Germantown Commissary – Germantown, TN

IMG_0594
Name
: Germantown Commissary
Date: 6/10/18
Address: 2290 S Germantown Rd, Germantown, TN 38138
Order: Speedy: 3 meat plate (pork, ribs, sausage, fries, green beans) (link to menu)
Price: $23

Speedy: Earlier in my career, I did quite a bit of travelling, which caused me to eat out a lot and eat barbecue all over the country. That has slowed down quite a bit over the past 2-3 years, but I recently started hitting the road a bit again, starting with a client in Memphis. Expect several reviews over the next few months from this neck of the woods, but the first place I stopped was Germantown Commissary.

Monk: Those miles in the car won’t be ideal from a Speedy’s work/life perspective but on the other hand, it should be great for the blog!

Speedy: Germantown Commissary is not really a commissary at all – it’s really just a barbecue joint. It apparently started that way, but after selling some ‘cue he had been smoking in his parking lot for a party, owner Walker Taylor decided to continue selling pork shoulder. It’s got the look and feel of an old timey barbecue joint and my guess is that things have not changed there a whole lot over the years. I was seated immediately and approached by a waiter, who enthusiastically took my order.

In true Barbecue Bros fashion, I ordered a combo plate, with pork, ribs, and sausage. The Commissary was out of brisket (it was late in the day), so I’ll have to wait for the next trip to try that. The food came out quickly and I was ready to dig in.

IMG_0589

As expected, the three meat combo was easily enough food for two people. I started my meal with the pulled pork, which came with large pulled chunks with a sweet sauce already applied. Overall, the pork was tender and I could taste the smoke, but the sauce lacked the tang that I normally enjoy. I also wish it had been pulled a little better, as the chunks were a little hard to navigate. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it, but i think this pork would suit better a sandwich than eating alone.

IMG_0592

I next went to the sausage, which I thought was quite good. It had a nice snap and a good, slightly spicy flavor. I could taste the smoke, but was not overpowered with it. The sausage also came with sweet barbecue sauce on it (the same sauce as the pork), but it worked better with the sausage than the pork, in my opinion. The plate came with two full links, so there was plenty of sausage. I would certainly order this again.

IMG_0591

Monk: Next time, would you order either the pork or sausage with the sauce on the side?

Speedy: I’d probably stay away from the pork altogether, unless I just wanted a sammie. The sausage I thought was very good with the sauce on.

IMG_0590

The star of the show, however, was the ribs. A full slab of spare ribs was delivered, topped by only dry rub (I was not asked wet or dry). I understand why no sauce was applied – none was needed. The ribs were cooked perfectly, offering a clean bite without falling off the bone. The flavor was great – able to taste a mixture of the pork, the smoke, and the seasoning, which had a hint of spice and a hint of sweetness. My only complaint is that i thought the slab could have been a little meatier, and it was a little awkward to handle, as the meat was not trimmed at all. Overall, the ribs are a must order at Germantown Commissary.

Monk: I predict that Speedy will become a Memphis ribs expert over the next few months. Hmm, perhaps a power rankings of them will be in order…

Speedy: As with all barbecue in Memphis, I entered into this meal with high expectations. While I was slightly let down by the pork, the sausage and ribs more than made up for it. I also want to mention that the service I received at Germantown Commissary was top notch – everyone could not have been nicer. All this means I will definitely be back.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Pulled Pork – 3 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Ribs – 4.5 hogs
Sides – 3 hogs
Overall – 4 hogs
Germantown Commissary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IMG_0593

Advertisements

Friday Find: House of Carbs interviews Adam Perry Lang

There isn’t much barbecue-specific discussion on this interview with Adam Perry Lang since its more focused on dry-aged beef and the recent opening of his new steakhouse/smokehouse/brasserie APL in Los Angeles, but its still good nonetheless. APL does have a walk-up window with housemade hot dogs and beef rib tacos.

The Ringer’s Joe House talks to bona fide BBQ expert Adam Perry Lang about opening his new steakhouse in Los Angeles, forging his own knives, his state-of-the-art dry-age room, what makes a dry-aging process unique, some grilling tips, and more (3:50). Then House links up with Juliet Litman for a classic ‘House of Carbs’ Food News (51:30).

Linkdown: 6/13/18

– I think this is a pretty big deal. I may be mistaken, but I can’t recall in my 6 years of paying attention Stamey’s advertising their longtime Degar (from central Vietnam) pitmaster Chhanuon Ponn so prominently (though I know they have his photo up in the restaurant).

