Name: City Barbeque
Date: 11/14/14 and 1/7/15
Address: 1305 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27511
Order: Lil City (Combo plate with pork and brisket), gumbo and hushpuppies (link to menu)
Speedy: Look – I know City Barbeque is a small chain (though they don’t franchise) and I know they use a gasser (though it is a Southern Pride), but I had a hankering for ‘cue one day and I had driven past this place before, so I decided to stop in. And I’m glad I did.
City Barbeque sits as a stand alone building in a good sized shopping center. It’s Southern Pride smoker is attached to the building, such that the wood is put in from the outside, but there’s a door on the smoker inside the building as well. The restaurant has a modern feel. You order at the counter, and the meat is then cut or pulled and you take your seat. The order method makes it seem like it’s trying to be old school, but it kind of falls flat on that aspect. It’s not a bad atmosphere, per se, but not my fav.
City serves all kinds of ‘cue – pork, brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey, and ribs. It definitely has a newer feel. Both times I’ve been, I’ve avoided the ribs (as I’ve been in business-wear) and opted for an off-menu (but often ordered) Lil City, which is a half portion of brisket and half portion of pulled pork. I’ve had three sides total in two trips – the gumbo (never before seen as a ‘cue side), hush puppies, and vinegar slaw.
The pork has a really nice bark and is pretty tender. I could use a little more smoke, but the flavor is there. There is a station with several sauces available (kind of like the salsa bar at Moe’s), one of which is a vinegar sauce. I think adding a bit of this enhances the flavor, but overall, the pork is good.
The brisket, I think, is a little bit better. It is also plenty tender with great bark. There might be slightly too much tug, but I’m nitpicking a bit. I also think it could use a little more pepper in the rub to give a little more bit to the bark, but overall, I think it’s a very good brisket – especially for North Carolina.
The sides are top notch. The hush puppies are perfect. The slaw, which contains carrots and peppers in addition to the cabbage, is strong, and the gumbo is great (note: I’m a sucker for gumbo at all times, so having it available as a side here is a huge bonus). Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the sides.
Monk: Hmm…I’m not sure how I feel about gumbo at a barbecue place, but at least it was good. Sounds like City Barbeque (a chain started in Ohio) is worth a try next time I’m with all of the other relocated yanks in Cary.
Speedy: I definitely want to go back some time for dinner to check out both the ribs and the sausage, but overall, City Barbeque is a really good meal. It doesn’t have the down home feel of the old-timey ‘cue joints, and it does use a gas smoker instead of a stick burner, but these guys understand how to smoke meat. I’ll definitely be back.
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Brisket – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3.5 Hogs