All reviews published on BBQandBourbon have the same keyword in the headline: Review.
If you want the most complete up-to-date list for reviews, use the search box for “Review.”
- Reviews: Big Bubba Buck’s Belly Bustin’ Bliss BBQ
- Review: Rigdon’s Trackside BBQ, Madisonville
- Review: Backyard Barbeque, Monroe County, Tomkinsville
- Review: Tiny Town Red Top BBQ, Guthrie, Kentucky
- Review: Bar-B-Que Junction, Bowling Green, Warren County
- Review: R&S Barbeque, Monroe County, Tomkinsville
- Review: Backwoods Barbeque, Paducah, McCracken County
DRIFTWOOD RESTAURANT – Barren River State Park Resort, Lucas, Kentucky
Monday, February 23, 2009
Even though they now try to call it the “Driftwood Restaurant”, the dining area in the Nunn Lodge at Barren River State Resort Park will always be just “the Lodge” for myself and many others. The Lodge has always been a good place to eat. Growing up in southern Barren County, I have spent many Sundays after church enjoying the buffet. But, until a few weeks ago, I had never experienced their annual “Buffalo Night”.
The Kentucky State Park System (http://www.parks.ky.gov) offers Buffalo Night at several of the state’s resort parks each year offering an evening of entertainment and sampling of buffalo dishes. Buffalo Night is apparently a tradition for lots of people in our area. Everyone I talked to said they look forward to returning each time. The dining areas were full the entire time we were there which was a good thing as the food on the buffet was constantly being refreshed.
The state park makes it much more than just an event to consume bison meat. It’s a full-on experience. Upon entering the lodge that evening, there was an area set up just off the lobby where several historical re-enactors dressed in period costume had interactive exhibits. They featured historical artifacts used by the pioneers including hunting knives, flint rifles, blankets, household items, and other everyday items from early days in Kentucky.
The entertainment continued as you entered the dining area where there was live music. This year’s band was Kentucky Blue (www.kyblue.net) who did many bluegrass and country standards. They were a very good group (if you like bluegrass) and were a good dining accompaniment without being too intrusive.
The flavor of buffalo is much like beef, but a little drier with a sharper taste. I have had buffalo steaks a few times and enjoyed them. But the state park expanded my buffalo horizons and offered up several buffalo dishes on the buffet including a carved steamship round, BBQ buffalo brisket, buffalo stew and chili, and buffalo meatloaf. And I sampled it all. (in the interest of this story, of course)
The only preparation that I didn’t care for was the carving station. I love the normal beef steamship round at the Lodge, so perhaps I was in comparison mode. The piece of buffalo I was dealt off the carving station was grisly. On the converse, the best dish was the BBQ brisket. The meat was tender and flavorful. The buffalo stew was good and I found the chili to be reminiscent of Wendy’s chili (a good thing). The meatloaf was good, but could have been made of beef and no one would have known. There were also Lodge standards of catfish and fried chicken on the buffet for timid souls who were accompanying diners with more adventurous palates.
I was excited when I saw there was grilled asparagus on the buffet, but everyone at the table was disappointed when we ate it. Asparagus is a delicate flavor and grilling is a good way to prepare it, but the charred taste had permeated all the stalks on the steam table. All the other sides, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, green beans, other vegetables, and the items on the salad bar were very good. As were the typical Lodge desserts of Baked Alaska, banana pudding, and others.
Overall, Buffalo Night is a fun experience that that I suggest you try the next time it’s offered.
Chris Houchens is the Online Director for the Bowling Green, KY Daily News and the Amplifier. He lives on 25 soggy acres on the Warren/Barren county line. He is also known in some circles as a marketing guru. Find out more at www.ChrisHouchens.com.
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OLD KENTUCKY BBQ – Lexington Feb. 19, 2009
A former editor of mine who had worked in Owensboro, the barbecue capital of Kentucky, gave me a piece of advice that has stood in good stead for about two decades: If a barbecue joint doesn’t smell like a smokehouse, it isn’t any good.
Old Kentucky BBQ on New Circle Road has managed to turn the original McDonald’s location in Lexington into a smokehouse.
Old Kentucky serves three things: smoked brisket, smoked pork (including ribs) and smoked chicken. It smokes the meats in contraptions in the parking lot. Once the smoked meats come inside,
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Tiny Town Red Top BBQ, Guthrie, Kentucky
On our way home from picking up the Corvette in Clarksville, TN, we intended to eat mexican. We took a shortcut which took us out of Clarksville and past the recommended mexican place. Hee. No problemo. I had spotted a couple of BBQ places on the way down.
