Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Courtney's BBQ Truck, Bi Lo Parking Lot

April: One of the first restaurants that we reviewed after starting this blog was Courtney's BBQ out of Clover, SC (see June 2, 2009 post). It is a great family owned establishment about 20 minutes from home and serves up some very good BBQ. As Lane and I headed to the grocery store after seeing the new "Sherlock Holmes" movie this week, we saw a large red food truck in the Bi-Lo Shopping Center parking lot. Courtney's BBQ had come to us! We went over to check out the offering. Along with the bright red truck, a few new menu items caught my attention. I immediately ordered the Beef Brisket Philly. Seeing as how the recent discovery of BBQ tacos was a palatable success, I thought I might try the Philly sandwich. It was savory and delicious. I am normally not a beef brisket fan as I prefer to stick with straight pork when it comes to BBQ, but this stuff was so good I might be more willing to try it in the future. The beef was stacked high on the bun and topped by lots of sauteed peppers in a variety of colors. The beef had been sauced but whatever it was was good - very savory, salty, and rich which complimented the sweet peppers very well. The bun was soggy as it was just a sandwich roll but I have learned not to expect Philly quality bread this far south!
We met Matt behind the window of this bright red truck. Turns out he has actually read our blog! Someone who is not a family member or close friend. We were shocked and so very pleased. Seems that Courtney's in Clover now has three smokers going full blast so I should be able to smell the smoke all the way down the road to my house almost! He also admitted that the BBQ Philly sandwich was his creation and new addition to the menu. He was also nice enough to let us sample a rib. This thing was awesome. They now smoke the ribs before throwing them on the grill. This made the meat have one very pronounced smoke ring and truly smokey taste. Still not a huge fan of the sauce they use but the smokey flavor now adds a whole new dimension. So huge, I can overlook the sauce.
Next time you are going past the Bi-Lo on Cherry Road, stop in and look for the red Courtney's truck. Bring your cash and order up some great food!

Lane: I found the Brunswick Stew to be salty and smoky with plenty of fresh vegetables but not spicy enough for my tastes. I really enjoyed the BBQ sandwich topped with the red slaw. The BBQ was savory and had just the slightest bit of tanginess and spice so that it didn't need any sauce. The Smoked Brisket Philly Cheesesteak wasn't too bad, it's just that I am not a huge fan of Cheese steak and BBQ sauce. This was a wonderful surprise to find in the Bi Lo parking lot. And it should be noted that Courtney's gives a percentage of the sales to the Bi Lo charities (but they did not specify how much).

Courtney's Barbeque Truck, Bi-Lo on Cherry Road
2186 Cherry Road Rock Hill, SC 29732

Distance from home: 2.92 miles

Friday, December 18, 2009


Lane: My initial reaction to BATS BBQ: "It's pretty cool". BATS is a brand new and stylish restaurant with pictures of smoke houses from across the globe. Decorated in black and red, the colors are known to make people hungry. That worked on me very well. The best entrees are the Stuffed Tacos. If there is anything these guys make that could be considered a "signature dish" it would be the "Cajunized" Chicken and Sausage Stuffed Tacos, which were excellent. The balance of BATS' Rub Sauce with the pico-de gallo's tanginess complements the smoky chicken and sausage. Now the half rack Baby Backs I DID NOT enjoy. They were a little overdone, BUT after my second rib, the next bite was much juicier and meaty. The ribs were complimented much like the tacos were by the Rub Sauce. The pulled chicken is very juicy and was complimented by BATS' Cajun Sweet sauce. I'm not a big fan of sweet potatoes but their Sweet Potato Fries are unique (still sweet but also fried which made the difference for me). My least favorite was the pulled pork. It just seemed OK... I was more impressed with the tacos which compared to the pulled pork left the pork uninspired. The Sweet tea was very good by the way. (I've been told the fried pickles are very good and next time I look forward to enjoying them.
April: If someone had told me that a BBQ taco was something I should try, I would have laughed and gagged a little at the same time. Something about the thought of those two tastes did nothing to encourage me. Oh how wrong I was. Bats BBQ serves up a pulled pork taco and a chicken and sausage taco. Both are excellent. Forget the "Mexican taste" that you might associate with tacos. They are simply the vehicle to get the delicious meat and pico de gallo to your mouth. Absolutely delicious. The pico is housemade and should be bottled and sold separately. It is THAT good! I enjoyed the ribs. They had a good savory dry rub and were well smoked. The ribs were a good basic taste that went well with the sauces, particularly the Rub Sauce. The pulled pork was another good basic taste. The meat was not overly smokey tasting and did not include a lot of bark, but had a good flavor. The Cajun Sweet sauce tasted the best with the pork. I particularly liked the smoked chicken that was served. Cut into large hunks, it was all white breast meat that had a great flavor all by itself. Try it with the Rib Sauce. It has just the right amount of spice to really highten the taste. I found the sweet sauce too sweet with the chicken.
The sweet potato fries are handcut and really, really good. Just the right amount of sweet and salty. If the fried pickles are even half as good as I hear they are and compared to the fries, I can't wait to try them! The best part about the eating in experience at Bats are the lovely photos on the wall of smokehouses from all over the world AND the fact that any tips left on the tables are donated to St. Vincent and St. Paul Society serving the needy in York County. Go try the food and be sure to leave a few bills on the table.

