OAKEN THRONE 6 INITIAL RESPONSES

•March 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So far early responses from several individuals have ranged from “This issue is awesome” to “This is a [expletive] beautifully designed/written zine!”

Such enthusiasm is, of course, appreciated. When one considers how much work everyone involved puts into Oaken Throne such comments make those efforts all the more worthwhile.

Death to False Metal!

OAKEN THRONE 6 BLACK METAL ZINE NOW AVAILABLE!

•March 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After months of impatient waiting, Oaken Throne 6 is finally available for wholesale ordering. Oaken Throne 6 is without a doubt our biggest and finest issue yet, with a massive 96 page count.

To see Oaken Throne 6, click here:

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The 13 bands profiled are: Akitsa, Aluk Todolo, Avsky, Dead Raven Choir, Dialing In, Gnaw Their Tongues, Immolation, IXXI, Lugubrum, Necros Christos, Necrovation, Throneum, and Vargr, plus 7 1/2 pages of reviews.

Oaken Throne 6 is filled with exclusive illustrations by Metal’s finest artists, our cover being drawn by David Vincent D’Andrea, with additional illustrations by Justin Bartlett, Chris Parry, Jeff Smack, Scott Langlais, Adam Watson, and photography by Ben West. To see pages 48 and 49 (Justin Bartlett’s Dead Raven Choir illustration) click here:

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Like OT5, Oaken Throne 6 is accompanied by a professionally printed and mastered compact disc, containing a previously released track by each artist profiled (although the Nordvargr track is thus far exclusive). The cd is inserted into a pro-printed cardboard sleeve (with artwork by Marek Colek), and the zine and cd are inserted into a resealable polypropylene bag. OT6 is printed to the same unique 7×7 inch format as the previous three issues, its cardstock covers the same silver-on-black as has become the Oaken Throne trademark.

Unfortunately, even as print publications struggle during these difficult economic times, the cost of producing those print publications has increased. To that end, the wholesale (5 copies or more) cost of Oaken Throne 6 has increased to $6 per issue. I profusely apologize in advance for this exorbidant cost, but I honestly believe that even at this price, Oaken Throne 6 is a worthy purchase.

Additionally, after years of requests, two different Oaken Throne Tshirts have been printed in limited quantities. Design 1 is the cover artwork from Oaken Throne 6, drawn by David Vincent D’Andrea. (to view this shirt, click here:

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• Printed on Army Green American Apparel 100% cotton Tshirts, 75 available in Men’s Large and 25 in Men’s Medium.>Design 2 is one of Chris Parry’s MOSS illustrations from Oaken Throne 4 (to view this shirt, click here:

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• Printed on Asphalt Gray American Apparel 100% cotton Tshirts, 75 available in Men’s Large and 25 available in Men’s Medium.

Shirts are $12 each, plus shipping, which will by other items in your order. I’m glad to sell individual shirts, add $2 for First Class shipping Domestic, $6.45 for First Class shipping International.

Remaining copies of Oaken Throne 5 and Oaken Throne 4 are still available (although I’m down to my last boxes, and expect to sell out quickly). Pricing for all three available issues is as follows: Wholesale prices of zines (in quantities of 5 or more. Additional costs are applied for fewer than 5 copies purchase, contact Ben West with questions) 5 copies of OT6= $30 + shipping ($6 each, includes sleeved cd, packaged in resealable polypropylene bag)

5 copies of OT5= $22.50+ shipping ($4.50 each, includes sleeved cd, packaged in resealable polypropylene bag)

5 copies of OT4= $17.50 ($3.50 each, this issue does not come with a cd, and is not packaged in bag) *If paying by Paypal, I ask your permission to add half the Paypal fee to your invoice. Paypal is a convenience for both buyer and seller, and I believe the fee should be split evenly between the two. Paypal can be sent to ben@benwestdesign.net. It’s a good idea to touch base with me in advance if ordering shirts of back issues. I am not eager to trade at the moment, aside from the trades already established with advertisers. I may be open to select trades in the future.

