Tuesday, April 06, 2010

BBQ Quest: Dead End BBQ

I was heading out to West Knoxville on business the other day and looking for lunch on the way when it occured to me that I still had not tried Dead End BBQ on Sutherland Ave. It was a beautiful day, so it seemed like the perfect time to try out Dead End's patio.

The atmosphere is very nice if you're looking for something that isn't the typical BBQ dive. It reminds me a little of the Sticky Fingers franchise in Chattanooga and the Carolinas. There's a fancy-schmancy bar and the patio has a humongous flat-screen TV (though when we were there it was tuned to CNN without any closed-caption, so I'm not really sure the point there).

The menu kind of reminded me of Sticky Fingers too for its sheer variety. I spent probably 10 minutes gazing at the things I wanted to try while reminding myself that this BBQ Quest was focused on pulled pork sandwiches. I really wanted to try the BBQ nachos, BBQ sliders and the cheese dip w/ pulled pork mixed in (you get Fritos for dipping!). But, alas, I only have so much room in my belly so they'll have to wait for another time.

So, about the pulled pork for which I quest. It was good. It wasn't my favorite, but it's enough to satisfy a basic barbecue craving. It was mostly tender. It's already got some sort of seasoning or sauce mixed into it, which I was ambivalent about because while I liked the taste I felt like it masked the flavor of the meat a little too much. (If you accuse me of being picky, you won't be the first one).

Dead End offers three different kinds of sauces with the bottles right there on the table. They seemed to each be a variation of the same thin, vinegary sauce with increasing level of spiciness The flavor was decent, but again, not my preference.

The sides. like the nontraditional pork offerings, all piqued my interest. I ended up going with corn on the cob, which was oozing with butter and delicious -- hard to ruin corn on the cob. I also got the mac and pimento cheese. It was, well, very pimentoey. My dining companion got the beans and smoked sausage as a side. The sausage didn't do much to improve the beans, so I'd recommend going with the standard side of beans, known as the Mayor's Beans.

As I'm reading back over this post, it almost sounds like I didn't like Dead End. Please don't get that impression. Overall it's a nice package, and if I wanted to get barbecue with several friends with diverse tastes Dead End would be a great place to go. The service was solid, and I will be going back to try some sliders and nachos AND the peanut butter pie that's listed under desserts. But if my Memphis tastebuds need a barbecue fix, Dead End just isn't quite my style.

Dead End BBQ (that link has a menu and all the info you could want)
3621 Sutherland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37919-4309


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I want to try those nachos. Like right now.

ck said...

The nachos are GOOD. Definitely go back and try them.

Anonymous said...

Quibble: when I went, what I was served was shredded roasted pork, not barbecue. Barbecue is cooked slowly over indirect heat, and my meat was very juicy and pretty clearly had been cooked over much higher heat. But, it was tasty enough, so no big whoop.

The Modern Gal said...

Anon: Maybe that's why I felt pretty meh about the pork. It was decent, but there WAS something off about it. I just thought it was the sauce/seasoning.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't smoky at all, either. I sort of wonder whether they are just cooking it in an oven.

athomp said...

Try the Banana Pudding, it's was the highlight of my venture there!