I just tried out some food from a new BBQ Restaurant I had high hopes for here in Edmonton called "Smokehouse BBQ". I'd post the link to the website if only to show the ridiculous prices and pretentious nature of the place, but I won't even do that. This place doesn't deserve the attention.
First, the prices are higher than even the trendy steak and rib joints. Almost $10 for a pint of beer when the other joints sell it for $6.50. $12.95 for a basic pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwich. $26.95 for a "full rack" of ribs (which is $18.95 at the trendy rib joint I won't name).
The ribs tasted like lightly-smoked ham-on-a-stick marinated in dish soap - they tasted almost exactly like the batch of "enhanced" ribs I cooked after I bought some by accident a few years ago, except these ones had less smoke taste. Conversely, the pulled pork was bland - no spice, no bark, and very little smoke ring or flavor. My grandma could have done a better job just by putting a pork roast in her oven and leaving it in there too long.
But the absolute worst was something called a "Pig Ball". Supposedly it's a fried rice ball with a center of pulled pork and a tangy sauce. In reality, it was a rock hard ball of fried rice with about a teaspoon of what passed for pulled pork in it, and the sauce was pretty close to flavored ketchup and Tabasco. (In fact, I'm almost certain it was generic No Name BBQ sauce with Tabasco added.) Half of that "pig ball" went into the garbage.
It's disappointing, but ten years ago I could have named half a dozen great BBQ or grill restaurants in my home town of Edmonton. Now I can't even name one.
There's a solution, though. When I get home I'm pulling out a couple slabs of ribs and a couple shoulders out of the freezer and doing it right this weekend. That's the only thing that can wash the taste of the soapy hamsicles away, I figure.