****UPDATE**** THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED ****UPDATE****
Well there is finally a BBQ place in Valparaiso (Wagner’s isn’t BBQ, seriously.) It’s called Big Daddy’s Genuine BBQ (I think to be confused with Big Daddy’s BBQ in Gary that recently won the Steve Harvey 2010 Best BBQ Hoodie Award.) I’ll let that go though if they can show they have some real skill when it comes to BBQ and put out a quality product.
I was quite surprised to see a giant banner for a BBQ place “Coming Soon” down the street from me. And with the name I wondered if the recent Hoodie Award winning BBQ place was spreading it’s wings. ( It’s not I asked ) Finally this week I saw the sign come down and a little white paper in the window with hours so I was stoked to finally get to give it a try. Sadly, the first day I was able to go was a bust as they were closed for equipment tweaking. So a couple days later our paths finally crossed.
To start, most good BBQ comes from people who have been doing it for a long time. There is no sign that this is one of those places. The website has stock photos that don’t look like their end product and gives no real story as to who/why this person has a clue what genuine BBQ even is. I get that some people don’t have time to put their life story on a website but you would think you might have something more then what they have. I mean they did have the time to look for and put up those bad photos (I’ll explain more when I explain the food.)
So on Saturday the restaurant had 3 sauces to offer – regular, smokey, and spicy. All three were nothing special, pretty bland overall but of the three the smokey was the one I liked. I know some will be sad at the lack of a vinegar sauce but around here it’s pretty rare so I’m not surprised. These really need some work overall but I’m guessing they are some simple standard recipe and not something crafted by a pit master who’s been toiling and tweaking till there family wants to strangle them for making them taste every variations for years.
I wanted to taste everything I could so I ordered the St Louis half rack combo which I got with mac and cheese and cowboy beans. I also was able to “add a dab” of pulled pork and brisket for $3 a piece. The dabs were a nice size for $3, but it was opening week so we will see how those are in a few months. Coleslaw also comes with the combo.
The ribs were well smoked and tasted pretty good. I think they could have cooked it a tad bit longer as they were a little tougher then the “chew” you would normally expect but I would rather have that then the “fall off the bone before it even makes it to you” type others make. They didn’t trim the ribs at all which I know would get some negative points from others but personally I like mine with all that extra fat and quantity of meat overall was good.
The brisket was good overall (my wife liked it and never had brisket before) but it was definitely not “Genuine BBQ” brisket. They treated it more like a pulled beef and could have been made with chuck roast for what I could tell. It definitely wasn’t what they have pictured on their website and what is expected by most BBQ peeps. Now while it’s not genuine I would get it on a sandwich for sure as it was flavorful.
The pulled pork was bland and just a waste. I’ve had a lot of bad pulled pork in my days and this is par for the course in the garbage that most people serve. It’s also what makes me think this person doesn’t know what “Genuine BBQ” really is.
As for the sides, the coleslaw was okay (which actually is a compliment as most the time it’s been garbage even in the good BBQ places I’ve been to.) The cowboy beans were okay as well, I’d rather see a Brunswick stew for the leftover pork BUT at the same time they could also do that bad as well. Mac and cheese wasn’t my cup of tea as it was basically a lump of noodles, a lump of cheese, and sprinkled with bacon.
So in the end, I’m glad to have a place I can go and get my “smoke fix” on days I don’t have time to make up some of my own BBQ (which sadly is more often then not) but this isn’t going to be one of the great BBQ places out there. I’ve not made it up to Big Daddy’s in Gary yet but will have to try soon just so I can make a comparison but I’m betting it won’t be close. Though I really should have known this was going to be what I should expect when I saw the appliance smoker and not a custom made pit. So in the end I’d give the place a 6 out of 10. I’ll definitely eat here again but it’s definitely not a place I’d recommend as “genuine BBQ.”