork sandwich without all the fuss, and JC went with a trio of unique BBQ sliders with such oddities as blue cheese drizzle and fried onions, and another inspired by Hawaiian cuisine with sweet glaze and pineapple.
We gave this place three stars for being pretty good in terms of quality meat, but included an * due to the sloppiness that is a slider with so many things going on they can only be consumed with a fork vs your hands, thus defeating the purpose of being a slider altogether.
That is unless your intent is to exemplify the word slider, literally.
Spitfire Smokehouse Bar + Taps – Moab, UT ⭐
Chalkboard menu ✔️ Counter service ✔️ Brown paper bowls ✔️ House made sauce ✔️ Fancy side dishes like homemade pickles ✔️ Claim of authenticity rooted in X location, far away from where you are actually located ✔️
Soul-less restaurant, in a trendy town full of tourists, designed to be Instagram friendly, without much regard for quality. ✔️✔️✔️✔️
It occurs to us that in our annual list of Pit Stops from last year, the single worst BBQ we had was in North Carolina. And Spitfire Smokehouse, which claims to be a NC style BBQ restaurant, comes across as a trendy spot whose sum of its parts are not greater.
If we’re keeping score, that’s two piss-poor experiences with NC BBQ, one in the state from which it takes its namesake, and the other in Utah.
Desert Grill – Panguitch, UT ⭐⭐⭐1/2
There’s something about small towns out west that we’ve learned over time. There will be an over abundance of places offering hamburgers, various sandwiches, taquerias, and that one place that offers a wee bit of everything.
Typically speaking, when you go to a restaurant whose menu covers everything from breakfast to lunch to dinner, you expect the quality to be on par with your average Denny’s. We tend to avoid those places for that very reason.
So when a neighbor in our RV park asked us – us, the ones who write blog posts about BBQ we’ve had all over the country – where the best Q was in town, we told him there was a place just up the road that listed a couple offerings, but that we hadn’t tried it yet. Thirty minutes later JC knocked on his door and asked how the Q was and he showed us two LBs of brisket he scored while smiling a big ole grin.
Naturally, we followed his lead. And we’re glad we did! Yet again, the brisket was the star of this joint.
Bauer Ranch BBQ – Tremonton, UT ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bauer Ranch BBQ is neither a restaurant, retail location, nor a food truck. It’s one guy, with a truck, a smoker, and trailer, who does catering exclusively.
The only way we found that out was by calling the number associated with the business on Google because there were no photos (at the time we called), no address, no website, and no social media accounts. By the location on the map we could tell this was a home-based operation, because it was right outside our RV park in an obvious neighborhood.
But, when Nicholas the owner heard we ate BBQ everywhere we go across the country, he more than obliged my request when I said, “If you have any extra ribs sometime this week I’ll take some.”
Not only did Nicholas make us a full rack of Texas style ribs, he added some delicious corn with queso blended in, garlic bread, extra sauce, wrapped it all up in To-go containers, and delivered it right to our RV!
So, if any of our fellow RV’ers ever make a stop in Tremonton, UT, at Aspen Grove RV Park, we definitely recommend giving Nicholas a call and seeing what he’s making that week. Can’t beat good conversation, service with a smile, and damn tasty Q!
Until we meat again folks….