A Taste of Southern Comfort

Until recently, it was tough to find a good southern BBQ place in the downtown core.  In the summer, when the weather was warmer and I wouldn’t mind leaving the warmth of my box in the sky, I didn’t mind traveling a little further to get a taste of a good pulled pork sandwich from the Stockyards or the Black Camel.  In recent months however there are two southern BBQ places that have opened up within winter-walking-distance of where I live.  The first is a place we tried a couple months ago on King St. West, Lou Dawgs.  It was a Sunday afternoon and we were actually in the area to try a new burger place but they ran out of food.  Then I remembered about Lou Dawgs and we ventured there to try their take on southern BBQ.  I ordered the pulled pork sandwich “po style”.  I guess po style means that they put coleslaw on top of the pork in the sandwich.

The pork itself is pretty good.  I didn’t think it was better than the Stockyards or the Black Camel but it was good.  The meat was moist but didn’t have as much of a BBQ or smokey type of flavor that I like.  The coleslaw was really good.  Crisp, fresh veggies and a few pine nuts scattered throughout which gave it some added complexity.  It wasn’t too drenched with vinegar or mayo either.  The bread was good.  It held everything together nicely and didn’t fall apart which sometimes I have known to happen with southern sandwiches.  After finishing, I tried some of the specialty BBQ sauces they offer.  The sauces are GOOOOD!  The smokey one has a wonderful smokey flavor with a solid tang from the BBQ sauce itself.  The spicy was nice too.  Not burn your mouth spicy but with a certain zing that awakens your taste buds.  In hindsight, I wish I had thrown some of these specialty sauces on the sandwich and it may have been more enjoyable.

My friend had the slider sampler which came with three mini version of the pulled pork, the pulled chicken and the beef brisket.  My friend said the chicken was a little dry.  Similar to the pork, I think if you smothered it with their specialty sauces it may have helped it out.  The beef brisket was the real winner here.  It had a lot of flavor, moist juicy meat and a good balance of beefy-BBQy flavor.  Overall, I liked Lou Dawgs.  It’s down the street from Reggie’s sandwiches.  If I felt like a regular sandwich I would probably go to Reggie’s but if I felt like a pulled pork sandwich, I would have to say the Lou Dawgs is the winner in the area.

Another southern BBQ has just opened up a couple blocks from where I live, Smokin’ Bones Southern Comfort Food.  I’ve passed by it a number of times since it’s right up the street from another friend of mine.  Everytime I passed by I would think, “Man that smells good!  I gotta try this place.”  This Friday I finally made it there to give their pulled pork sandwich a go.

I also got the coleslaw thrown on top. In addition, they ask you if you want the house or spicy BBQ sauce.  I went with the spicy which, like Lou Dawgs, was not burning sensation hot but more zippy/tangy hot.  The pork was awesome and plentiful.  It had hints of smoke, cajun spices and a good BBQ sauce flavor.  The coleslaw was good.  Fresh, crisp veggies but the flavor for the most part was drowned out by the flavor of the pork.  It has more of a mayo base as opposed to a vinegar base but it was still enjoyable.  The bread was good.  Not too soft that it fell apart but soft and fresh tasting enough to satisfy my carb craving.  They put in about half a pound of pork so it’s a pretty big sandwich.  They have a good meat to bun ratio though so you are left feeling very satisfied but not overly stuffed.  The guy who runs the front is very friendly and seems to really care about the products.  He said that he personally likes everything on the menu.  He also gave me a sample of the beans which is probably the reason I came back the next day to try a few more sides and the ribs.

Now I really like baked beans so this might be a bit of a biased view.  I thought these were excellent!  The base was thick and I think it had a few strands of pork meat scattered in it.  Each bite was smokey with a hint of sweetness.  I can’t quite put my finger on what was causing the sweet flavor.  Maybe they throw some brown sugar in it as well.

The sweet potato fries were perfect.  Not too thick, not too thin, not too salty, not under salted, not over fried or under fried.  They were hot, crisp and delicious.  You could taste all the balanced flavors of the sweet potato, the salt and something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I had described it to my eating companions as almost having a “McDonald’s fries” like characteristic.  I’m not sure if it was the oil or the salt but something about the first bite reminded me of McDonald’s fries… but better.  My friends didn’t agree with me so someone else is going to have to go and tell me if I’m just crazy.

And now the ribs.  I loved them!  They had a dry rub with a delicious mix of cajun spices.  The BBQ sauce that came lathered on top was excellent and not overpowering.  They also gave us an additional side of sauce to make them more wet if we pleased.  The meat was tender and would practically fall off the bone with little effort.  With cajun spices, BBQ sauce and baby back ribs, I find one flavor usually overpowers the other.  This was not the case here.  Everything seemed to compliment and work well together with no one component overpowering the other.  After splitting a rack of ribs, two sides and some of a pulled pork sandwich we left feeling really full.  After really big meals of comfort food I just want to curl up and go to sleep.  Seeing as how I went to this place twice this weekend could help explain why I slept for a record time this weekend (Sat. 3am to Sat. 6pm, Sat. 7:30pm to Sat. 9:30pm, and Sun. 2am to 10am for a grand total of 25 hours over two days)… or maybe I was just being really lazy.  I’m happy that these places have opened up in the area.  It adds a little more variety to the area other than shawarma and pizza.  It doesn’t hurt that the food is great too.

http://www.loudawgs.com/flash.html

http://www.smokinbones.ca/

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~ by jlowjlow on January 17, 2010.

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