I consider myself a BBQ aficionado. My credibility on the topic may be lessened in some people's eyes by the fact that I haven't been to most of the country's BBQ hotbeds (North Carolina being the lone exception), but I'd like to think I can tell when I'm eating good BBQ. Is the meat tender, flavorful, and juicy? These principles are universal in meat cooking and if they are missing, you can tell.
I've been to Q Fanatic a handful of times, but not since last spring. In that time, I've made a point of trying as many other local BBQ joints as I could: Big Daddy's, Bayport, Rooster's, and Ted Cook's come to mind. All of them do certain things well, but since they opened a few years back, I've had a soft spot for Q Fanatic and thought it was time to return. Boy am I glad I did.
Regional arguments and preparations aside, what I had last night was the best BBQ I've ever had...anywhere. As you drive in, the intoxicating aroma hits you from the multiple smokers that sit outside the building. After much deliberation, myself and my dining companions ordered both types of ribs (back and spare), brisket, pulled pork, and various sides. Everything was simply outstanding. Both types of ribs had a nice crust on them, a nice pink hue on the inside, great flavor and were tender as can be. The pulled pork was juicy and flavorful...perfect. Next time, I'm getting it in sandwich form with slaw on top. I'm already dreaming about that. I much prefer their style to the chopped and vinegar laden NC style. The brisket was also very good, though I could see how some purists might have issue with the lack of crust. Still, flavorful and fork tender, just like it should be.
Sides ranged from potato wedges, baked beans, mac and cheese, to the garlic rolls that come with every dinner order (super addicting). And last but not least, if you see one of their giant cookies sitting at the counter, grab it. They are much more than an afterthought.
If you've never been to Q Fanatic, or you haven't been there recently, make it a point to go soon. They are on top of their game, and no one in the state is doing it better.
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