Saturday, March 20, 2021

Wäller BBQ

BBQ 118 - Wäller BBQ

Wahlrod, Germany

Well, well, whaddayaknow - Facebook can actually be useful for something other than spreading harebrained conspiracy theories after all. I have no idea how the algorithm found me, but a few days ago there was this message in my feed that basically said, hey, this Friday we are serving spare ribs glazed with BBQ sauce, taters and baked beans - come get cha some! I was e-l-e-c-t-r-i-f-i-e-d! Some kind of semi-original BBQ practically in my backyard? And I only learned about this only now? Holy Moses!

Turns out there is a very small outfit in the middle of the Westerwald (think Smoky Mountains, only a third as high, but basically with the same type of country folk living there) that mainly caters festivities, family gatherings, weddings and the like. But during this ongoing pandemic, there haven't been any of those for over a year now, so they turned the business into a delivery/pick-up service for BBQ. Each Friday, they have a different specialty - pulled pork, chicken, ribs, brisket ... the usual suspects. 

Their name - Wäller BBQ - is a pun on the local dialect, in which the word "Westerwälder", as a descriptive term of a person who lives in the Westerwald (think "Montaineer" for someone who lives in the mountains ...), is shortened and becomes just "Wäller". Whatever.

So today, I drove 40 Kilometers in a raging blizzard (actually, there were some flurries ...) from my house to their little shack in the woods (actually, it is a basement room in a somewhat unfinished looking residential building ...) and picked-up my first order there - a so called "BBQ kit" for about 14 Euro, with loin ribs glazed with BBQ sauce, a baked potato with a special creme, and baked beans with some bacon and onions. It all comes in aluminum containers that you just pop in the oven and let it heat at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Easy enough.

So what can you expect? What did I expect? Not THAT, to be sure. I am more of a pork kind of guy, but I'll eat ribs if I have to. And those ribs I will gladly eat again. And again. And ... you get my drift. They are s-p-e-c-t-a-c-u-l-a-r! And I am not only saying this because I didn't have real BBQ for two years now (my yearly trip to Boogies in Nürnberg, as well as my yearly business trip to Georgia were both cancelled when that stupid virus decided to spread all over the world ...). I am genuinely enthusiastic, downright giddy with joy. 

At first, I was a bit skeptical - usually, when reheating stuff, the meat gets all dry and the taste is somewhat lacking. In this case, however, so my theory goes, it is that because the meat had time to absorb the sauce even more, it was actually a good thing that it was prepared a day or so ago and then heated up again. The slab of ribs came wrapped not only in aluminum foil, but inside there was a sheet of parchment paper that kept the moisture intact. Those guys are geniuses! So I did exactly as the instructions said, which was very simple indeed, and out came ... drumroll ... more drumroll ... a perfect slab of BBQ ribs.
Really. Perfect. The taste was exquisite - very smoky, with the sauce not overwhelming the meat, yet fruity and with just a hint of spice. No idea whether they are making their own sauce or whether they are using something commercial - but good choice, either way!
The meat was so tender, that it was impossible to carry it over from the aluminum to a tray without it just falling off the bones - literally. It had the perfect texture, with just a bit of fat to keep it juicy and trap the flavor, but not too much of it, so to avoid the dreaded gristle driven gag reflex.
Most delicious.
The kit also had a really big potato, which came in a tray together with the beans, which was popped in the oven as well. The tater was also very tasty, and it came with a seemingly self made kind of sour creme, too, that had some herbs, onions and stuff like that in it. The beans were a bit disappointing, though, but that is usually the case with them. Not only was it only maybe two spoonfuls of beans, but the taste was somewhat plain and nothing special. But it was acceptable as a side and didn't hurt the overall experience.

To sum it up, this was worth every cent. The portion was generous, the meat was top quality, the taste was utterly delicious and the overall experience very strongly reminded me of the trips back in Alabama, which I made every second Friday to some obscure BBQ place somewhere in the boondocks. And the best thing - come this May, the guys from Wäller BBQ will have a food truck that will serve BBQ all week long, not only on Fridays. I am so there when that starts ...


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