Tonight's food-based adventure was Andy Nelson's BBQ. I've been to many barbecue places, including some great ones in Kansas City. Andy Nelson's easily ranked right up there with the best of the best. My favorite is probably KC's Arthur Bryant's, but this was a close second. Andy Nelson's is mostly "Memphis style" 'Q, but I think it's fair to compare it with KC, as the sauces are generally similar, just applied at different times.
The first thing you notice, before you even walk in the door, is the smell. The heady aroma of delicious meats smoking pervades from the moment you get out of your car. The inside is exactly what I would expect of a quality barbecue joint - lots of wood, and almost too much pig paraphernelia, nothing too fancy.
For my meal, I got the rib combo with pulled pork and "Turkey Q" (pulled turkey); collard greens, potato salad and corn bread on the side. Our table also split an order of wings. My meal was easily enough for three people, so at about $20, it was an excellent value, especially given the quality.
Guy's Pig Dip - a much thinner, vinegar-based sauce. I tend not to like the more vinegary sacues, so this was not a favorite.
Betty's South Carolina BBQ Sauce - a slightly sweet mustard-based sauce, very tasty!
Bama BBQ Sauce - this is their signature sauce, smoky and a strong but not overpowering black pepper taste, an easy favorite.
Sweet & Sassy Salad Dressing - vinegar-based, but not as thin as the "Pig Dip" - ok, but too vinegary for my taste.
The wings were among the best I've ever had. As the menu says, "BBQ'd...not fried!" The seasoning was amazing, not sure if it was just their normal rub. It was hard to place all the flavors used, but our group cited cumin, garlic, onion, salt, pepper. I normally prefer crispy wings, and often don't eat the skin unless it's super-crispy, but the flavor was so good, I had no problem eating everything but the bone. They were also incredibly tender; I'm not clear on what kept the bones attached to the meat.
The ribs are served with the (Bama) sauce on them, although you can also order "Memphis dry", with just a dry rub. The ribs were so tender, at one point, I looked at them a little too hard and the meat fell right off the bone.
I had heard the pulled pork here was amazing. I would only rate it as "really, really good". It had a hint of vinegar that I could have done without. But as with everything else, it was extremely tender.
The "Turkey Q" was a definite highlight. It didn't have the vinegar that the pork had, and the seasonings seemed more robust and more balanced. I think I enjoyed the turkey more than the ribs!
The pork and turkey:
The corn bread was great! It had a hint of sweetness, with a nice crunch to the top. The collard greens were decent - I've not had a lot of them in my past, so I didn't have a good basis for comparison, but I enjoyed them. The highlight of the sides was the "Redskin Potato Salad". Unlike most potato salads, the potatoes were not in chunks, but sliced thinly, like scalloped potatoes. The dressing was vinegar and maybe a touch of mayo, and seasoned very well. 3 of the 4 of us got the potato salad, and we all enjoyed it, but none of us could come up with what seasonings we thought were at play. The dressing was slightly orangish, so we thought there might be some mustard, but it didn't taste of mustard. I would definitely get the potato salad as a side next time (and probably every time) I come here.
MY ONLY (TRIVIAL) COMPLAINT
This is very trivial, but I feel I must mention it. This is a barbecue place, and you're bound to get your hands dirty. The sink in the men's room did not have that much water pressure, and the angle of the stream made it such that it was less than an inch from the back of the basin. I couldn't get a good scrub on and found that frustrating. But this is the ONLY thing I could find wrong with the place. Even if you're an obsessive hand-washer, don't let that keep you from the amazing food at Andy Nelson's!
MY RATING: On a scale of 1 to 7 pigs, I give this place 7 pigs.