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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Ribs’ Category

Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 05:07 PM

026Wow…it’s hot! It’s pretty safe to say summer is will upon us and although I could definitely use a break from this heat right now, it has given us an opportunity to take advantage of the more “outdoor foods.” What am I talking about? Well, if you have read any number of PCC’s posts on the topic, you know that I love good barbecue; and if you if you missed two of our stand out favorites you can read them here and here.

Since moving away from Texas and the wonderful availability of BBQ there, I think I have become a little less picky, since I don’t have the accessibility to options as I once did. That being said, I’m still picky enough to know what I deem good and even over the top! We have been happy to find a local place that meets our standards for the “best bbq we can get right now,” but we know that it will likely never surpass some of the better spots. Still, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying all the other Que meccas out there. I mean… I have to give them all a chance don’t I? Winking smile

Well, if you have read my other posts on barbecue, you know that I am a total ribs girl at heart. But, what actually drew us into this next place wasn’t any of your typical bbq dishes at all, rather it was their wings in an ‘Alabama’ bbq sauce that intrigued us, mostly because it was something we were used to seeing, namely….IT’S WHITE! I mean who’s ever heard of white barbecue sauce? Well, not us until we saw Guy Fieri from The Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives,” and we figured if he was a fan…we had to give them a shot…

Source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufruwns0mNI

 

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is a fun and funky little urban smokehouse located in Noblesville, TN, a suburb of Nashville. We are lucky enough that my little brother lives there with his wife, so when we get the chance to visit, we like to try and hit up as many PCC worthy places as their town has to offer, and let me tell you there are A LOT! So when we decided at the last minute to take a little vacation down to Nashville for Memorial Day weekend and spend time with Chris, Amy, and our nephew Jack, Adam knew that Martin’s was for sure at the top of our PCC list!

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Although it was almost 100 degrees that Saturday at lunch time, people seemed to be out and about, and we were lucky we hopped in line at Martin’s right when we did (because by the time we left the line was out the door!). It’s a really cool sight to see when you’re standing in line getting ready for some bbq and you’re mouth begins to water cause you can see the smoker and smell that smokey flavor. Needless to say, the atmosphere only heightened our hunger and anticipation and by the time we got to the counter, we wanted to order about ¾ of the menu! 😀 Well, we opted to share a large sampler platter so we could get a taste of their staple items (pulled pork, brisket, and ribs both wet and dry rub) and also added an order of those yummy looking wings. Our meal came with a couple of side options, so we went with the cornbread, coleslaw, beans, and potato salad.

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Our food was out to us quickly, we hadn’t even got our drinks! That’s fast, and when you are craving the que, that is good. So we dug right in. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their cornbread looked like a huge pancake, which I was happy about cause it was totally right up Betta’s alley. She may be small, but she devoured all the bites I would give her. But, enough about the bread, cause what we really wanted was the meat, more specifically the ribs and wings. We both first tried one of the wings and I was floored… it was SO GOOD! Not only was the wing a decent size and meaty, but that white sauce is delicious. Although kinda indescribable, it’s close to the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had. It isn’t really creamy but it isn’t really runny either. Also, it’s not like a vinegary Carolina sauce, but it does have a really nice tang to it. Regardless, we all went around trying to decide what all we thought was in in, but whatever it was I am now a fan!

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Our meal pretty much turned into a huge free for all with all of us grabbing bites of this and that, but we still managed to go home with 2 huge boxes of leftovers. While this wasn’t my first barbecue rodeo, nor will it be my last I’m sure, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and having now been introduced to the rare and illusive white bbq sauce, I will continue to be on the lookout for where I can try it again.

 

SIGNATURE DISH: While I would say they are really known for all of their smoked meats, what really stood out to us as new and different were their wings with the Alabama White Sauce. They were not only delicious, but a unique item we hadn’t really encountered before, so I was glad to discover them!

TASTE: Their meat was all very tender and flavorful. Adam really enjoyed the dry rub on their ribs, where as usual I preferred the sauced ribs. We thought their ‘cue was definitely some of the better we have had, but the piece de resistance were those wings… man, what a winner!

AMBIANCE: I loved the feel when you walked in…lots of corrugated metal, wood, and concrete. It’s just bare bones, urban and cool, yet still had a really open, friendly, and family type atmosphere. I didn’t feel out of place having a baby along, nor did you feel bad if she made noise or dropped food on the floor. Also, there is a huge garage door that opens up to the pit and adds to the overall down home feel of the place. It’s a really fun feature.

