Name: Bat’s BBQ
Location: 1912 Mount Gallant Road, Rock Hill, SC
Order: Sampler platter with pulled pork, smoked sausage, and cajun beef brisket. Hush puppies and sweet potato fries. (link to menu)
Speedy: I recently started doing some work just outside of Rock Hill, SC, which of course means more opportunities to eat barbecue! First on the menu was Bat’s BBQ, which was just off highway I-77 in Rock Hill. Bat’s BBQ is a pretty new establishment – just opened in 2009, and it looks that way. It’s a corner plot in a shopping center with a small indoor dining room and a few tables outside. You go order at the counter and the food is brought to you once it’s ready. The atmosphere is OK, but it’s not exactly your typical ‘cue joint. Honestly, there’s really nothing to rave about in terms of atmosphere.
Even though it was lunch time, I ordered the sampler platter in order to taste the biggest variety of meats as possible. Unlike Monk, I am truly committed to the cause.
Monk: Hey now…don’t confuse my small tummy with a lack of commitment to the cause.
Speedy: None of the sides really caught my eye, so I ended up getting hush puppies and sweet potato fries, as there was no barbecue slaw, collards, okra, or any of the other traditional sides that I’m partial to.
Monk: I see that the menu also has “Mexi-Q”…so would be fair to say that Bat’s BBQ isn’t aiming for traditional barbecue?
Speedy: That’s probably fair, though it advertised itself as having a “cajun spin.” I didn’t really see the cajun-ness, though.
The food came out quickly, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the portion size – which is rare for ‘cue joints. It was definitely plenty to eat, but would not have been enough for two people, which I thought it should’ve been based on the price.
Rudy: Here in Texas they charge by the pound, so you know exactly what you are getting as opposed to the varying serving sizes. I’m definitely a fan of quality over quantity though.
Speedy: I quickly dug in to taste all of the meats, first without sauce, and then with along with the various sauces provided. The pork was dry and a little bland and I definitely wouldn’t recommend eating it without adding sauce to it. The tenderness also left a little to be desired, as a couple pieces were a bit rubbery, so the meet could probably have stayed in the smoker a bit long. I had a few chunks that were also not sufficiently pulled, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. This is also a reason why I prefer pork chopped to pulled.
The brisket was considerably better. It was cooked well, tender, and had decent flavor. It also wasn’t nearly as dry as the pork. The brisket was also pulled, which was really surprising, as I’ve only seen it sliced (which I prefer) or chopped. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with the taste and tenderness that was there. This was definitely the best part of the meal.
Monk: Pulled brisket? I’m curious to see if Rudy has seen this before or if this might be considered heresy in Texas.
Rudy: I have never seen that before. You will see chopped beef listed on the menu some places, but every time I have ordered brisket or even seen it, it has been sliced. A quick Google search proved that it is true, but I can’t say I would be a fan of this.
Speedy: The sausage was decent, though I’m fairly certain it was not made in house. I’m certainly a sausage novice, but I’ve been ordering it more frequently lately at ‘cue restaurants. This sausage isn’t at the top of my list of favorites, but I wasn’t upset that I ordered it.
I only tried that cajun sweet and the rub sauce (as well as a Texas Pete style hot sauce they called fang sauce). The sauces were decent, but nothing I felt I really had to have again.
I was glad that Bat’s BBQ served hush puppies, and they were actually pretty good, but like I said, I wasn’t thrilled with the other choices of sides.
I did get a sneak peak at the smoker in the kitchen (see photo below), and they look to be electric, though they could be gas I suppose. I’ve defended electric smokers before, as they can put out good meats, but if you really want to be a top quality ‘cue joint, it just doesn’t cut it.
Monk: Glad to hear you have come around on this.
Rudy: I also was against this until you said that most places use them. But having a true smoker increases the rankings in my book.
Speedy: All in all, I think this will probably be my only trip to Bat’s BBQ. There was just nothing there that excited me about the restaurant, and I wasn’t that impressed with anything I tried. The meal was fine, but when you’re eating ‘cue, fine is not what you’re looking for.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 1.5 hogs
Pork – 2 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sausage – 2.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 2.5 hogs