Thursday, January 3, 2013

C. G. Hooks Eatery – White Bear Lake, MN (Bar-B-Quest Championship!)

It’s the final round of the 2013 Bar-B-Quest and it’s C.G. Hooks against Q Fanatic. We had recently been to C.G. Hooks, so I won’t go into a ton of detail in the review, but I do want to make sure people know what to expect. C.G. Hooks is top-notch BBQ and they beat a lot of also-good BBQ joints to get to the final round. So far, they beat Ikea, Lee’s & Dee’s (the number one seed), and Hickory Hut. No small feat if you ask me.

So, LowVee, Kevin, and HotGirlsBrother met me for lunch. It’s the middle of winter, but this place is still going strong. We ordered our usual orders – baby back ribs with cornbread and beans and coleslaw for all of us. I also got an order of potato wedges to start with, since I was the first one there. And, since they have 1919 root beer on tap, I and almost everyone else got a large glass of that. I love that stuff.

The wedges came out and still weren’t super crispy. I had asked the server if she could make them a little crispier than they normally are when I ordered, but it didn’t happen. They taste delicious, but they’re still floppy enough to have texture issues going on with them. They do have the dry rub seasoning on them, which is fantastic. So I’m hard pressed to complain about these. That being said, they didn’t last long on our table.

The baked beans were a variety of different beans. Some large, some small. They also have some pieces of meat cut up in the beans. Coupled with the seasonings they put in here, none of us were disappointed with the baked beans. They’re always really good here.

Cole slaw – pretty good slaw, plenty of seeds and seasonings. It’s a good complement to the smoky flavor of the ribs. It isn’t the best in the world, but it’s pretty darn good with these ribs.

The cornbread is awesome. It’s in the shape of a fish, which makes it fun, but it honestly is sweet, crispy on the outside, and fantastic. No butter required.

The ribs – This is what you come here for. There is plenty of meat on the bones and there is a nice char on the outside. Not all the way across, but a considerable amount of bark. Nothing to complain about. This time around, the ribs were a little fattier than we’d had in the past (you can see the detail in the photo), but I know the fat flavors the meat. It was just not as melt-in-your-mouth as usual. Some bits of gristle to contend with. Don’t get me wrong – the flavor was still there and combined with our expert BBQ sauce chemistry wizard HotGirlsBrother, it makes for a realllllly impressive rack of ribs. Here's the recipe: two parts K.C., one part Ghost, and a splash of Carolina Vinegar. Bam!

Here's how LowVee likes to make her sauce. I think she has a "problem". Of course, that means, HotGirlsBrother and I are enablers...

We opted to not get ice cream this time, even though we were all eye balling the case. They have fantastic ice cream here and if it weren’t 3 degrees outside, we may have done it. Next time…

We said a number of times, no matter how the championship turns out, we’ll be back here to C.G. Hooks this summer and rent a pontoon boat to go out on the lake for a few hours with some ribs and beers. That sounds like the best afternoon ever, in my book. We shall see how C.G. Hooks fares after we go to Q Fanatic the following day.

Here’s the Bar-B-Quest bracket as it stands now. I’m really looking forward to seeing who comes out on top!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it - you've worked hard at this - but you've left the very best contender out!

Bayport BBQ, just south of Stillwater in Bayport? Best ever. Don't call that winner until you've tried them :)