PRICE: I’ve come to the conclusion that BBQ is trendy right now, and for that reason, it’s expensive. While I wasn’t really paying attention to price, I think our platter meal was around $20-25 and coupled with our add ons probably brought our meal closer to $40 or $50. But given the amount of food we got and that it was a ‘left-over’ snack later for the guys, I thought that was pretty reasonable for good bbq.

SERVICE: This is an order at the counter kind of joint, but the girl who took our order was super friendly and everyone else we encountered was also really helpful and friendly. We even spoke to the owner real quick and he was very appreciative of our visit and thanked us for coming.

Although on our next trip to Nashville we will probably have list of new places to try, I may have to find a way to sneak me some of those Alabama-Wings. They’re worth the trip alone, which is why I have no problem awarding this BBQ joint a fitting 4 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

Well another year has come and gone and Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a two years old!  This year our lives have changed dramatically in many ways, including the addition of a new family member.  We also may not have traveled as far as in the past, but Adam and I still love finding new ways to seek out culinary hot spots wherever our travels take us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We STILL love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

Signature Dish:

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1. Al’s Beef’s “Italian Beef Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

2. Kim & Scott’s Café Twist’s “Twist Your Own” – Chicago, IL

3. The Varsity’s “Chili Dog” – Atlanta, GA

 

Taste:

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1. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

 

Ambiance:

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1. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

2. Slow’s Bar-BQ – Detroit, MI

3. Lynn’s Paradise Café – Louisville, KY

 

Service:

1. Tufano’s Vernon Park TapJoe and his staff – Chicago, IL

2. KouzzinaJohn – Orlando, FL

3. Emeril’sSpencer – Orlando, FL

 

Price:

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1. The Varsity – Atlanta, GA

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. South Side Soda Shop – Goshen, IN

 

Overall Top 5:

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1. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

2. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL (A VERY close 2nd place)

3. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

4. Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

5. Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Top 5 Biggest Letdowns…Not worth the Hype:

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1. The Whale’s Rib – Deerfield Beach, FL

2. Brennan’s – New Orleans, LA

3. Camp Washington – Cincinnati, OH

4. Graeter’s – Cincinnati, OH

5. The Loveless Café – Nashville, TN

Best of the Rest…Honorable Mention:

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Most Fun Kim & Scott’s Café Twist – Chicago, IL

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Most Memorable Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

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Most Worth the Wait Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

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Most Outrageous Dish Bub’s Burgers – Carmel, IN

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Best Excursion Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Orlando. FL

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Best Sandwich (Burgers Included) The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

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Best Sweet Treat Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Friday, June 17, 2011 @ 02:06 PM

036After over a year of writing, I am sure it is no secret to most that I am a HUGE fan of barbecued meats, especially ribs; and I think this might be a trait I inherited from my father, because his favorite meal in the world just happens to be a certain place’s ribs…the place I’m featuring today. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something so enjoyable about the whole rib-eating experience for me. The mess, the sauce, the smoke….not quite sure, but I love it!

That being said, I have tried my fair share of ribs and some of my favorites vary wildly from one another. But one thing is for sure, I am definitely more of a vinegar based sauce fan… “Carolina” style if you will.  This isn’t to say I don’t still enjoy a plate of thickly sauced ribs, but they have to be from the right places…which leads us to our next stop…a place that boasts the phrase “The Ribs King” in its title. 

Montgomery Inn in Montgomery, OH started serving up its now famous ribs in 1951. Little did the owners Matula and Ted Gregory know then that their small family owned restaurant would later grow into three major locations around the Cincinnati area and that their sauce and ribs would find their way into grocery store shelves in 23 states.  Yet, that sauce placed on some ribs for a special one night that caused such a stir they decided they would need to become a menu staple.  Either way, Montgomery Inn has become so popularized in Cincinnati and beyond that many celebrities (sports stars especially) and even President Bush have made many a trip into the restaurant which is evident from the amount of memorabilia they have on the walls.

