Thursday, September 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ

“There’s no delicate way to eat this,” I said to Fiery Ron, as I pulled sumptuous rib meat from its bone with my thumb and forefinger. The unctuous pork didn’t put up a fight. Try as I did to be dainty I still grabbed a paper napkin from the dispenser on the table.

Eating a barbequed rib from Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ is like an adventure in geology. The black “bark” crust of the Memphis-style dry-rub spices hides a moveable and melting layer of warm pork fat, which in turn hides the rib meat itself and the tell tale sign of good barbeque: a rosy pink smoke ring. Unblemished by sauce and enhanced by a rub of spices, the natural flavors of the meat are the focal points of every bite.

Luckily for me, in addition to his delicious ribs, Fiery Ron let me sample a bit of everything: pulled pork tossed salt, pepper and just a touch of vinegar sauce, beef brisket like I’ve never tasted before, his award-winning Gouda mac ‘n cheese and smoked dry-rubbed flash-fried chicken wings with white Alabama sauce.

The "Before" Photo

The star of the sampler platter, which I tried my best to finish, was difficult to choose. When I go back to Fiery Ron’s Home Team BBQ I’ll be sure to some new things but without a doubt I’ll be ordering more of the beef brisket and the pulled pork.

You have never tasted barbequed beef brisket quite like Fiery Ron’s. Cooked with a combination of traditional low and slow barbequing and classical French braising techniques, the brisket sits in a braising liquid of celery, onions, carrots, thyme, garlic, tomatoes, red and white wine as it is smoked. This preparation method insures the brisket emerges fork tender and never dry. Each bite melts in your mouth reminiscent of pot roast and, somehow, barbeque, too.

The "After" photo-- I tried my best!

A pulled barbeque pork sandwich is the barbeque world’s burger and fries and there’s nothing special about Fiery Ron’s pulled pork—and that’s what is so great about it. A week later my mouth is still watering over dry-rubbed pork cooked low and slow for hours, pulled and chopped into tender morsels, and finally mixed with a dash of vinegar sauce, salt and pepper. It’s a lesson in balanced flavors.

Pulled BBQ Pork

While there are six plastic squeeze bottles full of different homemade barbeque sauces, at Ron’s Home Team BBQ you don’t need them. The meat here is beautifully barbequed. The pit master knows better than to camouflage his handiwork with too much sauce or distract from the natural flavors of the meat. The paper napkin dispenser is a different story.

You can follow Home Team BBQ on Twitter at @FRHomeTeamBBQ 

Fiery Ron's 'Que-Tips

It's not coincidence that I interviewed a barbeque pit master before the start of college football season. There are quite a few things the South does well, and you can count pigskin and 'que amongst them. 

'Que Tip #1: "If you're doing barbeque for yourself, ribs or chicken are the way to go."

'Que Tip #2: "St. Louis cut is the best cut for ribs. It's got the right amount of fat content," says Fiery Ron. The St. Louis cut is the center cut of the spare rib. Your butcher will help you.

'Que Tip #3:  "With barbeque, patience is a virtue," says Fiery Ron. "Low and slow is the best way to go." Whether you like your ribs falling off the bone, pulling off the bone, more stout or somewhere in between, you gotta cook 'em slow and for a long time.

'Que Tip #4:   "Pick up your ribs with tongs on the side of the rack so they reach to the center. If half of the rack hangs over and it starts to break, you're done," says Ron.

Home Team BBQ on Urbanspoon

Do you have any barbeque tips? How do you like your 'que?

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