Monday, October 19, 2009

Daddy Joe's Beach House BBQ & Grill

April: A shopping trip to the Outlet Stores in Gaffney, SC took us to Daddy Joe's Beach House off Exit 92 from I-85. There is a large billboard on the Interstate advertising this restaurant. It lived up to some of the hype. It is a very quirky restaurant with a beach house feel in the middle of the upstate. We started with sweet tea that was very good and a rib appetizer. There were 4 LARGE spare ribs served with a light sauce and heavy dry seasoning. They were perfectly smoked and very good. Our combo plate of smoked chicken and chopped pork was delivered with side of wedge fries and BBQ slaw. The chopped pork was surprisingly more the consistency of pulled pork, which I prefer. It had a good flavor and though it was served sauced, it was light and added to the pork flavor, not covering it up. It did not contain enough bark for my taste and was not otherwise outstanding. The chicken was covered in a thick and sweet sauce that did nothing for my taste buds. It tasted like grocery store bottled sauce and just overpowered the chicken. I was impressed by the fries. Normally not one to sacrifice calories on french fries, I let Lane pick this part of the combo. The wedge fries are crinkle cut and were very tasty. Our side of BBQ slaw was also very good. After my last few attempts at BBQ slaw, I am a little hesitant about ordering it. Too much vinegar can ruin the whole meal (see review for 521 BBQ). This slaw was great. The hushpuppies were nice and gritty with plenty of cornmeal taste and the extra side of smoked/grilled kielbasa was fantastic. I think the same dry rub spices used on the ribs went onto the sausage and made it really pop. We polished off this meal with a bowl of homemade apple cobbler and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was too full to eat much, but what I did taste was very good. Definitely homemade and definitely enough to share.

One last thing to mention, all of this food and drinks barely came to $30. I was impressed because Lane just kept ordering food and since I had not memorized the prices on the menu, I had no idea what it was going to come to. Good thing about BBQ is that it is affordable!

Lane: Spending much of my childhood on the beaches of Edisto Island and some of my early college years in Spartanburg, I really don’t know what to make of a “beach house” in Gaffney. Maybe something with faux driftwood painted in bright pinks and blues, alluding to some tropical Jimmy Buffet get-a-way coupled with dear heads and license plates paying homage to Gaffney’s land locked state as the city is nestled fundamentally between I-85 and I-26 was what I was expecting. Actually it was exactly what I got. I thought the Kielbasa “smoked sausage” was great. It was seasoned like the ribs were and was served with yellow mustard. It had a crunchy texture aided by the sea salt and crushed black pepper and the crusty bark of roasted casing. The links were very tasty and quite warm in comparison to the cue. I thought the ribs were better than the cue. The recipe described them a “St. Louis style” but truthfully these ribs were good, had a good outer bark a woody savory flavor, and a deep, spicy, smoky aroma that made me oh so hungry. These ribs were very rich and tasty, not too bitter, not too salty, and very, very savory. To me the pulled chicken and chopped BBQ was just ok. The color and texture of the meat was fine but the sauces on both were both overly spicy and sweet, which took away from the meat’s great smoky flavor. Unfortunately the overhead fan was on and a slight breeze cooled the cue and chicken so quickly that I only had a few bites that weren’t cold. I really liked the BBQ slaw and the wedge fries. I agree with April that this was a great place to eat.

Daddy Joe's Beach House BBQ & Grill
1400 West Floyd Baker Blvd Gaffney, SC 29341
(864) 487-RIBS
Distance from home: 45.86 miles

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maurice's Piggy Park

Lane: April and I like to consider ourselves pretty astute politically and often find ourselves left-to-center on most issues. So, I decided to pass up the topic of ‘Bessinger Politics’ focusing on the food and not the controversy*. I normally think that Maurice’s is just "OK". They opened the one here in Rock Hill within the last year or so and April and I visited it. Not really that outstanding (which was the same thing we said about Burk’s, another Rock Hill establishment). Now that we are doing the blog we decided to give it a second chance. The worst thing about this visit was somehow we spent nearly $20 for lunch for two. So it is pretty pricy. I got the Big Joe and it’s a half pound of cue and this was a substantial sandwich. It comes sauced with their “heirloom gourmet sauce” which is a classic Carolina gold. If you like it, you like it. I thought it was pretty darn good. The hash is very good also. It's hard to find good hash in this area.

