How To Tell The Quality Of A Barbecue Restaurant By Its Menu Offerings

barbecue platter
barbecue platter - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

There are a few simple ways to tell if you're eating in a good barbecue restaurant, one being the joint is always packed. Another sign, according to Tasting Table's own Sarah Bisacca, an Atlanta native who revealed her 12 telltale signs of a great BBQ restaurant from a Southerner, is in the restaurant's menu.

Bisacca stated, "When a barbecue joint offers tasting platters with options to mix and match multiple types of meat, consider it a thumbs-up. It shows that the crew is confident in their meat game... You get to experience the pure, unadulterated flavor of each meat without any distractions." With tasting platters, none of the smoked meat is loaded with sauce or hiding in a sandwich bun. These tasting platters are sometimes called "meat dinners" and come with sides. With a tasting platter, you can, for example, experience the restaurant's pulled pork, ribs, smoked chicken, and brisket, all at once.

On the other hand, it's best not to order the "slop" bucket of the menu. "Slop" buckets often include a combination of leftover and scrap food or food that the restaurant has trouble selling.

Read more: Styles Of Regional BBQ In The US

Tasting Platters And Customizable Options Are Tell-Tale Signs The BBQ Restaurant Is Good

bbq pulled pork sandwich
bbq pulled pork sandwich - Stphillips/Getty Images

If you check out our list of the 50 absolute best BBQ restaurants in the U.S., you'll see many of these establishments, like Mighty Quinn's Barbecue, Sweet Lew's BBQ, and Cattleack Barbecue offer three-meat, combo, or sampler platters. Heim Barbecue, another BBQ restaurant that made it on our list, offers another option for its customers, an option that you may miss if you don't study the menu.

This menu option is another way to tell the quality of a barbecue restaurant. Heim Barbecue lets you buy different meats by the quarter pound. Bisacca explained, "Another telltale sign of a great barbecue restaurant? When they let you buy meat by the quarter pound. Sometimes, you're just craving a taste of brisket or a nibble of ribs and don't want to go overboard. Buying in quarter-pound increments means you can mix and match to your heart's content..." Plus, when you're just sampling a bit of everything, you will have room left for the delicious sides, like baked beans, cornbread, and desserts. Buying different meats by the quarter pound may not always be a written menu option, but you can always ask your server to see if the option is available.

Read the original article on Tasting Table