Monday, October 10, 2011


Swadley's is never my first choice for BBQ. I'm not a big fan of chain's. I can tolerate the local chain more than a regional or national chain but while I'm happy to see anyone succeeding in this current economy. I just feel like a restaurant loses a little bit of it's soul when it begins expanding.

I've eaten at Swadley's quite a few times over the years. I've had some really good BBQ from them and I've had some really bad. Tonight's visit fell somewhere in between both ends of that spectrum.

After we placed our order the young man working the register let us know they were now full service and someone would be coming by to check on us. I thought they had always been like that but apparently it now means a high school kid will come by and ask how everything is before you take a bite..... Ok, he did refill our drinks a couple of times but I'm pretty sure the waitstaff that has always brought your food to you were doing that before. So I'm not 100% sure what had changed from the last time I ate there.

My wife ordered the Country Boy sandwich with mac & cheese and corn. I went with the 3-Meat Combo. Ribs, Tennessee pulled pork & hot link with mac & cheese and cole slaw. Mine also came with almost toasted toast.

I've had some really hit and miss ribs at Swadley's. I had some once that tasted like lighter fluid. What's odd about that is that I'm pretty sure they use commercial electric smokers. What I do know is I belched that awful taste all day. Fortunately tonight they were on the other end of the spectrum. The ribs were big and meaty, had a nice pink ring, and a flavor I won't mind burping up to enjoy again later.

The hotlink was.... well it was a hotlink. Nothing special but they don't offer bologna. So I chose the link over brisket. I have never seen a piece of fat on the brisket they serve. I like a little fat on mine. My wife likes no fat on hers. Which is one of the reasons she likes Swadley's.

The Tennessee pulled pork was actually pulled pork with some nice color on several of the pieces. I thought the last time I had pulled pork there that it was the chopped, folded, spindled, and mutilated pork that I abhor. Then again the last time I ate there I don't remember it being called Tennessee pulled pork.

Unfortunately the pulled pork tonight looked better than it was. I had to dip it in sauce or cram some slaw or mac & cheese in my mouth to be able to choke it down and those pieces of nice looking bark... Well they were really bitter oversmoked pieces of meat. How could it look so good and taste so bad? My tongue almost started an Occupy Swadley's protest.

I do like their cole slaw. It's similar to what you get at KFC. So maybe I have a childhood attachment to that kind of slaw. The mac & cheese is good. Pasta not overcooked and a tangy cheese sauce on it.

Now the main reason my wife like's Swadley's is for their sauce. It's to sweet in my opinion but she likes the sweet sauce. I chose the hot sauce and what they call grumpy sauce.

Now I'm not sure exactly what makes it grumpy. I thought maybe it was spicy but I really didn't find it spicy. It was a bit thicker than the sweet and the hot versions and I think it had a little darker color. But I sure as heck can't tell you why they call it grumpy.

Will I eat at Swadley's again? Well of course I will. It's one of my wife's favorite Q-raunts. And the great thing about BBQ is that there are so many different styles we can all find what we want.

Swadley's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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