eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “bbq

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.

http://bbqindianapolis.com/

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


Rebar 20 N. Delaware

Yep; it is a bar. But to be more accurate it is a Rebar. Now what is a Rebar? Well in this case I would say it is a joint that has a wall of serve yourself beer. The concept is great. You get a plastic card. You place it on a sensor and the pour yourself as much beer as you like. You are charged by the ounce and they offer 20 different rotating taps. You can get  2 ounces for a taste or a 12 ounce glass to enjoy with your meal. To me it is a winner for everyone concerned. For the consumer you do not need to worry about an over worked bartender, and for the house the bartender is free to do other things. Plus the place gets paid for the tastes that folks expect to get. I should have taken a picture.

But we were here for the food. From what we sampled I would say that these guys have probably the best “bar” food around. The kitchen staff is composed of young people who went to the Chef’s Academy here in town. So they have a crew of knowledgable and creative folks that are in this business by choice. Which does make a difference.

They make the majority of the food from scratch. The exceptions are the buns, fries and cheese curds. The batter on the curds is reminiscent of what you would find on a corn dog. They were pretty good but there is better out there. It is a shame they don’t have the room to batter their own. I think they would probably hit it out of the park.

The dipping sauce they served with them was a dill Ranch dressing. Too close to tartar sauce for me but it was a decent condiment. They have set lunch specials. Pat opted for the house burger for $8.

Now isn’t that a splendid hunk of meat. Pat gave me a bite and it was as tasty as it looked. I decided on a pair of sliders for $7. You get your choice of an Angus blend burger, house smoked and pulled pork or a spicy sloppy Joe. I ordered the BBQ and the Sloppy Joe. Again I was impressed. I know pulled pork and sloppy Joes are hardly haute cuisine but some preparations are better than others . Even with the simplest of dishes.

Pat and I are in agreement about the chips. They served a whole bunch of them but they were fried too crisp for us.

This place is in a perfect location for me. It is a short block away from the new Transit Center. Since I do not drive downtown, and since it has a patio on a very busy street I can see myself sitting there having lunch and a couple of Adult beverages. Speaking of  beverages they have a Adult milk shakes featuring Graeter’s Ice Cream with various liquors.

https://www.rebarindy.com/

They are changing their menu soon so I am sure I will be back there at least once more when that happens. Actually I will probably be back with some regularity. It is a fun joint to visit.

 

Rebar Indy 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


Serendipity at the Post 2210 E 54th Street

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About 3 months ago Pat and I “reviewed” the American Legion Post # 34. Well in actuality we reviewed the food which was put out by a fellow named Pete. I guess Pete has moved on because I got word that a catering company, Serendipity has taken over the management of the kitchen. Here is the link to their webpage. It shows the menus for both their food truck and the Legion.

http://www.serendipitytruck.com/

I was looking forward to the meal because the menu was not your typical bar menu. Sure they have some of the stuff you would expect at a bar but also they offer crab cakes and truffle fries. To start the ball rolling I ordered a side salad.

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The salad was predominately spinach with the traditional onion and grape tomatoes. It was topped with goat cheese and candied walnuts,which brought a bit of sweet and a nice tang to my mouth. The whole dish was rounded out with an excellent Raspberry Vinaigrette. A great salad and bargain at $3

I opted for a Crab Cake sandwich. The chef doesn’t fry the cakes like a lot of people would he puts a sear on it and finishes it off in the oven. So I can tell myself it is Heart Healthy.

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The cake was big with a nice and juicy interior and what I would consider a near perfect texture and consistency. You could actually taste the crab. If I were to order it again I think I would do without the mayo and onion. Both seemed to interfere with the “crabbiness” of the cake.

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Pat ordered a burger, no onion, with a side of slaw. He also ordered a side of steamed broccoli for 3 bucks.

