eating indie in indy

bbq

Greens & Things Eatery 4709 Shadeland Ave.

This place used to be called Bookers BBQ. We reviewed it in January 2017 and then they were out of BBQ so there won’t be any comparisons.

Pat order the pulled pork meal which comes with 2 sides for $12. I think he was bummed that it came in the form of 2 sandwiches. He is still avoiding non beer carbs and was expecting a pile of pork on a plate with a side of green beans and greens. He had the meat scraped of the buns before I had a chance to even think of taking a picture.

Pulled pork pulled from the buns.

I decided on a half slab rib dinner with collard and coleslaw also $12. I also ordered a small side of hush puppies.

My greens

Hush puppies!

I ordered my food with sauce on the side (SOS). I got it hot which had an interesting flavor. It was simply a sweet sauce with hot sauce added. I have had it at other joints but this one had a more vinegar kick, which I enjoyed. The ribs could have spent more time on the fire. They had a bit of fat and were a bit chewy. They weren’t the best I have had nor were they the worse. There was no noticeable smoke ring so I figured they were cooked in an oven. More time in the oven would have made then more tender and rendered more of the fat. Since this joint is new I have faith that they will get it together. The coleslaw was nice and sweet which I like with BBQ. The greens did have a nice flavor but they could have used a touch of crushed red pepper and a shot of vinegar. The pups had a great corn flavor and would have been great dipped into the collard pot liquor but I didn’t get much liquid in my greens.

Their menu is pretty basic and seems to cover most of the country food groups.

Overall I enjoyed my lunch. I was full and I had some food to take home. I will enjoy a return trip. They have a bunch of sides and they also have meatloaf on Sundays. It isn’t close but it is an easy drive.

 

 

 


The Rib Kitchen 1501 Prospect Street

This is a new joint that opened in November 2017. As I was told by the owner after they opened they closed for a while to do some re-organization. They did the re-organization well because this is a neat little joint. The menu is intentionally sparse. They also do a nice array of deep-fried appetizers sold by the pound. On the Q menu they only offer ribs and rib tips reserving the smoking of brisket and pork shoulder for specials.

This little guy stands at the counter where you order. The building used to house a KFC so the format is similar.

Pat and I both ordered the special. A pulled pork sandwich with a drink and 2 sides for $9.99. What he didn’t mention was the order of fried mushrooms we shared. The owner was kind enough to split them up for us. The mushrooms were interesting, the batter was tasty just a bit thick. I agree with Pat’s assessment on the pig and the sides 100 percent.

These are our 2 sides. Creamy slaw and Greens. The slaw wore a creamy dressing that coated without drowning the cabbage and the greens were in that perfect range of done but still having some tooth. The man also makes his own sauce which was really good as well. As we ate he told us about the brisket that he had to try as a special in the near future. A slow smoked brisket sounds wonderful, so that will be for my return trip.


The Patio 7206 E. Washington Street

The building that houses the Patio used to be a fast food place.( Arby’s?) Now it is a some of this, some of that Mom and Pop joint. The menu is extensive. They called themselves a Mediterranean Restaurant. Well they have that covered with Gyros and pizza. They also toss in a few BBQ items, some Mexican choices as well as fried fish, burgers and Tenderloin. A big menu. The Gyros were recommended but we felt more like BBQ.

This is not a place I would normally order ribs from. To me ribs cry out for a smoker and this place has none. So they would be baked; hopefully not boiled beforehand. Well I think they were boiled a bit before baking but they were still pretty tasty. They reheated them on a flat top and then sauced them. The meat wasn’t falling off the bone but you could separate the bones with a plastic knife so I think they passed the tender test. I was surprised at how meaty the ribs were, often spare ribs are a bit sparse. The slaw was very good. A mayo based dressing with a bit of vinegar that gave it a very nice acidity. I agree with Pat about the fries. They were fried perfectly. Crisp exterior and tender in side.

The only weak link would be the toast. Their attempt was laudable ( a touch of rosemary ) but it could have been toastier. However in the operators defense he may have felt hurried. Pat was up to retrieve the food prematurely so the guy may have felt like he had to sell it asap. However you could make a point he should have dropped the bread sooner. But that is such a nit I won’t attempt to pick it. Any more than I already have.

So we had a very nice full slab of ribs dinner for $19.25. We ordered an extra side of slaw and I think they gave us an extra side of toast and our total was about $22 ; including tax.

All of their prices seem more than reasonable and as big as the menu is if you can’t find something you want you aren’t hungry.

 

The Patio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Hoffa’s BBQ 800 E. Main St. Westfield Indiana.

This is a rather peculiar building. A big metal thing with the entire outer surface painted in such a way as to suggest it is actually many different shops. I only photographed the 2  functioning doors. It was cold and sleeting that day.

Inside it was cozy and quite utilitarian. You ordered at a counter and then when they called your name you picked it up. Simple and efficient. We got there a few minutes before noon and it was just starting to pick up steam. By 12:15 there was a considerable line.

This is the only smoker I could see; and it wasn’t working that day. I wonder if they have a tough time keeping up.