Right about the TN-KY state line, Nancy got a call which she couldn’t answer. She commented that she had been having trouble answering calls and figured she had messed up a setting. She reckoned she would have to spend the morning with her ATT buds.
In the greater Elkton, Guthrie, KY area we came upon Tiny Town Red Top BBQ. It is a great sign when they have a rick of hardwood, two big catering trucks, and an antique tractor made into a humongous portable pit.
The fact that this was a cute little place and well cared for was a little off-putting. But it was OK, because when you have a huge catering business, having a cute little place with clean floors, matching booths, and no visible grease is a luxury most mom-and-pops can’t afford.
I suggested Nancy take her phone inside and see if she couldn’t figure what was wrong.
After we placed our orders for two pulled pork platters, sides of beans and slaw for me – green beans and hash brown casserole for Nancy) we sat down.
The order-taker, order-preparer, cashier (one person) asked how we liked our Blackberry because she used to have one. We told her our problem and I asked if she would mind taking a look.
After she prepared orders, she sat down in a booth and in two minutes handed the phone back to Nancy and called her. It worked.
I don’t know if she was single, but if she would put in her eHarmony.com profile: can prepare BBQ and fix Blackberry, she would be indundated with proposals.
BTW: the place will look different when you arrive, they are sprucing up the place even more by adding log siding.
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Jimmy D’s Real Pitt Bar-B-Que, Bowling Green, Kentucky
I have been trying to review Jimmy Diemer’s “new” barbecue for months now. I wanted to see what Jimmy could come up with by condensing all his vast energy into dinner for your family. Well, what an amazing job he has done!
Entering the store, there is a plethora of food items, including honey, jams, relishes, sauces and the like, mostly from Spring Valley Farms in Holland. Then comes the signage. Times Square couldn’t compete with the signs per square inch that Jimmy has created – all letting you know how much he has to offer, that everything is homemade (down to the banana pudding), the food is habit forming and it will be the best you’ve ever tasted, hands down.
Jimmy Diemer himself greeted me with country charm to rival any country cooking show host. Jimmy could easily offer an entertaining segment on Paula Deen’s cooking show that would surely put Bowling Green on the map for outstanding barbecue!
I was allowed taste tests to decide what I wanted and began my research to bring you, first hand, what you can expect when you visit Jimmy D’s Real Pitt Bar-B-Que.
All the usual barbecue main courses are available, like pulled pork, pork shoulder and pork ribs, but you can also get pulled chicken, a barbecue chicken salad, meat loaf or juicy beef brisket sliced on a bun.
The pulled pork was excellent – tender, moist and flavorful (even without the sauce), yet the cut of pork was so lean I never came upon a bit of fat or grease. And if you prefer something even more lean, the pulled chicken sandwich is all white meat that is just as tasty and moist.
The pork ribs, too, were delicate and a savory – again, with or without the sauce. Appetizing pink perfection on the inside dusted with a light seasoning on the outside.
The mild barbecue sauce that was served with each of these dishes was a fine balance of flavors. It was as if, like a fine wine, I could taste each ingredient separately that made up the whole of the sauce. Vinegar, sugar, tomato, a hint of chili powder and more all came together in the perfect storm of flavor. I would pay for extra if, like me, you like to douse your food in sauce.
Of course, sides and desserts are just as important as the main dishes when you’re stopping to get dinner for your family or catering a party. The beans were like the barbecue sauce in that you could taste all the flavors, but for me it was the hint of brown sugar that enjoyably lingered.
In my experience that day, Jimmy’s puts his own unique twist in each side dish. The cole slaw is chopped fine with the cabbage and carrots swimming in a liquid of sweetness. The mashed potatoes feature thick chunks of potato and just a hint of potato peelings. The buttered cabbage was inviting – not overcooked, nor over buttered and the taste of the cabbage shined through. Both the green beans and turnip greens included ham for added flavor. I don’t think you can go wrong with any side dish at Jimmy’s, but there are 10 in all so I wasn’t able to try them all.
Possibly, this is because I had to leave room for the best banana pudding I would ever have – according to all the signs. For my taste, the prophecy came true. The pudding included more bananas, and therefore more banana flavor, than I have ever tasted. The bananas were the main ingredient and the headliner, the pudding and vanilla wafers played supporting roles and in this order I found the pudding delicious.
Overall, Jimmy’s country cooking is now channeled into the huge variety of gourmet country food and barbecue he has to offer to all you lucky patrons who drive by his store on the south side of Bowling Green.