By Polly Keary, Editor
Spring is underway, which means warmer weather is on the way, and that means barbecue season is right around the corner.
There might be too much chill to get out and grill just yet, but three Sky Valley restaurants serve up that classic taste of summer all year round.
This week we set out to find out what makes each barbecue place unique, how much it’ll set you back, and what you can expect in a typical carry-out meal.
Photo by Deb Robinson
Mountain Man Barbecue for a time occupied a rustic little building on First Street in Sultan about a block west of City Hall.
Then the owner decided to move on up the highway a little, and room up with Bubba’s Roadhouse.
Now smoky, spicy barbecue is available at Bubba’s every day for eat-in or carry-out.
A combination meal Wednesday featured three St. Louis-style pork ribs, thinly-sliced pork loin and an Andouille sausage, along with coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad and a corn muffin, all for around $14.
There were two kinds of sauce along with the meal, one spicy, the other milder. The meats are served without sauce, so expect to use up all you have in the box. That’s not to say the meats are short of flavor; they are very smoky.
Bubba’s Roadhouse and Mountain Man BBQ are located at 924 Stevens Ave. (U.S. 2) in Sultan.
Photo by Polly Keary
Giddy Up BBQ occupies an eye-catching orange house on West Main in Monroe.
They pride themselves on Texas barbecue, and offer sliders, barbecued meat on miniature bun, for $2 each at lunch.
For $11.99, we got a meat sampler with pulled pork, beef and ribs. We filled it out with some $2 sides, including corn bread, coleslaw and baked beans.
The two pork ribs came with a crust of dry rub, nestled on a heap of pulled pork on one side and pulled beef on the other, an unusual treatment for barbecued beef. The cornbread was a nice size, with butter melting on it, and it had an interesting flavor. The cornmeal was coarser than that of most cornbreads, giving it an extra chewiness that made it distinctive.
It also came with a soft, fresh hoagie roll ready to be made into a barbecue sandwich for the heartiest appetite, set off by a not-too-spicy sauce.
The beans were soft and homemade, too; comfort food for a cold day.
Watch out for the medium sauce; it is spicy enough to make the eyes water, which also brings some heat to early spring weather.
Giddy Up BBQ is located at 1000 W. Main St. The menu is available at www.giddyupbbq.com
Photo by Kathie Savelesky
Old School BBQ is one of the more unusual restaurants in the valley. It’s located in two school buses just next door to the Reptile Zoo on U.S. 2 just east of Monroe.
One of the buses is for the kitchen; the other is for the dining room. This place is only open Thursday through Sunday, but it is open year-round.
We got a sampler plate for $12.99. Given choices that included pulled pork and sausage, we chose the mesquite, Texas-style smoked chicken, two pork ribs and chopped beef brisket.
The meal came with cornbread and one side dish. We picked potato salad and grabbed a side of coleslaw and a side of BBQ beans for $1.50 each.
The brisket is chopped fairly small and is very tender, and the meats were so smoky they made the entire office smell like a campfire. Three days later, the notes we took still smelled faintly of mesquite.
The ribs fell off the bone easily, and the chicken managed to be moist, something at which many barbecue places don’t succeed.
Old School BBQ has two kinds of sauce, one vinegar-based and the other molasses-based. The vinegar one is thinner and lighter and much tangier. The molasses one is thicker and sweeter, and each had its champions in the office.
The cornbread had a chewy crust and came with butter and honey. The potato salad is homemade, and is mild and creamy, and the beans had a bit of zip to them. The coleslaw was fresh and crunchy, too.
The whole meal, with extra sides, set us back about $14.
Old School BBQ is located on U.S. 2 one mile east of Monroe.