– Bob Garner’s latest is on Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant, Sam Jones BBQ, and six generations of barbecue in Pitt County:

The owners of The Skylight Inn, Bum’s Restaurant and Sam Jones BBQ all trace their beginnings to common ancestor Skilten Dennis, who began selling barbecue to camp meeting groups around Ayden from the back of a covered wagon sometime in the mid-1800s.

– Huckberry has a short profile on Rodney Scott as well as his banana pudding recipe in their latest catalog

– Garden & Gun writes up Texas A&M’s Barbecue University but they gotta give NC State’s BBQ Camp some love!

– Food writer Peter Meehan (recently of “Ugly Delicious” fame): “Entering a National Barbecue Competition Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”

I became a guy who was “into barbecue,” which, for as true as it is, is still somewhat painful to type. Talking Heads had told us that day was coming, when you wake up and ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?

(It me)

– Food & Wine on how Jess Pryles became a hardcore carnivore

– Food & Wine also features several other women of barbecue in their latest issue: Pat Mares of Ruby’s BBQ in Austin and Laura Loomis of Two Bros BBQ in San Antonio

– Food Republic: “Do yourself a favor this summer and learn to properly barbecue tofu”
Me: “I’m good”

– Daniel Vaughn remembers Anthony Bourdain

What I Ate at BBQ Alley at Memphis in May

Monk: The Memphis in May Barbecue Fest has a few barbecue vendors inside the grounds and while local health regulations prohibit teams from serving barbecue to the general public if you are lucky you might find some barbecue teams handing out samples – for instance the Traeger team was handing out brisket samples all weekend. Another option for barbecue that weekend was BBQ Alley, a “consumer experience” where you can purchase $15 tickets which give you 5 samples of barbecue dishes from Big Green Egg as well as 3 notable restaurants – this year those restaurants were Paradise Grill in Atoka, TN, Dr. BBQ in St. Petersburg, and B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque in Savannah and Atlanta.

Speedy came in town for a few hours around lunchtime on the Saturday of Barbecue Fest so we decided to check BBQ Alley out. I only ended up having four of the five dishes served but here they are in the order that I tried them.

IMG_5902 (2)

Pork loin with rice from Big Green Egg/Leisure Boys

I’m not familiar with them but Leisure Boys appeared to be cooking on behalf of Big Green Egg. This well-seasoned pork loin was a fine start the the BBQ Alley experience.

IMG_5906 (2)

Snake River Farms ribeye and pork loin with garlic bread from Dr. BBQ

I didn’t snap a photo but the man himself, Dr. BBQ, was hard at work behind the table working the Green Egg to produce this ribeye from Snake River Farms in Idaho.

IMG_5909 (2)

Mike’s BBQ Smoked Wings from Paradise Grill

Paradise Grill is a barbecue restaurant in Atoka, about 40 minutes outside of Memphis, and they brought “Mike’s BBQ Smoked Wings” to BBQ Alley. I remember it being a very solid smoked wing.

IMG_0301

Brisket from B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque

The couple of brisket bites from B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque were the best of the bunch (as to be expected) but the best part was meeting pitmaster Bryan Furman and speaking with him for a couple of minutes. Bryan actually grew up in Charlotte and graduated from West Mecklenburg High School, so we talked about Charlotte a little bit in addition to his restaurant and experience at Memphis in May. Brian is a super nice guy, and was even kind enough for a quick photo. If you are in Savannah or Atlanta, go to B’s!

IMG_0299

Bryan Furman of the awesome B’s Cracklin’ Bar-B-Que in Savannah and Atlanta

All in all, BBQ Alley was maybe a little pricey for what you get but was a chance to try some legit barbecue while at Memphis in May Barbecue Fest.

Friday Find: YETI Presents: Hometown

The story of Billy Durney’s path to opening Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook and how he fed a community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy even before the doors of his restaurant officially opened. Both Speedy and I loved Hometown few years back, but I didn’t know this fantastic story until this video.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, all the hard work and heart Billy Durney put toward building his dream restaurant came to an unexpected halt. But that didn’t stop this bodyguard-turned-pitmaster from pulling through for his Brooklyn community. He lifted his hometown’s spirits with damn good barbecue, and in turn, they inspired his greatest pursuit yet.

