Barbecue culture is massive in the States and, though Canadians love to barbecue in the back yard, we haven't the same obsession with Godzilla-esque slabs of meat that are cooked low and slow. American-style barbecue has made a few in-roads in this city, thanks in part to the sadly-burned Bubba's and northside gem Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus. Sherwood Park now has a barbecue spot of their very own - cheekily named "That Bar-B-Q Place." That Barb-B-Q Place occupies a recently built strip mall, just across from the natty kitchenware store, The Pan Tree.
The protein-centric menu shares quarters with the likes of Nascar memorabilia, John Deere signage, and a hand-written "Redneck Dictionary" on the wall. An enjoyable classic country soundtrack swings from Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash, with a welcome splash of Freddy Fender. Supper commences with a Pulled Potato. This hefty creation centers on a large, baked potato that has been cleaved in two, and topped with a juicy tangle of pulled pork, house-made slaw, mayo, and a criss-cross of dill pickles. This is a baked potato on 'roids: pumped up, no-nonsense, and unabashedly delicious.
The Two Meat Combo permits one to select two meats from a roster that includes ribs, pulled prok, turkey, and beef brisket. Pulled pork, which was very amenable to that buxom baked potato, is fragrant and sweetly smoke-kissed on its own. Indeed, a good pulled pork ought to be presented on its own, and far too many other restaurants quite literally smother their meat with BBQ sauce. If one's pork is as magical as one claims, should it not be allowed to shine? That Bar-B-Place has the right idea, for the diner can choose - or choose not to - add sauce themselves. Smoked Baked Beans are saucy and mealy, and quietly sing cowboy tunes of open skies and dusty trails. A miniature Buttermilk Cornbread Muffin is thoroughly moist and buttery. The ribs steal the show. They taste like a good campfire smells: permeated with the evocative essence of wood and fire. They fall off the bone with so much as a stern glance.
That Bar-B-Q Place is on to something.