Did you notice anything odd about Pat’s sides? They offer Jasmine rice. I have never been to a BBQ joint that had rice. Unless it was Korean BBQ.

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When I go to a BBQ joint I usually go with brisket. If they have it.

My sides were slaw and baked beans. The beans were pretty good. Not as thick as I would like but pretty good. The slaw was nice but not the best I have had. Which brings us to the beef. It was nice and tender and pretty lean. Just enough fat to add flavor. I could not detect much smoke though. It was pretty good and it went well with the 2 sauces we tried. The sweet and the spicy.

Our lunches were thoroughly legit and reasonably priced. A half pound of meat with 2 sides and 2 rolls for less than $9. I am with Pat though. It is too far to drive with any regularity. I will say this if I lived closer I would be back. They make their own Key Lime pie and peach cobbler.

 

Big Hoffa's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Soul Bear Bar-B-Que 9120 Crawfordsville Rd. Clermont In.

We heard about this place when we had lunch at Jimbo’s, which is about a quarter-mile away. They don’t have a very big electronic foot print but I was able to find out enough to make me decide it was worth the drive. It is a basic BBQ joint with a basic menu. In addition to the usual pig and chicken they also sell fried fish.

Pat and I decided to share a full slab of ribs. A slab comes with 2 sides. Pat opted for greens while I decided on mac and cheese. Since we ate the same thing I only took 2 pictures. Unfortunately I screwed one up, so I can only show the one.

The pile of bones was huge. So big that we were able to eat our fill and have some left to take home.

I thought the ribs were pretty good. They had a good smokiness and while not falling off the bone they were still tender and juicy. I think they rank in the top 5 ribs I have had in the city. Their BBQ Sauce was excellent. We got medium and it had a bit of spice to it. They ladle sauce over the ribs just before service giving a nice puddle in the bottom to dip your bread in. The sides were rather small but with the pile of meat you get the sides are really secondary. I couldn’t make any comparison between this joint and Jimbo’s because Bear doesn’t do brisket. I can compare mac and cheese though and I liked Bears a bit more. It had a more “natural” cheese flavor.

It is a drive but I can see myself going back for the rib tips. Clermont is really a nice little town. It sits in the shadow of its more famous neighbor Speedway but it is doing pretty well on its own. Two BBQ joints, a coffee shop and a great little bar all within a half mile. It is large enough to support local business and still small enough to avoid the Starbucks encroachment. I think is a town with a future.


Jimbo’s BBQ 9211 Crawfordsville Road

This joint is located in an old house right on US 136. They have limited seating and parking in the rear. Just in case you aren’t sure where you are this is on the side of the house.

It is small place that is as neat as a pin. All of the food they offer is listed on 2 chalkboards on the wall.

As soon as you park and step outside your car you can smell it. When you walk through the front door you can smell it. A carnivore’s dream. Smoked meat. Pat and I both enjoy BBQ and have eaten at several but I don’t recall that many joints that offer chili; and none that offer Brunswick stew. The stew tempted me but I was there to try the BBQ so I ordered their brisket special with one side and drink for $8.99.

The bun was pretty generic but the brisket was far from being run of the mill. It had a nice smoke ring and an excellent smoke flavor. It was also very tender and lean. The sandwiches come undressed but they offer 4 different sauces at the table. Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina. The first three are tomato based with varying degrees of sweetness. The Carolina a vinegar based. I liked a combo of Carolina and KC. While the meat was exceptional the mac and cheese was ho-hum. Macaroni with canned cheese sauce. Very cheesy just not what I look for in a Mac and cheese.

Pat is right there are several joints that do a good job with pulled pork. It is just a matter of how good that determines where to go. That and location. Clermont is pretty far for the both of us so I can’t see me hanging out there. However I can see myself going back for the stew. That is not something you see every day.

Jimbo's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Woods Speedway 1002 W. 10th Street Speedway In.

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Big Woods is a brewery AND distillery and originated in Nashville Indiana. They also have a joint in Bloomington Indiana. I believe last year they decided to make the move north to Speedway. The home of America’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing; the 500. It is a big beautiful building with an amazing interior of varnished wood.

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Quaff On is the name of the beer they produce. Also each beer has an individual name. So when you order a Quaff On flight you get 5 five ounce pours of beers that are representative of their brewing skills.

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I am not going to begin to describe each beer. I will say they were excellent examples of their craft. All for $13.

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As soon as we pulled up I could smell their smoker. I love smoked meats. I find pulled chicken boring. Brisket is still hit and miss around here. A good smoked pork butt is getting easier to find and from the aroma of their smoker I figured this one should be pretty good.

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It was excellent. A great smokiness and the pickled veggies were a marvelous counterpoint. Of course I would have enjoyed more and a larger variety but carrot and onion are pretty commonplace in most kitchens. The bun was nice and I appreciated the sauce on the side. Their side options were kettle chips with truffle oil and parm, fries or kicked up slaw. For some reason I chose chips. They were okay but I think the truffle and parm bit looked better on paper. I forgot all about the slaw option. That was silly. Next time. My sandwich was $11.25 and Pat’s 2 topping pizza pie was $10.95.

