A week ago I grabbed dinner at Blowin Smoke on HWY113.
Gotta say, pretty solid. A few misses, but some great hits.
The menu is vast; probably a bit too vast. I can see a lot of the non-specialties falling by the wayside. Both my wife and I had the same thing, the "Chief." It was basically a BBQ sampler platter. As much as I was intrigued by many of the sandwiches, I figured a little bit of the big ones would give me a feel for the restaurant.
That was a good decision.
Now, this is unabashedly KC style BBQ. So you get the sweeter, tomato-y sauce. This isn't a bad thing. And they bring it to you on the side so if you wish to skip it, you can. And thankfully they don't slather it on everything before it gets heated, resulting in that kind of bitter burned sugar flavor a lot of chain BBQ hits you with. The sauce was good, not too sweet. I'm not always a sauce guy but when in KC, do as the KCians, right?
The Chief came with a bit of chopped pork shoulder, three ribs, a few hunks of sausage, brisket, and two sides. It sounds like a lot, and it was, but it wasn't an insurmountable mountain of food.
The clear winners on this plate were the pork products. The ribs were delicious - tender, juicy, and very smoky. Not too heavily seasoned, but they had a nice bit of smoke tang. The meat pulled away from the bone nicely, but still had some texture. The pork shoulder had a similar, slightly meatier flavor, and had lovely bits of caramelized pork fat on it. Wasn't quite as epic as the ribs, but really tasty, and especially so with the sauce.
The sausage was surprisingly good as well. Not quite as well-rounded as the main pork, but surprisingly it had a nice bit of texture to it. So often smoked sausage has the sort of homogenous hotdoggy feel to it, but there was clearly a coarse grind going on here. It was almost crumbly, in a way, although it wasn't dry. Tasty, too. Not sure if I'd make a whole meal of this, but it was a nice addition.
The brisket was...well, I've had worse brisket, but I've had better. It was a little bit on the dry side. Nicely seasoned, nicely smoked, but it didn't quite have the resillience and unctiousness I expect from a good, moist hunk of slow smoked brisket, and the sweet sauce didn't have enough acid to stand up to the beef. Not bad, but not great, probably made less impressive in comparison to the ribs.
The sides were a little weak too. The cole slaw was one-note - I'm pretty sure someone forgot to put anything in the dressing but mayonnaise - and while the baked beans had some nice hunks of smoked pork mixed in and some good flavor, the texture was a bit thick and kind of mealy, as though the beans had been overstewed (which is likely what happened). I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on the beans, at least.
The place was clean, service was snappy (I swear they had about two servers per table. First time I've ever been to a slightly overstaffed restaurant), and while the dining room was busy, it seems even more popular for carryout - the line for carryout meat was out the door by the time we left.
So a few minor missteps, which I either hope they rectify or I'll probably just ignore, but the ribs and pork shoulder alone are worth the trip.
Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
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