eating indie in indy

bbq

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.


Divine 2 8748 W. Washington Street

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This is a BBQ joint;no more no less. It occupies one half of a building in a predominately industrial area.

When you drive up you can see a smoker out back and a big catering truck on the side. It is built for cue,not for style.

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The sign out front says it all. Chicken,ribs and pulled pork. Of course,as their menu board suggests they also have some more non typical fare,like BBQ nachos and a BBQ Manhattan; which is bread topped with mashed potatoes, pulled pork and BBQ sauce. I’ve never heard of that before but pig and taters does sound interesting. Pat ordered his usual pulled pork sandwich with a mild sauce. They dry rub their pig so the sauce is served on the side.

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The portion they offer is easily a half pound,that is why it is served in a basket with the bun on the side.  With the amount of meat you get you could have made two sandwiches.

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Pat’s sandwich was $5.25 and the porkburger was $3.25. I neglected to take a shot of the burger,but I did get a bite. It was really good. Nice and moist with a decent hint of smoke. I would recommend it as an alternative to the common pulled pork sandwich.

I had the rib dinner for $12. It came with 2 sides and bread,plus sauce. I too got the mild and it had a slight taste of cumin,which I thought was interesting. For my sides I ordered mac and cheese.

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It was creamy and cheesy just not smack in the mouth out of this world. I guess folks don’t finish mac and cheese off in the oven any more,with buttered bread crumbs. For my second side I picked baked beans.

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These were some of the best I have had in town,if not the best. Brown sugar sweet and seasoned with bacon. They would be a wonderful foil to some peppery coleslaw. This brings us to the center of the plate. The ribs. I got 6 nice size bones. The amount was such that I would consider it a half slab;or close to it. The meat was super tender and the smoke waited for just a bit before it hit your taste buds. A bite off the bone,dip in the sauce,repeat. Not only were they delicious they were fun to eat. Definitely worth the trip.

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The place is called Divine 2 but I never got around to ask where or what Divine 1 was. The catering truck? No matter this humble little joint does sell some great BBQ. I think it is more than worth the trip.

Divine 2 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Black Diamond BBQ 6404 Rucker Road

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Black Diamond is a small place with big BBQ. It doesn’t seat many people inside but it has a beautiful out-door area. We opted to stay inside to avoid the sun. They offer $6.99 lunch specials,which consist of a sandwich, side and drink. We opted for something more substantial with meat on a bun dinners. Pat got his usual pulled pork sandwich with sauce on the side.

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Normally I get a taste of whatever Pat is having,but this time I had enough on my plate just to finish. The portions we received were huge. I would guess 8 ounces each. I got the beef on a bun with beans and home made coleslaw. As I said the portion was huge, and since I opted for sweet sauce directly on the sandwich I had to use a fork to eat it.

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The size of the sides were more than adequate to complement the meat. Oh the meat. It was moist and tender and it melted in your mouth. Next time I will opt for SOS

. The beans were so so but the slaw was a nice tart and creamy counterpoint to the sweet sauce.

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So all in all I can’t think of any reason not to like this joint’s food. They also have pie and cobbler on weekends. They are in a great location too. Right off Binford Blvd. Easy access. And the prices are more than reasonable. We ordered 2 dinners and they were about $ 11 each. Like I said a good place to visit.

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Barbecue and Bourbon 1414 W. Main St. Speedway In.

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Yep here we are. Speedway in May. There is just something special about the month of May in Speedway. Granted it is not the month-long spectacle it once was, but it is still a fun time. I would guess Barbecue and Bourbon has only been open for a couple of years, but as you can see from their sign they know how to make you feel welcome.

They don’t have a real big menu but they have all the essentials needed for a BBQ joint, done on their smoker out back. The first thing we ordered was mushrooms for $5.99.

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These were quite tasty. Nice firm mushrooms with a slight coating that stayed in place went you bit into them. Some places just toss them into a pile of breading and hope for the best. These guys do it right.

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All of their dinners come with 2 sides, ala carte they cost $1.99. Pat ordered a pulled pork sandwich for $6.79 and a side of fried cabbage. I got sliced brisket and mac and cheese. The brisket sandwich will cost you $7.99.

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Way back there in the distance you can see the stands that Pat referenced. Not a great view but that sound is hard not to notice.

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My brisket sandwich was nicely done. The meat was moist and tender, lean and tasty.I didn’t detect a lot of smoke but that’s all right it was still a good sandwich and the toasty bun was great. The mac and cheese was better than your average BBQ place. I can only think of one maybe two places that do it better. But it is a side dish after all and it complemented the beef well.

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It was a beautiful day so we ate outside. However we decided to go in side for our adult beverage.

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It is a compact little joint with a compact little bar. However compact or not they have one of the best, if not the best, collection of Bourbons around. Pat had a light beer for $3.75. Me, being the bargain hunter that I am got a Long Island Ice Tea for $2.50. Now I can not remember the last time I had one of those. No matter how dim my memory is I think that this was an out standing cocktail.

So we had good Q and good drinks, all reasonably priced. So the track isn’t the only reason to head to Speedway. Remember. Don’t go Bacon my Heart.

Oops. I put up the wrong pic for Pat’s pulled pork.

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Here it is.

Barbecue and Bourbon on Urbanspoon


Garrett’s Smokehouse Barbeque 5502 N. Emerson Way

Pat and I have tried to hit every Q joint we can find in the area. This place hasn’t been considered because it doesn’t open until 4 PM during the week. On weekends, commencing Friday they open at 11. Since this particular place had mixed reviews it intrigued me, so we changed our plans. Not really sure it was a good decision.

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That's Pat waving at the dude taking pictures

That’s Pat waving at the dude taking pictures

The place is small and clean and has seating for about a dozen diners. They have a small menu featuring the usual fare. Ribs, pulled pork, chicken and brisket. The sides are what you would expect and the deserts are house made. My interior shots will have to suffice because I forgot to take any pictures of the food. And the saddest thing was I didn’t remember that I forgot until I got home.

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They have a cool collection of Pig Art displayed in the corner. All of their tables are covered in red and white checkered cloth and the chairs have an old school flair with comfy seats.

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Since the brisket wasn’t ready I got pulled chicken on an onion bun. The bun was pretty good and not too common around here. The portion was tremendous for $6 but it was pretty dry. I think their biggest problem is the reheat of the meat. I am not positive how they re-thermalize their product but what ever way they use I don’t think is working. A BBQ sauce should not be used to make meat moist. I think their chicken may have been done well initially however their re heat needs some work.

The greens were good but nothing superlative. The peach cobbler was outstanding. A healthy amount of fruit and a good cobbler crust. I am sorry I don’t have any pictures to show you what we ate.

So all in all it was a passable lunch for me. Like Pat were I in the area I would try the joint again. However I wouldn’t travel that far just to eat there.

After lunch Pat and I went to the Tick Tock Lounge to meet some friends and I took the opportunity to try one of their signature Bloody Mary Cocktails, featuring in house bacon infused vodka, house made Mary mix and a unique array of garnish.

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It was delicious. Spicy with a good amount of horse radish and with all the “stuff” added it is like brunch in a glass. A pint of Bloody goodness for 10 bucks.

 

 

Garrett's Smokehouse Barbeque on Urbanspoon