This was my first shot at authentic barbecue in New York. Prior to spending a few years working in Tennessee, I just wasnt interested. Since my time in Tennessee, I figured why bother. But, RUB has been getting top nods as of late, and its been 10 months since Ive been to the South, so off I went.
First, the bad:
The sweet tea. Ive now eaten barbecue at more places than I can count, and have encountered wide variances between this shacks ribs, that ones pulled pork, etc. The one constant, though, was the sweet tea. It had a distinct flavor that Id bank on from one stop to the next. Hell, when my roommate showed me what to do with Luzianne and Dixie Crystals, it tasted the same coming out of my fridge. Even Chik-Fil-A has nailed it. RUB has not.
The brisket. I had never understood why people bothered with it. I still dont.
The sauce. In any barbecue joint I now look back on fondly, there were two squeeze bottles on each table: an opaque one with a mild, vinegar-based sauce; and a red one with a hot, vinegar-based sauce. The opaque bottle on RUBs tables contains nothing particularly interesting, and the red one is filled with ketchup.
The deep-fried Oreos. My expectations were colored by my past enjoyment of deep-fried chocolate bars, where the coating is thin, and the consistency of the melty bar is as enjoyable as the flavor. The Oreos were more like zeppoles with an inconsequential, and barely-noticeable, cookie in the middle.
Now, the good:
The pulled pork. I subscribe to the philosophy that the word barbecue refers directly to pulled pork. And like pad thai or a plain slice, pulled pork is my first measuring stick. RUBs is very good. The portion I was given was smoky, moist (but not too much so), and very tasty. Had they tossed that butt in front of me at Pig & Pie or Hog Heaven, I wouldnt have flinched.
The beans. Best Ive ever had.
White bread and pickle chips. Ayup.
The vinegar-based coleslaw was pretty good. They were sadly out of the burnt ends, which I was really looking forward to trying (the useless parts of the brisket were my replacement order). If theres nothing else worth eating on the menu, Ill still head back for the pulled pork and beans when I get the itch. But theres obviously a lot of ground I havent yet covered (ribs, baby), and Im looking forward to giving it all a go.
Incidentally, I went on Saturday around 1, and got a seat immediately. They began to fill up about 45 minutes later, but it never got to a point where the wait would be prohibitive.
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