Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gin House Barbecue

Quest Log No 63 – Gin House Barbecue
Elkmont, Limestone County

Just call me Ahab from now on. Captain Ahab. I finally hunted down the white whale, which I thought would elude me forever. Well, actually the good Captain in the book died while fighting with the whale, a fate that I fortunately could avoid. But for over two years I thought that the Ole Gin House BBQ in Elkmont would be the one that got away.
I’ve been there three times before in 2011. The first time was on a Monday in April, but the restaurant was closed - no service on Mondays. At the next try, in July, they were on summer break. And then, in October, they were closed for good.
But a couple of days ago, I stumbled across a facebook-site with their name on it that had very current entries of specials and so on. Needless to say, I went there at the first opportunity.

From the locals, I had heard stories about this place, which was formerly run by an elderly lady with pink hair, who had stuffed the restaurant with all kinds of quirky memorabilia and interesting decorating pieces. But together with dropping the “Ole” from the name, the new owners also cleaned up the joint and it is now a fairly bland and unremarkable country eatery. There are two rooms - one fairly darkly lit big one and another to the side, which receives some natural light through windows. Other than an American flag on a pole in one of the corners, there is no decoration worth talking about. There is a small buffet-like counter in the entrance hall where for $5.99 a meal is assembled to your specifications. The choices are the usual southern staples, like fried okra, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and steamed corn. But you also can order from the menu, which has the typical BBQ-stuff on it. Not surprisingly, I opted for a large pork plate with potato salad and cole slaw.
The pork came in large chunks that were lean and hat some bark on it. Unfortunately, the meat was not very tender and it had a very funky sour vinegary taste, and no smoke flavor at all. My guess is that it was either prepared in a slow cooker or by using some very strange wood-less smoking process. The BBQ sauce it came with did also nothing to save the taste – it was a thick red puree, which also had the flavor of pureed tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. Strange. Don’t get me wrong, it was not too bad, and certainly perfectly edible, but also most definitely not your typical country BBQ.
The potato salad on the other hand was very tasty – a concoction with eggs and mayonnaise, not too sour, not too tart, not too sweet. The cole slaw however was nothing special, just some shredded cabbage in a sour crème based sauce that could have used much more salt and pepper than was there.

Altogether, I paid close to ten bucks for the plate and a soft drink. Needless to say, that I had better BBQ for half the price.
But at least there was one valuable lesson that I learned today: Next time I encounter a white whale, I will just let the beast go its merry way, and will let bygones be bygones. 

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. I miss your accounts of your visits.