Monday, December 9, 2013
Cave Inn BBQ
During my occasional travels, I try to sample BBQ at those near and far away places outside the Quest area. I just really, really like that stuff ...
As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. I usually never do that, always checking at least the describing text on the book jacket. Or, in the case of BBQ joints outside the BBQ Belt, I try to find their menu on the internet to check if it is worth my time. I also get an overview on the reviews that other people posted. And that is an especially good tactic in a place like Orlando, Florida, where you very easily can end up in some kind of tourist trap if you haven't done your homework.
And that is why, before I committed myself to the Cave Inn BBQ in Winter Garden, just a few miles outside of Orlando, I checked the menu on their website - and found all those familiar items on it like pulled pork, ribs, and brisket. Well, classic case of false labeling here. When I ordered the BBQ MMMEAT Sandwich, which consists of pulled pork, beef, sweet'n'spicy sauce, and red cabbage slaw on a pita bread, the friendly server alerted me to the fact that they do not smoke their meats, but grill them because "it just tastes better". They also smother them with sauce to "keep in the juices". Excellent. That's how you do ... well, if you do it this way, please don't call it BBQ, that is just plain sacrilegious.
So, this sandwich has basically the same right or reason to call itself BBQ, as I have to call myself King of the Tennessee Valley. Moreover, the sauce it was smothered with totally overwhelmed almost any other aroma that might have been present. Only the marinated red cabbage slaw had a chance to being noticed, the meat could have been cardboard, it would not have made any difference. Also, while the pork was reasonably tender, the beef was quite chewy. Smoking it for a few hours might have helped with that. And then, and only then, you might call it BBQ. And charge 13 bucks for it, with a drink and a side of fries. Oh, and over all this rant about the food, I kinda forgot to mention the actually very nice atmosphere there, the dinosaur themed decoration, and the very friendly and helpful staff. They also have live music there regularly and a very cozy bar area. What they do not have is BBQ. Except in their name. What a shame.