In the beginning I mentioned that Big Woods was a distillery too. Their brand of liquor is called Hard Truth. They offered Vodka, Rum and Gin at first. Now they have a whisky. It is a clear liquor; like moonshine. So in keeping with the spirit of adventure I ordered a Manhattan cocktail.

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It was a wonderful beverage. It was incredibly smooth. Too often when all the components of a cocktail are alcoholic the first taste can be a bit astringent. Not here. That is a testimony to the bartender and the liquor. In my opinion.

Pat and I had a swell time. The food is good. The beer is good. The surroundings are good and the service was outstanding. I think Pat and I will both be back;even though it is a drive for both of us. We think it may be worth it.

Big Woods Speedway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Bookers BBQ 4709 Shadeland Ave.

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This is a little hole in the wall in a strip mall that is supposed to have some good Q.

It is also a neat and tidy little joint.

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I especially liked the window treatment. How often do you see curtain sheers and swags in a business?

Or an aquarium;outside of a Dr.’s office.

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As cozy as the spot was we were quickly disappointed. They were OUT OF Q. It seems they took the last 3 days off for New Years and were building their inventory. I think Pat was more bummed than I. They serve breakfast all day so he was somewhat placated with a bacon platter.

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I had an easy choice. Their House Burger. That is a “big” burger patty filled with peppers and onion; like a meat loaf. Then topped with cheese. I had no idea how big until I got it.

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It was a full pound of meat and I liked everything about it. From the crisp exterior to the peppers and onions inside. From the processed cheese to the over sized toasted bun. It was a guilty treat. As much as I enjoyed it I could only eat half.

Bookers has very reasonable pricing; both of our lunches were $7 each. Frankly I don’t see how they can put out a one pound burger stuffed with onions and peppers for 7 bucks.

Will I be back. Of course. I have to try their BBQ.

Bookers Bar-B-Que Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Grilliant Foods 4320 W. 96th Street

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This a very unique and interesting place. It is a small house in a predominately industrial area, stuck between 2 warehouse type buildings. For years it was just a grocery specializing in Eastern European foods. The place had a commercial kitchen and the owner would occasionally cook up since special meals from the old country. When he decided to retire he needed a special someone to take over. Enter Ernie. He was butcher by trade that had started a catering business that also was active in the competitive BBQ scene. He wanted a commercial kitchen so a deal was made. Ernie could sell his food from the kitchen as long as he maintained the European grocery and deli roots.

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These are two of the smokers Ernie uses. He offers ribs, pulled pork and brisket. He also makes sausage.  Both sweet and spicy Italian as well as Brats. Which he sells both smoked and raw. Their menu is small with a couple of specials tossed in. This day the specials were burnt end chili for $5.99 and beef and noodles for $4.99. For the beef and noodles he used short rib. He smoked them until they fell off the bone and them added them to broth and noodles.

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I wanted the brisket. A decent smoked brisket is still hard to find around here. So that is what I got, for $7.99.

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The meat was chopped which isn’t my favorite way of eating brisket. However I couldn’t complain because the amount I was given was more than generous. Also it had a wonderful smoky flavor. They serve the meat dry and you dress it with your choice of 4 different sauces on a cupboard to the side of the dining room. All of the sauces are pre-made. Sweet Baby Ray’s among them. That tells me that this joint puts it attention to the meat. For an extra 2 bucks I bought a side of baked beans. These were great. Thick and sweet; the way I like them. They could well have been the best I have had. We were also given a sample of their brat. It was delicious and practically melted in your mouth.

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Grilliant also competes in BBQ competition. Hanging above the fireplace are the ribbons they have won.

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So if you have a hankering for some real Q then you can get it on 96th Street. They also have huge breaded tenderloin. Speaking of which they have a challenge plate. One BT, a double order of fries and coleslaw and a full slab of ribs for $40. If you finish in 45 minutes you get your money back. A Fishers fireman tried and failed. I was told that a 119 pound woman body builder is set to try it this weekend. As Pat said it can be tricky to find. As soon as you turn off Michigan Road onto 96th Street start looking. It’s on the north side of the street. That big smoker is right out front.

Grilliant Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Stacey and Rick’s Soul Food 3399 N. Sherman Dr.

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This place is primarily a take out meat and two joint. It does offer 2 booths on opposing ends that will accommodate 8 bodies; if they know each other well. Their small meals are a reasonable $10.

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I decided on a small tip dinner with greens and mac and cheese.

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Well the tips they serve are some of the skinniest I have had in a while. The meat was still tasty,just not a whole lot of it. Their sauce seemed to be a mixture of a prepared BBQ sauce doctored up with some hot sauce. Nice flavor just pretty commonplace. The greens were pretty good,hardly if any meat but they still held that hearty greens taste. The mac and cheese was pretty boring though. Cooked macaroni and a weak cheese sauce. The corn bread tasted like Jiffy. Which is fine with me,I like all types of corn bread; Jiffy included.

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So I would give this place a 3+ out of 5. Good greens and decent cornbread and a fried pork chop that Persnickety Pat liked. I am sure their other food is at least as tasty,it just isn’t a destination for me. However I think if it was in my neighborhood I would try other things if for no other reason than curiosity. And to support local independents.