Quantities of 5, Domestic (mix-and-match between issues to make 5 copies is fine, simply add wholesale cost to postage) 5 OT6: $30 Weight: 2.5 lbs Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $4.80 (2 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $34.80 (plus .70 cents paypal fee, if applicable)

5 OT5: $22.50 (wholesale $4.50 per issue, including cd) Weight: 2.25 lbs Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $4.80 (2 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $27.30 (plus .55 cents paypal fee, if applicable)
5 OT4: $17.50 (wholesale $3.50 per issue, no cd with this issue) Weight: 1.75 lbs>Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $4.80 (2 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $22.30 ((plus .50 cents paypal fee, if applicable)

Quantities of 6-15, Domestic: Up to 15 zines fit into Priority Mail Regular Flat-Rate Boxes (possibly more if the order contains more copies of OT4 than OT5 or OT6) Add $9.85 postage to wholesale price of zines, listed above.

Quantites of 16 or more, Domestic: Contact Ben West for price. Options include Parcel Post or Bound Printed Matter mailing, for which I purchased a permit.

Quantites of 5, International (mix-and-match between issues to make 5 copies is fine, simply add wholesale cost to postage) 5 OT6: $30 (wholesale $6 per issue, including cd) Weight: 2.5 lbs Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $12.30 (6-10 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $42.30 (plus .75 cents paypal fee, if applicable)

5 OT5: $22.50 (wholesale $4.50 per issue, including cd) Weight: 2.25 lbs Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $12.30 (6-10 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $34.80 (plus .65 cents paypal fee, if applicable)

5 OT4: $17.50 (wholesale $3.50 per issue, no cd with this issue) Weight: 1.75 lbs Priority Mail® Flat-Rate Envelope: $12.30 (6-10 days) – please note, the flat rate envelopes are not very sturdy, zines may arrive dinged or with bent corners.
Total: $29.80 (plus .65 cents paypal fee, if applicable)

Quantities of 6-15, International: It honestly doesn’t make sense to order either more than five, or fewer than 15 copies internationally, due to the EXTREME cost of shipping. Up to 15 zines fit into Priority Mail Regular Flat-Rate Boxes (possibly more if the order contains more copies of OT4 than OT5 or OT6) Add wholesale cost of zines to $39.85 shipping.

Quantites of 16 or more, International: Contact Ben West for price. The only reasonable option is Priority Mail International shipping. Roughly $49 for 20 zines (8.5 lbs)

Thanks in advance for your support. I am always glad to answer questions. Simply contact Ben West at ben@benwestdesign.net.

Stubb’s BBQ

•July 28, 2008 • 2 Comments

So, sadly we left Lockhart and headed towards Austin. When I first mentioned to Nancee that I wanted to go to Texas to seek out these BBQ bastions she expressed interest in wanting to eat at Stubb’s (www.stubbsaustin.com). I have seen Stubb’s BBQ sauce in stores (although I’ve never purchased it), and Stubb’s is a BBQ joint, so I heartily agreed. When we arrived in Austin we found Iron Works BBQ, first, because it was near our hotel. I had read a little about Iron Works and their “world renowned” BBQ and thought I might like to try it. It certainly radiated “old Texas” charm as it was a simple red tin barn. Nancee commented that their sign did say “real Texas BBQ,” but also commented that we had seen that on several BBQ establishments. I agreed. Funny, I kept thinking of the scene in “National Treasure” when John Voight, playing Nicolas Cage’s father, tells him that the clues are meaningless because they will only lead to OTHER clues which will lead to MORE clues with no end, or treasure, in sight. How long was I going to tromp around Texas searching for BBQ pulling Nancee along with me? I was enjoying myself, but I must admit that even I was starting to lose some steam.

Stubb’s. Stubb’s is located on Red River Street and is something of an Austin landmark. Not only do people go there for Mr. Stubb’s BBQ, but also for the outdoor live music venue directly behind Stubb’s. So on many night you can get a plate of BBQ, enjoy some cold beer and see a live show. Entertainment through the week runs the gamut–a recent listing featured Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters and mascara-core band Bullet For My Valentine. On Sundays they feature Gospel music, indoors, with brunch. This weekly event, with shows at 11 AM & 1 PM, has become so popular that it is best to call ahead for reservations: 512.480.8341.  

