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The Tennessee-style spice rub that goes onto the meat at Q Fanatic is at least half the reason that the entrees don't need sauce. The other half is how perfectly cooked they are: not tough, not gelatinous, not chewy, but delicate to the tooth, moist, and full of flavor. When you're eating the pork ribs, the meat doesn't fall off the bone, but it comes off with a gentle tug-that's how it's meant to be. Sauce is served on the side, with the confidence that the customer can determine how much would make a perfect BBQ experience. These sauces are balanced like an Olympic gymnast. An appropriately spicy pepper-vodka sauce has a gentle alcohol burn that amplifies its peppery bite. An espresso BBQ sauce is thick with layers of coffee and caramel flavor, and it proved to be a shrewd choice for a one-pound order of wet ribs. The Southern mustard BBQ sauce, with its vinegar attack, is a perfect accompaniment for a Texas slow-roasted brisket sandwich, as was smoky chipotle BBQ to pulled pork sandwich. Don't skip the sides: beautifully light and puffy corn fritters, distinctly cheesy and authentic mac and cheese, and a bacon-enriched parmesan potatoes gratinée.
This may be the great unspoken rule of American barbecue: The meat should be able to stand on its own merits—no sauce required. If the only way you can choke down a rack of ribs or cut of brisket is because it's been slathered with sweet and... More »
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