Saturday, July 05, 2008

Whitt's still sucks!

If you live in Nashville and you want good barbeque -- i.e., slow-smoked pork shoulder -- you're pretty much SOL.

Now, don't get me wrong ... Nashville has some damn-fine BBQ joints (Mary's, Neely's, Hog Heaven, Pop's). But Nashville ain't a city in which you can find a quality BBQ restaurant on nearly every corner like, say, Memphis or Kansas City. You really have to work your way round Nashville to hit the best BBQ joints.

That said, if you're in Nashville and you're just dying for some barbeque, you don't have to go without. You can flat find one particular BBQ restaurant on a lot of corners in Music City. Unfortunately, the restaurant in question - Whitt's BBQ - happens to be one of the worst purveyors of pork on the Southern - nay, the American - barbeque scene.

A lot of folks in Nashville eat at Whitt's on a regular basis (I work with some of 'em). I know they do so because they don't have a lot of options when it comes to quality smoked pork. I can forgive 'em for that. However, I sometimes cross paths with a gal or guy who wants to tell me that Whitt's serves the "best" barbeque they've ever had; and I want to just strangle 'em. Such happened ce soir.

There is indeed no rest for the wicked. I not only had to work on Friday the Fourth, I had to work on the day after. Even though I was dead-ass tired when I arrived home this e'ning, I went to my next-door neighbor's Independence Day cookout.

My neighbor/good buddy was placing racks of pork ribs on his charcoal grill when I arrived. I dressed-up a hot dog and grabbed me a chair by the pool. Some of the folks who were lounging on pool-chairs nearby started talking about barbeque (provoked, I guess, by what my neighbor was cooking on his grill).

As I was taking a big bite out of a big hot dog, I overheard a young lass who was participating in the barbeque discussion say, and this is a di-rect quote, "I've never had BBQ better than Whitt's." I almost choked on that bite of hot dog.

Since I wasn't introduced to Ms. I Love Whitt's, and I since I wasn't involved in her conversation, I bit my tongue - after hard-swallowing my bite o' hot dog - and resisted the urge to give her a Good BBQ-schooling. Upon further reflection, I now wish that I'd told her to check out some of the anti-Whitt's musings I've posted here at AMGE. Like this'n from last October:

I was chagrined - nay, I was pissed - to learn that Whitt's Barbeque was chosen as Nashville's "best" BBQ restaurant [in the Nashville Scene's "Best of Nashville" contest] for the 18th straight year. I posted this last year when Whitt's won for the 17th time; and I just might post it every year until folks in Nashville wise up and recognize that a pile of pork from Whitt's ain't fit to feed to dogs (as my late Granddaddy Hobbs used to say):

"I have a newsflash for the folks who participated in the Nashville Scene's 'Best of Nashville' contest: Whitt's is NOT the best barbecue restaurant in Nashville. The fact that this sad excuse for a restaurant has been chosen as the best in its particular category for over fifteen freakin' years reveals much about the taste(s) of those who read the Scene.

"Whitt's is to barbecue what McDonald's is to hamburgers. That is, Whitt's is cheap and will fill you up in a pinch, but any serious BBQ-eater will tell you that the pork shoulder served there is too dry and mealy to be considered first-class. Furthermore, why is it that in all the years Whitt's has been doing business in Middle Tennessee, the folks there have yet to develop a passable BBQ sauce? Could it be that the owners and operators of Whitt's are reluctant to do away with their one and only condiment, which is 95 percent straight cider vinegar, because it's the only thing keeping customers from choking to death?

"Local barbecue aficionados are well aware that Nashville's best barbecue joints, i.e., Neely's, Pop's, Mary's, and Hog Heaven, aren't chain restaurants, and they're not located in Hillsboro Village, Green Hills, SoBro, or the 'District.' (I hate to pass judgement, but I'd be willing to bet a dollar to anyone's dime that a majority of the individuals who took the time to partipate in the 'Best of Nashville' contest head to, well, Hillsboro Village, Green Hills, and downtown to eat out.)

"Nashville's sidestreets and backroads are filled with restaurants dishing out unique and well-crafted meals. Far too few of these restaurants made their way into the Scene's 'Best of ...' issue.

"Pretty sad, if you ask me."


Brian Stanley said...

I have a customer that I have to meet once a week on West End. I always arange the meetings close to noon so I can go to HOg Heaven. It is my favorite place for bbq.

Anonymous said...

whitts is mafia owned you need to look out for yourself

Anonymous said...

I would like to invite you down to Decatur, Alabama and show you how we cook bbq "in the South". Every section of the country seems to be different. We still cook on pits with live hickory coals. Perhaps you would like come down and see us. Bring some bbq that you think is good. Let's compare.

Mark H. Whitt
Whitts Barbecue

Anonymous said...

There in not a whitts downtown , Hillsboro Village or Green Hills . The sauce has 0 cider , and it needs 0 " ketchup" or as you claim to be bbq sauce to hide the hickory smoke taste , thats like putting a1 on a steak.

Joltin' Django said...

There in not a whitts downtown , Hillsboro Village or Green Hills . The sauce has 0 cider , and it needs 0 " ketchup" or as you claim to be bbq sauce to hide the hickory smoke taste , thats like putting a1 on a steak.

1. Where did I say that Whitt's is located downtown, in Hillsboro Village and in Green Hills? I was making the point that the hipster doofi who respond to the Nashville Scene's inquiries need to expand their culinary horizons beyond those areas of town.

2. If you think Whitt's "sauce" doesn't have cider vinegar in it, well, you don't have a very discerning tongue.

3. I appreciate that one need not put sauce on fine pulled pork. Whitt's is NOT fine pulled pork. The point I was making was the fact that one needs to drown Whitt's meat in that so-called sauce they serve to choke their sh** down.

So there.