So today I found myself at Smokey's BBQ Shack. The building was small and looked mostly homemade, but it wasn't exactly a shack. Wes, Dan and I drove farther than usual slogged through the muddy parking lot and waited in line for what I can only describe as brain-meltingly good ribs and shredded pork smothered with sauce from a mysterious red bottle. The ribs were falling off the bone and had the great flavor combination of spice, meat and wood smoke. The smoke makes all the difference.
The shredded pork was equally flavorful although it did pale in comparison to the ribs. But really, what wouldn't? It did have the advantage of being cooked dry, allowing me to drown it in as much sauce as I wanted, which is as it turns out a fair amount of sauce.
The sides were ok, I got fried okra and baked beans. The okra was a little flavorless, but ok. The baked beans were really interesting though. Rather than the standard beans and bacon it was a melange of different kinds of beans and onions. It was nice to see something different, sadly, I didn't love it. Maybe it's because of the lima beans but most likely it was just that meat overpowered everything else.
It's got to be difficult trying to scrape together side dishes at a BBQ joint. You have to have them, but no one is actually there for them. Why would they? I mean I guess it's possible that a BBQ joint could make collard greens compelling enough to compete with brisket, but it seems incredibly unlikely. So do they serve them so we don't feel bad about eating massive quantities of meat? or is it that the BBQ experience just isn't complete without the little paper baskets of fried or boiled veggies.
I think for me it's the guilt. I would never go to a restaurant and just order protein. Even if I have no intention of eating the vegetables they must be on the plate. It's sort of shocking how much guilt rules what I order. I spend countless hours looking up nutritional info on places I like to eat, picking out the best menu combinations or at least the ones that make me feel best about myself. I bargain, rationalize and compromise all to feel ever so slightly better about myself at the end of the day. Until I started this blog I never really though about how much I enjoyed eating out. (Of course since this blog is the ultimate rationalization, that might explain my sudden surge in guilt-free meals. )
Hopefully as I cut back on junky meals I'll be able to enjoy the times I do eat out more.