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Archive for August, 2010

Is it curtains for Walt’s?

Great. Soon after I post my love for Walt’s Hitching Post, boom! It looks like the joint is at best in big trouble, and more likely, gone for good.

“The little barbecue joint that the late Bill H. Melton purchased in May 1958, served its last meal Sunday night. Regulars say Walt’s customers have included everyone from political notables to everyday folks from the neighborhood.”

Read the rest here.

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Gasp! What am I going to do now?

There I am, walking through Lowe’s – the mega-hardware store. This is the sort of place I go to for moth traps, extension cords, and fungicide.  It’s precisely the sort of place that I’ve traditionally mocked for having those giant, Cylon-crafted barbecues that are too big, cost too much, burn your food, and look hideous sitting on your back deck.

When Costco started carrying the Big Green Egg, THAT I sort of understood. At least Costco requires a membership, and while Costco is certainly a super-mega-mart, it’s also the sort of place that carries weird stuff.  Like, salad bowls shaped like tiger heads or party centerpieces made from Kirkland brand sweet potato chips.

But Lowes? No way! Still, there it was … a Bayou Classic ceramic cooker, for $699.  

I still think the Kamado I use is bigger and nicer looking than either of the other two.  But I have to say, the Bayou is a notch more attractive than the BGE.  And at least at Lowe’s when you buy the thing, you get to take it  home, vs. waiting a year for Kamado to deliver.

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Look for the sign on the sidewalk, or you might not find the place.

I still don’t understand why I can drive through ten Seattle ZIP codes and not see so much as a hot dog stand, but Columbia City gets two renowned BBQ spots roughly across the street from each other.

Just around the corner from Jones’ BBQ In Columbia City, which I reviewed a few weeks back, is another  spot that has been raved about in the local media: Roy’s Barbecue.  

I decided to do a BBQ review today as part of what has become a family tradition of mine (and by that I mean, something I do when the family isn’t around.)

My first bit of advice: Don’t look for a guy named Roy.  I spoke to current proprietor who bought Roy’s from the original Roy a number of years ago.  And it wasn’t just the name he bought. Apparently the original Roy came up with the recipe for the sauce and the hilarious décor, which includes a stuffed owl, an Elvis clock, a monkey-face mask, PEZ dispensers, a lucky horseshoe over a lusty postcard, and a whole lot more.  The current proprietor said his big contribution was to remove a lot of the salt from the original recipe for the sauce, which still tasted pretty darned salty to me.

Second, don’t blink or you’ll miss Roy’s.  It’s a sliver of space tucked next to a laundromat, and if it weren’t for the sign sitting on the sidewalk, you could easily miss it.

And finally, I learned if you dine in, you get cold slaw or potato salad. If you get the food to go, you don’t unless you order it.    But see above.  I’m not sure there’s room for more than 8 or so diners in there.

I ordered (of course) their pulled pork sandwich.  It looked great, and the buns are baked fresh at the bakery just down the block.  I ordered the sandwich because Bob the Butcher, who works down the street, too, said I absolutely had to get a sandwich there. Who questions a butcher?

 So how was it? Seattle Magazine claimed their pulled pork was ‘succulent.’  Well, in a back-handed way, that’s right.  It was succulent. As in, it was really moist.  As in mushy, like old cereal that’s been sitting in milk.  I’m sure Roy’s has its good days, but today, my pork was soft and had a repellant texture.

The sauce was really good. But not a lot better than Jones’.  So, I spent a few moments digging the pork out from under the sauce to see if I could get at the flavor of the pork.  Maybe I just couldn’t get over the mushy-ness of it all, but I found that the pork was pretty much tasteless.  I just don’t think you can take a pile of mushy meat, put it under a spoonful of sauce — even really good sauce — and call it great.  I missed a strong flavor of rub, I like a little bark in my pulled pork, and I definitely like for my meat to have some texture.  Soft pulled pork is great. But this was baby food soft.

Bottom line: I’m going to have to give Jones’ BBQ an easy win on the better BBQ in Columbia City. Sorry guy-who-is-not-Roy.   That said, I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t just a bad batch.  Given how much people like Roy’s, I may have to just give it another try one of these days.

(Details, if you’re the type who has to taste for yourself: 4903½ Rainier Ave. S.  206-723-7697)

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