Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rooster’s BBQ Deli & Catering – St. Paul, MN (Bar-B-Quest 2011)

The Rib Quest continues… Next on the list was Rooster’s.
We’d been to this place before and had decent luck here, so we had a good feeling about it. LowVee and HotGirlsBrother were stuck in traffic when I arrived, so I ordered them a surprise batch of deep fried cheese curds. Just as they came out of the fryer, LowVee and HotGirlsBrother walked in the door. Perfect timing. The cheese curds are delicious, by the way. Just order them while you’re spending time trying to decide what to order. All the menus are on the wall (they’re in print form, as well, but it’s not as much fun as staring at the wall is), so you get a good idea how many things this place offers.

We all got a half slab of ribs (spicy), which comes with French fries and coleslaw. We also got a pint of baked beans to split. There were really nice people working the counter were cracking up that LowVee couldn’t decide on her drink choice (she really did make it harder than she needed to – twss). We had already finished the cheese curds, so we made sure we knew the standings of the rib quest and who was going to be the next on the chopping block.

The food arrived in multiple waves, sides first. We dug into the fries and were fairly happy with them. Nothing special on these fries, no magic dust, just a tiny bit of salt, and done, but not crispy or anything. These were pretty standard fries. The coleslaw was also decent. I was amused to see the cabbage cut into very very very tiny pieces, so it was more cabbage shrapnel, than slaw. The flavor was decent, though it could have had more flavor, as opposed to just the mayo it was in. The roll was just a standard roll. Nothing too fancy, although it did come with a little container of something buttery tasting – not exactly butter – but buttery tasting, as indicated on the packaging.

The ribs arrived and we were impressed with how they looked. These large slabs of meat were sitting in a pool of delicious looking BBQ sauce. The sign on the wall talks about how the ribs were a Memphis style rib – dry rubbed and smoked, and THEN you add the sauce after they’re cooked (and then apparently the sauce is also poured into the bottom of the dish used to serve the ribs). Apparently, this was a pretty rare occurrence back in the day. We started in on the ribs. They were much more tough than we expected them to be. Not sure if they were cooked to short at a high temperature or just some tough meat, but I won’t pretend to know, either. They were pretty tough to get through. It took a lot of work to get most of the meat off the bone.

You can tell how much meat was left on the bone by this amazing rib bone-quet I created with my leftover coleslaw bowl. Yeah, I’m creative like that. There was a lot of meat on the bone and not much gristle, but you really had to put in some significant minutes to get the meat. Sad but true. The BBQ sauce in the bottom of the paper boats these things arrived in was good for dipping French fries into, but that was about all the use we got out of the sauce at this place. We were a little disappointed with the ribs here, to be honest. We remember them being a lot better tasting last time, with much less effort, and having more kick to them.

We were discussing this, in fact, when we realized we hadn’t even cracked open the container of baked beans. I scooped some out first and reported back to the other two: wowwwwwwww, these beans are sweet. Not a little bit sweet, but like they dumped a ton of sugar in them. And not delicious brown sugar. Like the white sweet kind. HotGirlsBrother couldn’t even eat them (he tried a bite and didn’t finish it) and LowVee didn’t even try after our raving reviews. Not a fan.

We were more than a little disappointed with Rooster’s showing. They had won some awards for heir food back in 2010 and many years before that, but tonight they weren’t “on”. Bummer for us. But it made our decision to move Rack Shack up in the bracket. Rack Shack would have won anyway, unless Rooster’s put up a game changing performance. But alas, Rack Shack moves ahead.

Here’s the updated bracket:

Top 5 things about Roosters BBQ Deli and Catering
1. Deep fried cheese curds
2. Super friendly folks working
3. Very diverse menu
4. Sauce in the bottom of the boat was excellent match for the fries
5. They had Dew

Bottom 5 things
1. Tough rib meat
2. Painfully sweet baked beans (we’ll henceforth refer to them as Wonka Beans)
3. Boring unseasoned coleslaw
4. French fries were underwhelming
5. The sit down Galaga game was unplugged… sigh.

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