*I don’t like bias and I love objectivity. I’m a journalistic purist at heart which is weird for a blogger I hear. If you want to discuss the politics of Maurice Bessinger, there are other venues for that. Go use our Google search because it pays us when you use it.

April: I choose not to ignore the politics of Maurice Bessinger's BBQ restaurants. I did avoid the new restaurant in Rock Hill for as long as I could, but Lane made me go. I had had Maurice's BBQ once as a kid at the place in Irmo, SC. I remember the chicken tenders being very good but I was kid and what kid doesn't like chicken tenders? When we finally tried the food here in Rock Hill, I was not impressed with the BBQ. It was too heavily sauced in that terrible heavy mustard sauce that he peddles around the globe. I did like the hash and rice. In fact, it was some of the best hash I have had. On our second trip, I pointed out that we really shouldn't include the Rock Hill Maurice's in our review because this location does not have a smoker. The meat is delivered from the Columbia restaurant and lord only knows how old it is. It may even be frozen at some point. We just chalked it up to adding it to the blog in the same way that we review restaurants outside of the 100 mile radius. I am glad to say that the chicken tenders are still just as good as I remember them being and the hash is worthy. I will warn that this place is on the expensive side. We have not given reviews of prices on restaurants because they are all for the most part very affordable. This is one of the exceptions. You also have to put up with a table full of pro-white supremacy - the South will rise again literature that is over to the side of the restaurant. It is easily avoidable, but it still makes me angry. I hate noting more than white hate.
My overall review is that the food is not good enough to drag me back and have to overlook the bad politics.

Maurice’s Piggy Park
2391 Dave Lyle Blvd. Rock Hill, SC 29730
(803) 366-4227
Distance from home: 5.74 miles

Mac's Speed Shop

Lane: About a month or two ago, April and I got Dish Network because our local cable company, Comporium, dropped our favorite channels during the big conversion. So, we go from having basic cable to hundreds of channels and programming we have never seen. One of the best programs we were missing was Sons of Anarchy on FX. Now we are hooked and it is what’s “top of our mind” when it comes to biker culture. Yeah I know, completely unrealistic, but Mac’s does have a small sign on the outside by the parking lot: “No patches, no colors.” So, maybe we are not far off. Mac’s Speed Shop is pretty bad assed but I get the sense that most of the clientele are not 1% ers (the outlaw bikers) but instead are just everyday Janes and Joes looking for some great grub. I had an awesome time and enjoyed everything except the banana pudding. (I’ve been told by our readers that I talk a lot about ‘nanner puddin’) It was just mediocre. The ribs were great. The pulled pork was pretty fresh and flavorful; the type that is good with or without sauce, and the chicken was juicy and savory. But I was not a big fan of the marinated steak. Just was not feeling it for some reason. The Mac at Mac’s was great. Cheesy and gooey! The collard greens were excellent. I enjoyed it and will come back to eat when I am next in this area.

April: Mac's Speed Shop was recommended to us by more than one person from the Charlotte area. On the way to see a show at the Blumenthal, we decided to check it out. Excellent recommendation! The place was super busy on a Saturday at lunch time, especially with college football fans. We got a seat at the bar with no problem and immediately ordered some good beer and large bowl of Brunswick Stew. This is one of the few places in all of our travels thus far that has Brunswick Stew closest to how I make it. Rich with meat and tomatoes and spices, it was great. Lane and I decided to split one of thier combo plates that includes "A Little Bit of Everything." That is exactly what it is called on the menu. Ribs, pulled pork, 1/2 a chicken, AND beef brisket, plus two sides, and bread. The ribs were sweet, smokey, and messy. The pulled pork was heavy with flavor and did not need any sauce. The beef brisket was more like marinated steak and less like pressed brisket. I really enjoyed the beef and traded Lane that for the roast chicken. I was amazed at the shear amount of food that we got for such a good price. The collard greens and macaroni and cheese were delicious. While I could not fathom putting anything else down my gullet, Lane ordered the banana pudding. The picture of him looking very excited about digging into it was taken BEFORE he tried the first bite. Big disappointment. It was vanilla flavored pudding with two slices of banana and whipped cream. Not even pretend homemade. My suggestion is to enjoy a second beer from their fantastic selection (both draft and bottle) and pass on the dessert.

