Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BBQ Quest: Scruggs

Click here for previous BBQ Quest entries.

Working downtownish, I've been looking for a barbecue place near my office to satisfy my midday barbecue cravings. Max and I aimed for Dixons on Magnolia last Thursday only to find they weren't quite open yet (here's a hint: Th-Sat but go AFTER 4 p.m.). Fortunately, Scruggs is just down the road, and it keeps a much more regular schedule.

Scruggs might be easy to miss unless you know this detail: it's attached to a liquor package store. Now let me tell you, Scruggs has the hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint ambiance down to a T, which I absolutely loved. Dark wood-paneled walls, pictures hung of UT football teams from the '50s, a (possibly inoperable) Shaq Attaq pinball machine and an overgrown plant that looked like a cousin of Audrey II's.

photos by max., who forgot to take photos of the actual food.

Upon ordering it occurred to me that I'd forgotten to stop by the ATM on the way over and only had three dollars cash to my name. Here's the Modern Gal's first tip in eating at hole-in-the-wall joints: always have cash. Fortunately, the lady at the counter told me I could pay with credit card. In paying by credit card, I had to take my bill, walk next door to the liquor store, where everything was encased in plexiglass, pay the lady behind the plexiglass and bring my bill back to the restaurant before they'd start putting my order together. Max ran into his own barrier in getting his order filled in that the Coke he ordered was locked in a cooler.

Now, about the food. It was another case of the pulled pork being more chopped than pulled, and it really didn't have the flavor I've been searching for. Or maybe it did have the flavor, but it was oozing with so much wonderfully thick, sweet, tomatoey sauce that I didn't notice. Seriously, Scruggs needs to bottle its sauce and sell it.

The baked beans were perfect too, cooked in the same sweet sauce as the barbecue and, as Max noted, absent of giant vegetables that didn't belong (a reference to F.A.T.S.' jalapeno-laden beans). Scruggs doesn't have straight-up mac and cheese, but they do have this amazing macaroni salad, prepared almost identically to potato salad and every bit as good. Max says the slaw was a smidge dry but still tasty.

Unlike some of the other places we've been we weren't overcome by the food coma by the end of the meal so we also tried some cookies -- a chocolate chip and an M&M. They were edible, but I think they may have also been a week old.

I'll probably go again just because it's a place that's close to work and open during lunch hours and not named Buddy's. The macaroni salad might be enough to bring me back, but I'll probably try either the ribs or the chicken next time.



Scruggs Bar-B-Que
920 E. Magnolia Ave.
(865) 524-4333

11 comments:

ck said...

i've been wanting to go to scrugg's for a while, but my wife (who doesn't share my affection for dives) has always talked me out of it. liquor and bbq in one place? a little rum in your coke might make this the right lunch "package".

The Modern Gal said...

You know, as soon as we left I smacked myself on the head for forgetting to ask if I could bring my "package" from the liquor store over to the restaurant. I guess it's just as well since I had to go back to work.

B said...

i think y'all may have had room for a cookie b/c bbq quest is expanding your capacity to intake food. proceed with caution, friends.

max. said...

it is making me hungry just thinking about it!

Wright said...

If you like ribs you should give Chandler's a try. It's just down the road from Scrugg's.

The Modern Gal said...

Thanks for the suggestion, but we are more on a pulled pork barbecue quest rather than a ribs quest. There are a lot of good ribs in town. We do very much love Chandler's, though!

Discordia said...

I've often passed scrubbs on my journey to the closest Long Johns to my apt over the past 2 years, but I've never muscled the courage to actually stop by...

Charles Maldonado said...

Um, did you all notice you won best blog in Best of Knoxville this year?

www.metropulse.com/news/2009/apr/30/best-local-blogblogger-wigspherecom/

em said...

yes, we had noticed. thanks though!

B said...

ha, i think we're all a little shell-shocked. just taking a moment to take it all in......

RoyMullins said...

This place is so underrated. Ive tried all the other local BBQ joints in Knoxville and Scruggs is by far.

M & M and Dixons have nothing on Scruggs if you ask me.

The 12 bone party platter with Macaroni Salad and Beans is the way to go.

Scruggs is consistent with their quality and Ive never been disappointed with a meal there.