Stubb’s was a lot more refined inside that I had imagined. This is not a bad thing although my original idea of Stubb’s did not feature hardwood floors and distressed, “shabby chic,” ceilings. I guess I was expecting something more rough-and-tumble and akin to a dive or hole-in-the-wall. Some of the best BBQ joints or “shacks” care little for appearances, it’s the BBQ that matters most, but in Stubb’s defense it was obvious that they took their BBQ and the establishment itself seriously. Mr. Stubbs takes his BBQ seriously as the sauce bottles on the tables states: “My life is in these bottles.” I was most struck by the large black-&-white photo showing Mr. Stubbs, wearing his distinct cowboy hat, at work tending a smoker in which one imagines brisket, pork ribs and turkey being slowly cooked to tender perfection. Three bottles of his sauce sat on the smoker if I remember correctly. Wow. To have been the one to have taken that photo and spend such intimate time with him.

Nancee ordered the pulled pork sandwich plate and I ordered pork ribs and brisket with cole slaw and some cornbread. Everything was excellent although I still believe Kreuz brisket to be the best because of its “melt-in-your-mouth” quality. Both with and without his famous sauce the meat was flavorful, although I could not truly discern what type of wood the meat was cooked over.

Hickory! It was hickory. I cheated and went to their website. I certainly need to further develop my taste-buds.

The ribs were very good and featured a slight rub which further enhanced the meat’s flavor and texture. I told Nancee that I would most definitely eat there again if she should choose to do so. Strangely, both Nancee and I thought that dessert would be good and I decided on the banana pudding. Oh, my…can you say, “delicacy”! Stubb’s banana pudding was some of the best, smoothest, creamiest banana pudding I had ever eaten. You could tell that it had not been frozen as the Nilla Wafers were still crunchy. You could tell they cared about their banana pudding–there was love in that recipe. I wanted to swim in it although Nancee thought that might be rather difficult. She’s so funny.

After our meal we walked down Red River Street which took us past Emo’s to 6th Street. Emo’s is a legendary venue and I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite bands, World Burns To Death, was playing there the following week a day after we were leaving! I missed them my previous visit to Texas by a day and I was missing them again by a day…I’ve still yet to see them…Maybe some day…

Following our walk we went to find Waterloo Records & Video (www.waterloorecords.com). Waterloo Records is much like Criminal Records (www.criminal.com) in Atlanta. In fact, both are members of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (www.cimsmusic.com). Waterloo caters to most everybody: CDs, DVDs, LPs (new & used), box sets galore, books, magnets and assorted miscellaneous junk. Most, if not all music styles could be found in their racks. They had some metal scattered throughout the store, but it was mostly larger label metal. It would have been nice to have found Nuclear Death’s “Bride Of Insect” on CD, they called Texas home, but I did not find it there. I was somewhat disappointed that they did not have the new World Burns To Death, “The Graveyard Of Utopia,” (neither CD nor LP), especially since World Burns To Death now calls Austin home, but I was able to find two John Zorn “Book of Angels” CDs, “Xaphan” and “Lucifer.” They did have a concentrated “Metal” vinyl section, but most of it was new and re-issued material that I either already owned or did not want. It is great to see that vinyl is making a comeback of sorts, but with rising oil costs, so go LP costs. Xasthur’s “Subliminal Genocide” 2xLP was retailing for $30! It came out on Hydrahead (www.hydrahead.com) so I imagine it’s a limited pressing. I don’t know, it is two LPs after all…

After Waterloo it was back to the hotel to relax. That was our Saturday and we made plans to eat lunch at Salt Lick BBQ (www.saltlickbbq.com) in Driftwood the following day, which was another renowned Texas BBQ establishment that I had not only researched, but that our diner friend at Rudy’s told us about.

[NEXT UP: SALT LICK…]

Momma, I’ve gone to Heaven…The Kreuz Market

•July 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

 

So we left San Antonio and headed towards Lockhart, Texas–The Barbeque Capital of Texas–the home of the Kreuz (pronouned “Kr-ites”) Market (www.kreuzmarket.com). This was one of the featured BBQ establishments from the Travel Channel show. Wiling away time in the hotel I did some further research and found an article at www.texasmontly.com. Once again Kreuz scored high for their BBQ expertise (http://www.texasmonthly.com/magazine/bbq). This time though, they scored “Second Best” in the “Top 50 BBQ Joints” list to a small establishment in Lexington, Texas, which was only open on Saturdays from 8 AM until the meat ran out. With our schedule, as much as I hated it, we would not be able to get to Lexington, but Kreuz was the main destination, originally, so I was happy, although…

We had a little trouble finding it, even with the “construction” directions posted on their website, but we arrived a little after 11 AM. Kreuz was established in 1900, but had moved to a much larger facility and had been housed in their red tin barn since 1999.