 

 

Linkdown: 6/6/18

– I was honored to participate in a barbecue roundtable at the NC State BBQ Camp last weekend (more on that in the coming weeks); here’s a writeup from the alumni magazine from last year’s edition of the camp

– Chapel Hill author D.G. Martin knows his NC eateries (including barbecue), and Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland is his current favorite NC restaurant

– Forbes says that Bulleit Rye is the best pairing with eastern NC vinegar sauce; check out the other bourbon/whiskey pairings here

– Always save room for dessert

– Buxton Hall and Picnic have two of the best fried chicken sandwiches in NC

– Robert Moss with a nice primer on barbecue styles

Friday Find: Searching for the Birthplace of Southern Barbecue in Memphis

Unfortunately I didn’t make it to any barbecue restaurants in Memphis eventhough Payne’s, Central, German Commissary, Bar-B-Que Shop all would have been worthy excursions from the festival. Here’s a taste of what I missed.

The birthplace of Southern barbecue as we know it is almost impossible to nail down; cities from across America’s “barbecue belt” are responsible for different flavor profiles and techniques that have grown and shaped the cuisine’s history. Today, we visit Memphis for an inside look at the smoky, meaty dishes coming out of Tennessee.

My first (and last) time at Pete’s BBQ in Fort Mill, SC

Monk: On Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays for Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends for the past 55 years, Pete Wheeles of Pete’s BBQ has been serving up barbecue out of his home in Fort Mill off India Hook Road. Earlier this week, the Charlotte Observer posted a story that this weekend would be the last one of service ever. Pete’s wasn’t really on my radar until that story but I made my way on the Friday of Memorial Day 2018 to check it out while I could. Getting there shortly before 9, I encountered about an hour’s long line of several dozen folks.

IMG_2322IMG_2329

Folks at Pete’s BBQ primarily order bulk orders for their holiday weekend plans – often several pounds of barbecue and several racks of ribs in addition to pounds of slaw or beans – so the line wasn’t moving at quite the clip I would have wanted for my much smaller order. Plus, I had no idea about the actual barbecue itself. After about 20 minutes, the line had moved about 50 feet. This was going to take a little longer than an hour.

IMG_2332

Forty minutes later, I approached the doorway of the shack. But may I say, I love this sign.

IMG_2334IMG_2342

Pete’s only takes cash or check and I had just gotten only $20 cash out of the ATM on my way there. And again, I had no idea of the barbecue itself, so I just went with a pound of barbecue and a pint of sauce and headed back to my car, passing a news truck on the way out.

IMG_2348IMG_2357

Waiting in line, I overheard someone stating that if someone hadn’t had Pete’s BBQ before then they were in for a treat. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case for me. I found the barbecue to be oversauced to the point where I couldn’t detect any smoke in the meat. It wasn’t bad per se, but it just wasn’t my style of barbecue.

IMG_2367IMG_2377IMG_2382

Locals certainly seem to love Pete’s BBQ and showed out on the first day of their last weekend of service ever (some apparently lining up as early as 5am for a 7am opening). If you are reading this on Monday, May 28, 2018 there may still be some barbecue available (though once they run out they run out). If you are reading this anytime after, then you have missed it. Regardless of how I feel about the barbecue (which again, isn’t my style but different strokes etc.), 55 years is quite an achievement.

Congrats to Pete’s BBQ and enjoy the retirement.

Linkdown: 5/23/18

– Congrats to our neighbors from Memphis in May, The Shed, on their Grand Championship win

– In case you hadn’t heard, Dave Grohl was all up in some Memphis in May this past weekend, particularly at our neighbor’s booth

– Pete’s BBQ in Rock Hill, which has served barbecue during four holidays of the year, is shutting down after 55 years of service after this Memorial Day Weekend; congrats to the 98-year-old Pete Wheele’s on his retirement!

– Raleigh is a favorite away game for this Pittsburgh Penguins blogger in part due to the barbecue

– Eat Raleigh has a short blurb on Sam Jones BBQ at the Thrive NC festival earlier in May

– Is Charleston barbecue slowly taking over the southeast? Both Home Team BBQ (Columbia) and Rodney Scott’s BBQ (Birmingham) announced expansions last week

– All Swig & Swine Charleston-area locations will have $4 sandwiches on May 30 to celebrate 4 years; proceeds will go to Hogs for the Cause

– This NC travel guide from a British paper mentions barbecue (particularly Sam Jones BBQ) as as reason why North Carolina should be your next adventure

– This looks very, very promising

– RIP Mama Dip

 

Photos: Sights from Memphis in May 2018

I will write up more from my Memphis in May Barbecue Fest experience with the Cotton Pickin’ Porkers competition team once I get some rest but for now here’s a few photos I captured from the festival. More to come…

Monk