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Gerald Wilhitte's Spicy BBQ

Chino Wayne | Nov 22, 2002 06:53 PM

The Mrs. needed me to pick her up from the car dealer in Ontario while they were working over Melanie, so I told her I would pick her up and take her out to lunch. After I did pick her up and then headed north on I-15 she asked me if I knew where we were going. I said, “Sure.” She looked over at me and then said, in that tone of voice that means it was not a question, “Are we going chow dogging?” Of course we were. I had just head about Gerald Willhite’s Spices BBQ in Rancho Cucamonga and was simply doing my ‘houndly duty.

This is a very small place with about four tables inside and a couple of tables on the sidewalk outside, a refrigerated case and an order counter, and one wall is decorated with Gerald’s pro-football memorabilia. We ordered one three rib lunch plate that came with a side of potato salad, one combo dinner plate that came with three spare ribs, a couple of hot links and some brisket, with a side of potato salad and side of beans. We also ordered an extra side of corn bread and cabbage and one peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The spare ribs were well smoked and initially I felt they were not very remarkable. The ribs and brisket came sauced, the sauce was very thick and red, with some sweetness, and then a little bit of a spicy after bite. I ate the first two ribs with the sauce on them, but with some added Tabasco. For the third rib, I scraped off most of the sauce, did not add any Tabasco, and enjoyed this rib much more than the first two. The last rib had a nice pink tinge to the meat (not as if it were under cooked pork, but is rather more of a nice pink piggy color) and the meat was very pleasant and sweet tasting. So the next time I am going to have the ribs “neat”.

The brisket was served as if it had been pulled apart, like pulled pork. I think this was a mistake because I believe that caused the meat to dry out. I was not very happy with the brisket, but I am reserving final judgment until I have an opportunity to sample Gerald’s brisket when it has just been freshly sliced, but not pulled.

The hot links were fine, but not nearly hot enough for my taste, the Mrs. enjoyed half of a link. Initially she wanted only a small bite of a link, but after taking the first bite, she decided she would finish off the rest of it.

The potato salad was good, it had mustard and mayo in it, and seemed too “wet” looking, but it tasted very good, and definitely homemade, not out of some industrial container. I did not care for the beans, they were little black colored beans in a very thin liquid. They are called “spicy beans” on the menu, but I did not taste much of anything. I did not try the cabbage or the cornbread, this is comfort food for the Mrs. and I think she enjoyed it, but I think she was a little concerned about the potential atmospheric after affects of the cabbage, so she did not eat it all.

This was the first cobbler we have had since our recent visit to Woody’s in Rancho Cucamonga. The cobbler here is far superior to Woody’s. It had a good crust, nice slices of peaches and a nice, thick “syrup”.

Service was efficient and friendly, Gerald’s partner in this establishment, Robyn served us, and I understand Robyn’s mother bakes all of the desserts. We were in about the time school was getting out, and it seems as if some of the local kids like to come there after school for a snack and to hang out. Robyn and Gerald seemed to know all of the kids who came in.

I talked with Gerald for a few minutes and asked him if he put a rub on his ribs (I was wondering if the rub might have included brown sugar, because of the sweetness of the meat). He told me that he does not rub the ribs, he only puts a rub on the brisket, but that he puts the rub spices in his sauce. Gerald also told me that he starts his meats with a combination of fruitwoods (like orange, apple, cherry, etc.) and finishes with some mesquite.

I want to try his ribs again, unadorned, and his chicken. I also plan to try the shrimp, catfish and red snapper. He had gumbo today, but we did not try that. The young fellow at the next table was raving about the hamburger that had just consumed. They also have macaroni & cheese on the menu, fries, buffalo wings (Spicy, BBQ, Teriyaki); lemon cake, chocolate cake and sweet potato pie. Drinks are canned sodas and punch. All beverages are free with any meal order, and coffee is free with any dessert order.

So the jury is still out on Gerald’s, but I believe it has potential, and it is just nice and relaxing in the friendly atmosphere of this place.

I learned about this place in an article in the local edition of the LATimes, so I am putting a link to the article down below.

Lunch today was $28.00.

Gerald Wilhitte’s Spicy BBQ (sign on the building says “Spicy Café”)
In The Mini-Mall at Haven & Lemon
(A block north of the soon to be opened I-210 extension)
Rancho Cucamonga
(909) 948-9854

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/ont...

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