I grew up hearing about “Ribs King” thanks to my Dad…a native Cincinnatian who LOVES them! We even made a few stops throughout my childhood at a location when visiting where my Dad had grown up, however this was long before blogs existed or I even considered myself a foodie, so I admit I don’t really remember a heck of a lot about the experience.  I just know they are my father’s favorite to this day and since Adam and I were planning a trip to Cincinnati for his birthday, I knew we had to experience them again for Adam for the first time.

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My grandparents still live in the area and we figured since they live in a retirement community without a car, they might enjoy a visit to the Inn, especially since they don’t get to travel out much; and with both of them having lived in Cincinnati for many years, I knew they would enjoy the whole experience (they are BIG fans as well), and did they ever!

I had forewarned Adam that I knew the Montgomery Inn’s sauce is pretty heavy, not like the typical Carolina style sauces or strictly dry rubs he enjoys. I just wanted to prepare him so he could prepare his taste buds before heading in. However, then, I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can ask for your ribs to be left un-sauced (or sauce on the side), so you can determine how much or how little you want on your own (but if you do this, be prepared….you may get a dirty look from you waiter…., just sayin’). 

It didn’t take us long to settle in and place our order. All of us ordered the ribs with our own unique sides; Adam with Mac and Cheese (of course), while I went with their also famous Saratoga-style chips and a salad to start. Hey… this preggo chick was hungry!

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It wasn’t too long before our food arrived, and just before, we were asked if we wanted bibs…we obliged (I mean for picture purposes, you gotta….right!). Bibs in place….we dug in and my grandparents were like two kids in a candy store for sure.

Both Adam and I were glad we had asked for our sauce on the side. It gave us the chance to make sure we liked it before slathering if all over, which it turns out Adam did. He really liked it! I, on the other hand, wasn’t as huge of a fan as I remembered. Still, I kept lightly brushing it on for flavor, but was still glad to not have so much of it clouding the flavor of the ribs themselves….which were pretty tasty.

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Overall, we had a really wonderful evening and I know that my grandparents absolutely loved it.  My grandma, who can’t express herself very well anymore, told us on the way back that she had such a good time. You could tell she had worked out in her mind the whole dinner what she wanted to say; and to share that experience with them alone made the whole thing worth it…right up there with all the PCC culinary adventures combined!

SIGNATURE DISH: Although they have many other dishes on their menu, you can tell with a name like “The Ribs King” what Montgomery Inn is known for, and many people rave about them. So if you are in the Cincinnati area, you would be missing out if you passed up an opportunity to try these famous ribs.

TASTE: Here is where it is hard for me. I may be shunned by my family for my views, or the whole of Cincinnati for that matter…, but I have had better ribs.  However, I will say that if this was one of my only ribs experiences and I lived in the area, I might sing a different tune.  However, due to the wonderful hobby I have taken on with this blog (along with a husband who loves food more than I ever could), I have had the chance to try a plethora of ribs…, and I mean A LOT. So while I still enjoy Montgomery Inn for the nostalgia, I have to admit there are ribs around the country I love much better.  Although Adam might disagree, this is due largely to their sauce, which although has a slight twinge of vinegar, it is not enough for my taste.

AMBIANCE: The feeling of the restaurant is very cool, and when I say that I mean real swanky and upscale-sports-bar like.  If you are into sports you will love looking around and seeing all of the cool memorabilia they have lining the walls.  Adam was able to walk around the main restaurant and look at the back rooms. Also, the interior designer in me really liked the rich woods and low lighting, giving the Inn a very polished feel.

PRICE: At $19.99 for an order or $24.99 for a full slab, I felt their prices while a bit hefty for barbecued meat. However, their name in the area is so popular, I understand they can charge a little more and people will pay it. I just don’t think these particular cuts of pork were worth what we paid.

SERVICE: Our waiter was very attentive, however I found him to be a little on the snotty side.  As I mentioned above, I did get a lovely eye roll when I ordered my sauce on the side and you could tell he just wasn’t overly patient with my grandmother who took a little time to place her order.  I do not fault the Montgomery Inn for this, rather I just chalked it up to that dude’s personality or his attitude that evening.

So while these ribs are not my all-time favorite, they still fulfilled my need for a little ‘Que.  Also, I was so glad we were able to share that time with my grandparents, which elevated the whole experience and will be one I will live with the rest of my life.

Still, I need to look at just the culinary aspects…and with that, I give Montgomery Inn “The Ribs King” 2 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’….and thank them for the lovely evening.

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