Joe's Quest

Finishing the quest

Here’s my first blog post when I started the quest in June of 2017. Initially I wanted to do all the visits in a year and it ended up taking about a year and a half to get it all done. Interesting that I started with 69 on the list and ended up with 70. A lot were added along the way and a lot closed along the way. Just a reminder, I did not include national barbecue chains on my list and for local chains I only visited one location. So I didn’t go to all of the Gates locations, just one of them.

I am going to announce the top 21 barbecue places on my list. Number 19, 20 and 21 had pretty close to the same score, so I decided to announce through number 21.

Please keep in mind, that while I may have tried multiple selections at some restaurants, I tried brisket at every one. I also had fries at every one that offered fries. As an amateur barbecue chef and smoker, I know that brisket is one of the most difficult cuts of meat to master. That’s why I chose brisket.

I realize my taste may be different than someone else’s taste and I realize I may get some push back on my choices. It’s ok. I have thick skin. That being said, let’s try to keep all the feedback positive. I was originally going to announce the top 10, but there ended up being 20 in my top 10, so I decided to do 20 and then decided on 21.

In judging the brisket, it had to be warm, juicy and tender with a smoke flavor to the meat. A tasty rub is a plus and I love a crunchy bark. Neatly trimmed of fat is also a plus. I’m not a fan of chewy meat and I had quite a few chewy pieces of brisket during the quest. Remember, I’m just judging the meat even though I did talk about the fries, sauces and ambiance of each restaurant in my blog.

I’ve been a “meat and potatoes” guy since I was a kid. I like almost every kind of meat if cooked properly. Am I a perfect judge? No, far from it. But I like to think I know what I’m talking about when searching for great barbecue.

I’m going to announce the top 21, one a day, around 5:00 every day starting tomorrow. When we get to the top four, we’ll set up a day and time at each of those restaurants for a visit so we can all enjoy the barbecue together. That’s what it’s all about!

So stay tuned tomorrow as number 21 will be announced around 5:00. Thanks again for your support and encouragement and remember….let’s keep it positive!

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