I was so excited I almost hyperventilated when we entered. Restrooms are immediately to the left and two large dining rooms flank you as you walk to the smoking/pit room. A sign on the wall states: “No forks” (you have two and they are called hands & fingers), “No sauce” (just meat), “No salad” (they don’t have forks) and “No credit.” They do have an ATM machine at the entrance, which I thought was pretty savvy. I’ve have liberally paraphrased the sign, I should have taken a photo of it, but you get the gist.

If you do not understand, they take their BBQ at Kreuz SERIOUSLY, my friends. This is my kind of place. We had to wait in line and while waiting, sweating (a constant heat pervaded the smoking room), and salivating over the omnipresent smoked meat aroma, we got a chance to see how their operation works. You face two angled wood counters with four registers/weighing scales. The line files out into a “Y.” While you wait in line to be served the angle of the counters focuses your attention on the four low-lying brick pits. When called you approach the counter attendant, who greets you and rips off some red butcher paper. You tell them nicely how much BBQ you want and if you want bread or crackers. Behind the counter attentive cutters stand sharpening large knives/meat forks waiting to slice the meat, which is then served forward, weighed and wrapped in the butcher paper. You pay and go find a seat if you intend on dining in. Nancee ordered sausage again and I ordered a half-pound of ribs and a half-pound of marbled brisket with white bread.

After finding a table you go through another line to get your drinks, no sweet tea was disappointing, and any sides that you may want, which included cheese (cheddar & pepper jack), peppers, beans, onions, sauerkraut, German potatos, etc. This took a long time, which was kind of annoying, but they were busy. I forgot that it was Saturday. I was still thinking it was a weekday. People kept streaming in including a large motorcycle club. It was busy when we got there, and only seemed to grow busier the longer we sat.

How does one describe such succulent flavor! The brisket literally melted in your mouth. I found it better than the Riverside Market’s brisket. The sign was right: you didn’t need sauce. The pork ribs had a slight peppery dry rub on them and were absolutely delicious. They did not slide off the bone, but that was fine. They were not tough or overcooked. They were just right. You could sink your teeth into them and truly enjoy eating them.

I’m not sure what type of wood Kreuz uses to smoke their meat, oak, maybe? (you could see it stacked out back but I could not discern what type of wood it was), but the smoky flavor was perfect–it complimented the meat without overpowering it. Nancee’s sausage was “too granular” for her taste, so she does not have as high of an opinion of Kreuz as I do, but she didn’t have the brisket. She is not a brisket fan…

It was hard for me to leave. I was full to bursting, but wanted more. It was that good. I wanted to get a t-shirt, but they were out of my size (XXL). They should print “after meal” sizes. Larry, the aproned gentleman behind the ice cream counter (Blue Bell), gave me a card and told me to call back and he would certainly help me get a t-shirt when they had more in stock. With that we left and headed towards Austin.

If you want Texas BBQ then you MUST visit Kreuz. You will be doing yourself a favor. Kreuz earns my highest “BBQ Seal of Approval,” although Nancee still disagrees.

[NEXT UP: STUBB’S IN AUSTIN…]

Riverside Market, Boerne, Texas

•July 25, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Taking the advice of the friendly diner at Rudy’s, Nancee and I headed out the following day for Boerne, Texas in search of the Riverside Market. When we first entered Boerne I took a wrong turn and we found ourselves in a residential area. After correcting my mistake, we back-tracked then turned right to proceed down another thoroughfare, and after a few minutes we found ourselves crossing a bridge with the Riverside Market directly in front of us.

The Riverside Market is an old Shell station that still serves as a convenience store, just without any gasoline services. The BBQ counter is located in the back corner and was manned by three gentlemen of varying ages. Initially, I wanted to order a plate, but realized that beyond cole slaw, I wasn’t in the mood to eat anything else but brisket. I changed my order from a plate to cole slaw, a half-pound of marbled brisket and white bread which seemed to confuse the gentleman behind the counter. Maybe I spoke to quickly in my haste to sample their fare. After a few moments I was finally able to communicate my order. Nancee ordered sausage. After a short wait our meal arrived, but they gave me potato salad instead of cole slaw. I decided not to confuse anyone else and just let it be. Nancee searched for sweet tea and found they did not serve it, so we settled for fountain drinks. 