Mac’s Speed Shop South End 2511 South Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 522-6227
Distance from home: 22.90 miles

Lee’s Barbecue

A little while ago I had the great opportunity to visit Lake Greenwood with my fraternity brothers (Tau Kappa Epsilon), Brian, D.J., Greg, Eric, and Malcolm for a leadership retreat weekend. Man, did we have a good time hanging around, telling stories, shooting air-soft pellets at each other, and getting some actual work done. While I unfortunately had to leave early, I insisted that we all go out to Lee’s first while we were all together and that was a great decision (despite some other alcohol fueled ones made by the fellas later)! My wife is from Greenwood and when she describes the kind of Carolina cue she was raised on, it’s Lee’s. Lee’s has the distinction of being one of the few buffet BBQ restaurants in the Upstate with an amazing array of delectable sides and desserts. The cue varies from time to time. The quality of meat is always strong but the degree to which it is cooked (sometimes underdone, sometimes overdone) is sometimes touch-and-go. BUT, their chicken tenders are always amazing! Their banana pudding is great but this particular visit was covered by sliced fresh strawberries, so it was camouflaged. Don’t worry, after a second or two I found it! The sauces are not spectacular and cover the broad spectrum of tastes (hot, spicy, mild, Lexington, Carolina Gold, sweet, etc.). The food is always good and has just the right balance of salty and savory with sweet and bitter (mostly in the peppery sauces you would add to the delicious veggies they offer) all of which translates to a great dinning experience. The guys thought so too. Oh, by the way, the place is called Lee's and sure enough there is a framed picture of Robert E. Lee on the wall.

Lee’s Barbecue Greenwood, SC
16994 Highway 72 W
Waterloo, SC 29384
(864) 998-3411
Distance from home: 86.64 miles

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbeque

April: Upon recommendation from Summer Hanna, we visited Prissy Polly's while visiting Kernersville, NC last weekend. The restaurant is like a country kitchen and it is seat yourself. They offer both types of North Carolina BBQ, Eastern and Lexington style. I chose the plate of Lexington style due to my preference of the vinegar and spices along with a healthy batch of collard greens and brunswick stew. The meal deal also included banana pudding that was well worth the money and the caloric intake! The BBQ was pulled pork and well seasoned. My only complaint is that there was almost too much of the vinegar sauce added. The pork was mushy and very wet. Towards the very last bite, it was so vinegary, I couldn't finish it. Shameful, I know, but very unpalatable. The brunswick stew, collards, and hushpuppies were all very good as was the aforementioned banana pudding. Overall the food was good, but I think next time I will ask for the Eastern style q.

Lane: I purchased the BBQ and One Rib Combo with a sweet tea. The rib was very good. The outer bark was a dark mahogany color with a savory smokey flavor. This was a very good rib. The down side to the BBQ was the texture and consistency. It was a little too fatty for what I like. The cue was sweet and had a great dark chocolate color and a good smokey taste. The Lexington Style sauce has a beautiful burgundy color, a peppery smell, and a spicy bite. It complimented the meat very well. I thoroughly enjoyed the ring style hushpuppies. They have awesome 'nanner puddin' too. Be sure to check that out! The decor of Prissy Polly's is a homespun and quirky representation of southern culture. Lots of signs for John Deere Tractors, the Andy Griffith Show, Hank Williams Sr., and memorials for our soldiers abroad scatter the walls. They offer live Bluegrass and other types of music and a little handmade sign over the clearing for equipment setup reads, "No ASCAP or BMI Musicians Allowed." Here's to the independent artists of Kernersville, NC.
Prissy Polly's Pig Pickin' Barbeque
729 Highway 66 South Kernersville, NC 27284
(336) 993-5045
Distance from home: 110.75 miles