Wow! Best brisket I've ever had. Quite an amazing meal here, and certainly worth the wait.
I have driven past Four Rivers Smokehouse a number of times and there has always been a line, out to the road. I wondered, "what was the attraction?" The reviews on urbanspoon.com have pretty much all raved about the food. A few fellow bloggers, as well, have given this place the thumbs up. But always a line? Well, I guess that means something.
My friend Tommy and I decided to "tough it out" and headed down to four rivers on a recent Friday night. Indeed, there was quite a line. It took us a bit to find some parking, but we did and got into the back of the line. It was not moving very fast. But the place was a beehive of activity, no doubt. We ended up visiting with some newfound "friends" in the line. Turns out we were newbies and they had all been there before. And indeed, they came back expecting to wait a long time in line--they said it was just that good.
Our wait was somewhat tempered--and somewhat made all the more that anxious--by one of the staff who came around twice with tantalizing samples of the food--first some pulled pork and later some pulled chicken. This sample did not dampen our appetite at all, but only served to whet it. Great marketing technique!
So, about 45 minutes after first getting in line, we finally got to place our orders. We both settled on a dinner with an extra meat which included three sides and a biscuit. We chose wisely so as not to overlap the sides, but both settled on brisket and pulled pork for our meats. A tray was produced, a sheet of paper put on it, some hieroglyphics written on it (our order, I guess) and our meats piled on the paper. Then our sides were also added and finally we went out to the self-serve patio....a series of picnic tables. We found our drinks and our plastic tableware and proceeded to make new friends.
The verdict? Well, it was the best damned brisket that I'd ever...ever... had. It was worth all the wait and them some. Plastic tableware? The brisket was so tender I never even touched the plastic knife. I was totally in awe of this food.
Both Tommy and I had the brisket and the pulled pork, and we both thought it to be awesome. For my sides I had the BBQ Beans---they were excellent with a nice meaty flavor and just a hint of vinegar. I also had mac an cheese which was good, and a cheese grits cake--true heaven for a grit-lover like me. And the biscuit was also very good.
I have to mention the sauces--there were two. And both were very good. For the normal palate, there was a normal, very good BBQ sauce. For the heat lover such as myself, there was an extra-hot variety--and I loved it.
The brisket itself (and the pulled pork, too, for that matter) showed that they were cooked with excellent technique. I'm told they cook the brisket for 19 hours and that does not surprise me. You do not get brisket that tender in short time. It was indeed awesome. I'll note too that the server knew how to cut it--I watched as he cut around any fat and gristle and made sure that what I had was all meat and good meat--excellent job.
For sides Tommy had the coleslaw--it was very good, and fried Okra. I liked the fried Okra and thought it cooked well, though it needed just a bit of salt. But overcooked and poorly prepared okra is slimy, and this was not--it was done just right. And for his third side he had one of the best side dishes of the night--sweet potato casserole. This was pure whipped, creamy sweet potatoes with some pecans--not overly sweet, just a lot of sweet potato love in it.
We had four excellent meals here. Two on Friday night, and each had enough to take home for another excellent meal. A 45-minute wait? Worth every minute of it. Will I be back? I'm already plotting my next visit. Best BBQ I've ever had? Yes, withouth a doubt!