How does one describe “Wow!” The brisket was a little chewy, but still phenomenal. The slight smoky smell danced around my nostrils and the taste was sublime. To push it over the top Riverside’s sauce was beyond belief. Nancee loved it. We both found ourselves wearing out the bread to sop up the remaining sauce, which I had requested as a side due to my sauce reservations after eating at the County Line. It was a good choice, because the brisket was excellent both with and without the sauce. 

After finishing our meal I went to the counter to give our compliments and the oldest gentleman asked, “Where are you from?” I told him, “Georgia”, and explained that we were here due to our experience at Rudy’s the previous day, which illicited a smile. Another gentleman, a customer, and his wife were standing at the counter. He said, “Georgia…I’m from California and when I come to Texas I always eat here.” Which illicited more smiles. If that is not an endorsement then I do not know what is. I thanked the gentleman. I went to the washroom to wash my hands and coming out I happened upon one of the gentlemen from behind the counter. I asked him if they sold their sauce, which he unfortuantely replied that they did not sell it. It was only available at the Market. “If you want some to go…” I shook my head and told him that we didn’t have any means to keep it fresh. He smiled and said, “I guess you’ll just have to come back.” I told him that we would.

And we will. Nancee and I both agreed that we would most definitely eat at the Riverside Market again and Nancee expressed interest in wanting to explore Boerne more, which I thought was/is a splendid idea. Boerne was clean and the people there obviously took a lot of pride in their little town. The roads we drove were lined with cute shops and boutiques.

So, if you can make it to Boerne do yourself a favor and visit the Riverside Market. It is well worth the trip. The old sign out front had “jerky” on it, and I searched for it, but couldn’t find any. I should have asked, but felt weird after the mix-up with my order. I suppose I felt that I didn’t want to bother them, which in hindsight was silly since the small staff there was friendly.   

Almost forgot, the Riverside Market does not have a website, in case you were wondering.

[NEXT UP: THE BASTION OF ALL BASTIONS–KREUZ MARKET…]

Rudy’s BBQ: “The Best-Worst BBQ in Texas”

•July 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

I cannot remember if I read about Rudy’s BBQ (www.rudys.com) while researching BBQ establishments on www.10best.com or in our Frommer’s San Antonio/Austin Travel Guide (www.frommers.com). But once again, Rudy’s was considered to be “quintessential” Texas BBQ and said to be “worth the drive beyond San Antonio city limits.” We decided to try the Leon Springs location. Rudy’s, like County Line, grew from one establishment into a local chain. The following quote was found in the San Antonio Current’s “Best of 2008” issue (www.sacurrent.com):

“Rudy’s is a good reminder that behind every chain is a wo/man and a myth, and that sometimes purveyors of rustic Texana are actually hawking a reasonable facsimile. In this case, those occasional long Sunday lines outside the “country store” (quotes theirs) began in 1989 in scenic Leon Springs, when Q was added to the 60-year-old gas station and grocery. From there, the family-owned business, a direct descendant of the Leon Springs founder Max Aue, spread as far as Lubbock, El Paso, and even Albuquerque. But, shoot, we’re just reading this off the website so we can finish this writeup and head out to second-place winner and personal favorite Bob’s Smokehouse. [See our San Antonio Backyard Barbecue Issue, October 17, 2007, to find out why.]” I find it weird that they would list Rudy’s as the “best,” but pick their favorite as Bob’s Smokehouse. Whatever…

After a 20+ minute drive we found the Leon Springs location at a busy crossroads. Rudy’s was connected to a gasoline station and above the tin roof the sign stated “Rudy’s BBQ: The Worst BBQ in Texas.” A vinyl banner tacked up near the entrance stated, “Thank you for voting Rudy’s the “Best-Worst” BBQ.” I believe the sign was thanking local readers of the San Antonio Express-News.

