First a brief update on my arthroscopic knee surgery. I am scheduled for 1 PM PST on Friday 18th January. I will have Monday off for the Martin Luther King Holiday, giving me an extra day to recover. If all goes well, I should be back to work on Tuesday and able to begin some rehab to regain mobility and strength in the knee and leg, and get back to normal.
In my Memphis Vacation entry, I discussed the delicious subject of barbeque. I finally had an opportunity to sample some local (to Salem) fare yesterday, and thought I’d give you an update on how Pacific Northwesterners do “Q.” First, you have to figure that “Q” would be an imported product to this area. It rains too much to keep a smoky, pit fire going outdoors! Second, this place advertises itself as serving “Texas Style Barbeque,” which ain't Memphis style bbq, so I knew right away it would be “good, but not quite right.” I was not disappointed.
Let me first say I am no food critic. My palate is not sophisticated enough to detect “subtle notes” of delicate spices and flavors. But, like most of you, I know what’s good and what isn’t. Knowing that this was an experimental visit, I ordered a standard sampling lunch: beef brisket and pulled pork, “barbeque” beans, and tater salad (no, not that "Tater Salad"). I sampled their “mild,” “sweet,” and “hot” sauces. Since the tea was (as I expected) not “sweet tea,” I opted for Barq’s root beer.
Texas BBQ is typically served without sauce, claiming the meat is so good it should stand on it’s own with nothing to hide. The beef brisket was good; tender, lean, and well-cooked (I hate raw meat!). But, without sauce, it was a little bland. It truly had “nothing to hide!” I expected more of a smoky-wood flavor. Maybe the fire went out. ;^) The pulled pork was lean and tasty, served with a nicely done sauce, presumably their “mild” sauce, and was very good, if just a tad sweet. The “sweet” sauce really was, and would have gone great on the beans! The “hot” sauce was less hot that I expected, but just right for me! I like a little heat without overpowering the food. So many “hot” sauces simply cauterize your taste buds with the first bite, and you can’t taste anything for three days.
The beans were hot, indeed, and better matched the description of “hot” in the paragraph above. But for their softness, they could have been coffee beans, and I wouldn’t have noticed under that sauce. I detected something with an edge to it, perhaps jalapeno. I went easy on them the rest of lunch.
The tater salad was also not what I expected. You’d have to let me watch you make it on-site to convince me it wasn’t "canned." I expect tater salad to be chunky, sometimes even not mixed all that well. Something that tells me it was work to prepare. This was more like tater salad paste, with a few hunks of potato thrown in. Too much vinegar, or maybe just pickle, gave it an overpowering tang. I’m more partial to mayo tater salad, with lots of boiled egg, so I’m kinda hard to please anyway. Corky's “twice-baked” tater salad is good!
All in all, a good lunch, a reasonable value (a little more than $10), and passable fare for this part of the country!