BATS BBQ 1912 Mount Gallant Road #108 Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 980-BATS
Total Distance from home: 3.92 miles

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Famous Dave's Legendary Pit BBQue

April:On our recent vacation to bourbon country in Kentucky, we stopped en route in Knoxville, TN to enjoy some barbeque at Famous Dave's. It is a franchise restaurant chain with many locations. My meal consisted of the Brunswick stew Appetizer and Pulled Pork BBQ Style pulled / chopped. The Brunswick Stew had a salty taste with a delicious smell of fresh ingredients. It was very good for chicken stew but not Brunswick. It had a very light broth, large chunks of veggies (carrots, peas, beans corn and tomatoes), and potatoes. A very hardy and warm stew that was very salty and smokey but that was all for the flavor. The pulled pork was excellent. It had a very savory flavor, but not overly smokey. The taste overall was excellent. Appearance wise the plate came w/ sauce - sweet & zesty style - which in my book is NOT GOOD served on white bread toast which was very good- the barbecue was dry but not dried out. Be sure to ask for it naked - no sauce. It is best to taste it with all the other sauces Famous Dave has to offer. My favorites with the pulled pork were the “Devil’s Spit” and Texas Pit sauces – or by itself. My side item was Dave's Cheesy Mac and Cheese. This was an especially creamy and saucy macaroni and cheese concoction and it had halepenjos in it. The flavor was especially salty and spicy with the added peppers. A very interesting addition. I liked it in the small side dish. A larger serving would have been difficult to finish.

Lane: The Kielbasa Smokey Link and the 1/3 of Baby Back Ribs The Kielbasa smokey links had an amazing woody taste with a delicious flavor. They were plump and complimented not only by the standard mustard they serve it with but more importantly by the “Georgia Mustard,” a Famous Dave’s specialty. The baby back ribs had a great outer bark and were very savory with just the right blend of saltiness. These ribs were sweet and very smokey. The bitterness of the smoke balanced the other tastes quite well. The wood smoke really made the difference. The appearance was very dark and beautiful while the meat was well marbled. They were a good blend of fatty and lean protien. I'm not usually a big fan of baby backs but this 1/3 rack was fall off the bone smokey deliciousness. I had the coleslaw, mashed sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob as my sides. Each entrĂ©e comes with a cornbread muffin as a side also. The cornbread muffin was fantastic and sweet. The sweetness of the cornbread made the sweet potatoes pale in comparison. The coleslaw was nothing to write home about (or blog about as the case may be.)
As we were paying the bill after our fine meal, the restaurant manager came over to the table. Doug Coulter introduced himself, took a seat next to us, and started chatting. He talked with us for over half an hour and even treated us to dessert. The bread pudding was out of this world! It had a flan like consistency but was not eggy. Instead of a hard sauce made with bourbon, they served it with a praline sauce. This sauce made this dessert! Make sure you leave room for this dessert after your next meal at Dave's.

Famous Dave's Legendary Pit BBQue 208 Advantage Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922 (865) 694-9990
Distance from home: 264 miles