You enter Rudy’s BBQ and store and pull a bottle of soda or beer from the wall-tubs filled with ice. You are immediately hit by the wonderful smoky smell and heat coming from the pits behind the counter. At Rudy’s you order meat by weight. My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I ordered a pound of pork ribs, a half-pound of marbled brisket and cole slaw. Nancee ordered a sausage link, pickle and peach cobbler. We carried our food inside the convenience store on old plastic Pepsi bottle flats to get out of the heat and sat down at long conference tables covered with vinyl red-and-white check tableclothes with other hungry, sun-baked customers. The meat, both the ribs and brisket, were very good. Rudy’s “Sause” was spicy and featured plenty of kick. Nancee was amazed that I was consuming so much and honestly, I met my limit, but plowed ahead with gusto. While sitting there a very nice local woman who overheard our conversation told us that if we wanted “better” BBQ, although she did like Rudy’s, we should go to Boerne, Texas (pronounced “Burn-e”) to the Riverside Market, an old Shell gasoline station, and sample their brisket. This lady, we should have gotten her name and address, told us that she drove from the “other side” of San Antonio to Boerne (15 minutes past Leon Springs) to eat at the Riverside Market. She also told us about The Grist Mill in Gruene (pronouned “Green”), which was not BBQ, but was an excellent restaurant that also housed the oldest dancehall in Texas. When I told her that we were searching for the “best” BBQ we could find she also recommended Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas. We thanked her and headed back to San Antonio, but made plans to visit Boerne the following day for lunch. 

The relaxed local atmosphere was perfect and I would most definitely eat at Rudy’s again. You could buy their sause if you chose and I believe they sold a dry rub as well. Check their website. Next time I will eat less meat so that I may get a Blue Bell Bombstick (chocolate and banana) ice cream, which I never saw again during our stay.

[NEXT UP: RIVERSIDE MARKET…]

BBQ Bastions: County Line

•July 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

So, after arriving in San Antonio and settling into our room at the 4-star La Mansion del Rio, which Nancee scored through www.hotwire.com, we decided to start our BBQ tour at the locally renowned, and supposedly award-winning, County Line BBQ (www.countyline.com). Our hotel was directly on San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk and just so happened to be diagonally across from a County Line BBQ establishment. When entering/exiting our room, which faced the beautiful and unique Nix Medical Building (the first hospital in the country to feature air conditioning), you could smell the smoke wafting over the Riverwalk. A clock on the Navarro Street side of the building stated “It’s BBQ time.”

County Line, like several other Texas BBQ joints, started out as a single location, but expanded into franchise locations once word-of-mouth started to spread. County Line was listed in our guidebook and I read some online reviews stating that County Line was “legendary” and “quintessential Texas BBQ.” With such a statement running through my mind my interest was most certainly piqued since whenever I travel I want to sample the most authentic, and if possible best, local fare I can find.  

Like most “meat-oriented” chain restaurants County Line assaults you with the “traditional” roadhouse atmosphere with nailed bric-a-brac covering the walls, smiling servers wearing plenty of “flare”–Office Space, anyone?–and large menus that feature a lot of dishes not BBQ. I’m a traditionalist and what I like about “real” BBQ establishments (if they’re good and proper), is that they serve BBQ. They do not need to serve anything else, because their reputation stands upon the BBQ’s quality. As Nancee said, “When I go to a BBQ joint I’m not there to eat their salmon.” An excellent point. Side dishes are fine, cole slaw, baked beans and hash are certainly staples, but honestly, beyond white bread and sweet tea or soda, all one needs is the meat.

I ordered the “Five-Meat Sampler Plate” consisting of marbled brisket, pork ribs, cracked pepper turkey, a beef rib and sausage. Nancee ordered a side and intended to share the sampler with me. I was pretty excited about the upcoming meal, but was extremely disappointed when our server arrived with a huge platter of food and all of the meat was smothered in sauce. Now, I like sauce just as much as anyone, but I am a firm believer that I should be given the “choice” to decide if I want sauce or not, because what if I don’t like the sauce? Well, I ate the meat begrudgingly because I really didn’t like the sauce, which was quite thick and fairly bland. There was no kick or distinctive flavor that I noted. Nancee agreed. She barely touched any of the meat. The beef rib actually had a spot without sauce on it and although the rib was flavorful it was not enough to counter the overload of sauce. The sausage was spicy from what I could tell, but it would have been much better not slathered in the sauce. The sauce! It was everywhere! Sauce, sauce, everywhere and I could not eat! The brisket was not particularly tender. The best item on the Sampler was the turkey, I like cracked pepper turkey, but there was only a small amount. The cole slow was chunky and passable, but I prefer shredded.

Overall, eating at County Line BBQ was like eating at any other chain restaurant. From my experience, although our server was attentive, I would not eat there again. In light of what I later ate, I would not consider County Line to be “legendary.”

[NEXT UP: RUDY’S…]