I've had the BBQ Jones a bit recently so I figured for the National Championship game some good beer and brisket would be appropriate. It was 5:30 and I needed to be back for pre-game at six, so going outside the 7th St and Thunderbird region would mean crossing really bad traffic, so I decided to give the neighborhood a try ... Lovejoy's on Bell just east of 7th Street.
I wanted some variety so I got the three meat (sausage, beef (brisket) and pork ribs) with potato salad and coleslaw to go. It took probably 10 minutes to get the order together as there were three orders in front of mine. No sauce was provided - the guy before me at the take out counter had to come back and ask for some. I didn't bother as I figured I always have a jar of Stubb's in the fridge at home so I'd be okay. So I got home in plenty of time to let the beer cool before I dug into the que at tipoff.
I opened the styrofoam container to find the ribs on bottom, with sausage and brisket mounded on top and the sides in their little cups there now soaked in sauce. I nibbled a bit on a piece of sausage and it seemed promising .... firm, decent flavor. I'm glad I didn't trouble myself to get more sauce as what I had there, pooled at the bottom under the ribs, was terrible. I poured it off the container into a dippin bowl and it was running, greased up from the ribs and just plain boring.
Overall, the sausage was the only barely positive item. It was well made with a hint of fatty goodness, little bit of spice and a nice texture. But the rest of the plate completely dissapointed me. The sides were cafeteria-quality at best, the brisket was stringy and completely devoid of flavor - no, I'm serious, not salt, not sugar, not sour ... nothing. Like tasting the air after you wave a piece of cardboard in front of your face. And given that the sauce was only mildly more interactive on the tongue, it hardly helped to dip it. So I broke out the stubbs and a tortilla and with the pickles and jalaenos I at least made a decent sandwich out of it.
And the ribs, well first off I ended up getting beef instead of pork which wasn't a good sign to start with. Calling these things ribs was probably an overstatement. Fatty bones might be more appropriate. This cow needed some exercise, man. There were three and I hardly made it through one and just tossed the rest.
I just cannot understand why people don't do good barbeque. Yes, it takes some good recipes, definitely takes time but I think it takes quality meat, too, and that's where places like Lovejoy's really screw up. They try and go cheap and it really shows.
That's my third time with them and all three have been failures, so I give up on them. I guess that means I have to drive a bit to Honey Bear, Haps - or a real-bit to Eat At Joe's - to quell my BBQ Jones.