Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Better'n Whitt's (part the first)

Read this blog long enough and you'll learn two things: 1) I love me some barbeque (meaning slow-smoked pork), and 2) Whitt's barbeque sucks. (Whitt's does b'iness outta several locations in and 'round Nashville, which is kinda surprising because, well, it sucks.)

Last year, I was challenged by a guy named Mark Whitt to identify barbeque joints that turn out better 'que than Whitt's. I'm calling that dude's bluff and I'm starting a new feature on AMGE, "Better'n Whitt's," which will allow me to tell my loyal readers about barbeque joints serving smoked pork that's better than the -- alleged -- smoked pork that's served at Whitt's.

First up, Martin's BBQ in Nolensville, Tennessee ...

First of all, the "Life & Food" section in today's Tennessean tells us that Bon Appétit's July magazine has picked Martin's as one of the "Top Ten New Barbeque Restaurants" in America.

Martin's ain't a "new" restaurant. Indeed, there's been a link to Martin' 'que-blog on AMGE from the get-go ... back in 2007. (Looks like Bon Appétit needs better fact-checkers, n'est-ce pas?)

That said, I visited Martin's Bar-B-Que on July 4 -- mainly 'cause I figured dining on a quintessentially American food like pulled-pork 'que would be a perfect way to celebrate our nation's independence. I picked up a pound o' 'que, a pint o' slaw, and a pint o' green beans. I'll tell you 'bout the 'que first.

Martin's claims that its meat is cooked for "upwards of 22 hours." I believe 'em. The pulled pork I had on Saturday was so tender, it was literally melting in my mouth. And -- and this is a mighty important and -- each and every little bit of Martin's 'que was infused with a distinct smokey flavor. Tain't no way anyone can say that about Whitt's 'que!

In addition, Martin's pulled-pork had several big pieces of rind -- that is, pieces of the shoulder's skin -- in it. I've often used the amount of rind present in a barbeque joint's pulled-pork as a mark of the joint in question's quality. After all, the salted, seasoned rind is the most flavorful part of a smoked piece of meat, right?! I've had dozens of sandwiches from Whitt's during the past 20 years, and I can't remember finding a piece of rind in a single one of 'em.

Here's a pic of the sammich I made with my Martin's 'que:

Take note of that colorful slaw. Martin's slaw is made with fresh chopped cabbage, celery, red onions and mayo. It was a little bit milky, but that's just how my Granny used to make it. Also, you'll see a container of green beans in the above pic. Take note that the rim of the container of green beans is red. That's 'cause Martin's green beans are seasoned with pulled pork and a lot of the restaurant's spicy barbeque sauce. They're real good, lemme tell you, and might just be my favorite restaurant green beans.

If you like good barbeque, you need to get out to Martin's one of these days ...

Be sure to tell 'em Joltin' Django sent you!


Chris said...

I haven't eaten at Martin's so I can't speak about them. However, I can verify that Whitt's BBQ is to be avoided if at all possible. Just too dry. It's fast food BBQ. It's like getting a hamburger at McDonalds.

MusicCityMissy said...

I love this place of course it helps that he's a fellow Mississippian, it's near me and he makes great tamales like I grew up with. In fact, everything Patrick makes is pretty darn good. Now I am not a chicken fan but I love their smoked chicken. I agree on the pork - has the 'burnt' edges. Ribs are great, brisket is good maybe not the best but then again, I'm not a real big brisket fan. The redneck taco is killer. The corn cake it's on is one of the best I've ever had. Brunswick stew is great. Fries may be the best in town - I can make a meal on the fries. Not sure what I am leaving out but it's all good.