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Well I think the Legion has a winner here. It is going to be a challenge I’m sure. The clientele is more “mature” than other joints so that could be problematic. Some old guys can be stuck in their ways. Also Legions are known for low prices, and Bill;the Chef/owner of Serendipity uses very high quality ingredients so that right there can make the thing difficult. I think that the crew at the Legion is in for some good eating. Also it is open to the public so you don’t have to be a member to dine there. I think they have plans to have certain designated nights for BBQ ribs and Prime Rib. So that ought to be all kinds of fun.

American Legion Post 34 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Thompson House 711 E. Thompson Rd.

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This place has been opened for about a year or so and is very close to Pat’s house. It is also very close to the Thai Restaurant we went to last week. That was how we learned of their rib special on Friday’s. We stopped there for a beer and learned from the bartender that they have the “best rib special” around on Fridays. Since we had already decided that we would do lunch on Friday this week it was a done deal.

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I used the wrong camera to take the shot but you can see how rich and juicy those ribs look. My default position on all things porcine is dry rubbed, smoked and SOS (sauce on the side). These didn’t quite fit that bill but they definitely fit the taste bill. These were some of the tastiest ribs I have had. I could not detect any smoke but the meat was succulent and tender and the bones pulled right out. It did taste as though some sort of spice base was laid prior to the baking and or saucing; however the chef was a wee bit coy when I asked. Regardless, these ribs were a great example of what I call Hoosier Q. Spare ribs slow cooked in a sweet sauce until they fall off the bone. The special is a half slab with two sides for $12.95. As for the sides they were your typical choices.Fries,slaw, cottage cheese or pasta salad. Not sexy at all just basic. I opted for fries and slaw. The fries could have been fried longer but the slab of ribs were placed on top to add another dimension to them. The slaw was excellent. It was a brand called Grandma’s. A brand I am quite familiar with and do really enjoy.

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I really wish I had done a better job with the pictures so everyone could see how great the ribs looked. Regardless of how they appear I don’t think you can go too far wrong from a rib dinner at Thompson’s House. Or a mushroom cheese burger for that matter.

Thompson House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Beech Grove Bowl 95 N. 2nd Ave. Beech Grove Indiana

Going to a bowling alley just to have lunch probably isn’t commonplace. However, as usual, there is a story behind it. Last week a blogger friend and I were chatting,online,about the virtues of old-time drug store cheese burgers. She asked if they were similar to those found in a bowling alley. Well I don’t recall ever eating in a bowling alley so I had no point of reference. I did tell her, half-joking my mission would be to find an alley that sold cheeseburgers. Later in the week a friend called me and suggested that we give Beech Grove Bowl a try. Of course he had never been there,but he had friends who said that they offered a pretty good pizza and calzone. Well I usually trust his opinion on most things culinary so I thought it was worth a try.

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We had a nice talk with Scott,the owner. He has worked there over 20 years before buying the joint 5 years ago. He spent a great deal of time and effort sampling different crusts, and sauces before he settled on just the right combo. And in our opinion the effort was worth it.

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As for my calzone it was definitely the highlight of the lunch. They make them from a 10 inch dough round that they proof and then bake in an impinging oven with a conveyor. It is offered for $7.99 with up to 3 toppings. The result is delicious. They brush the whole thing with garlic butter and the result is at least as good as Three Wise Men; and cheaper.

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As for the rest of the menu it is pretty much what you expect at most pub and grubs. I am including a link to their site.

http://www.bgbowl.com/

I also got a cheeseburger. After all that was the reason for my search.

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There isn’t a whole lot to say about it. A one-third pound patty cooked to well done,topped with a single slice of American and placed on a rather generic bun. Not bad but overpriced at $5.50. I think a better deal would be a BBQ or a Sloppy Joe sandwich,they are both under $4.

So I think this place might be a place to go for a pizza or definitely a calzone. Even if you don’t bowl they have pin ball and Golden Tee Golf. They also deliver,and as Pat already said,they have beer. It is about a 13 mile trip for me and I really think it would be a place to go back to.

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Beech Grove Bowl 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.


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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