I'm making it my personal mission to single-handedly eat my way across the nation, one delicious animal at a time. Fire up the pit, here I come!!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cozy Corner Restaurant (Memphis, TN)




I was anxious to get back home from Little Rock, but I couldn't resist another barbecue stop in Memphis on the way. For some reason, Cozy Corner seemed like a better pick than some of the more well known places. This would make my seventh smoked meat meal in six days, so I might need to slow things down a little. I'm sure my future cardiologist would agree.


Despite their generic name, Cozy Corner Restaurant is definitely a barbecue joint. This place doesn't look like much from the outside, or the inside for that matter. It seems like little has changed since they opened doors in 1977. When it comes to barbecue, I learned long ago that some of the best meat often comes from small, humble operations like this one. I'm sure these guys do just fine in the finance department, but it's clear that their main goal is simply to serve folks the best barbecue possible.



I was initially considering an order of their smoked Cornish hen, which isn't something you'll find in many other barbecue joints. When I rolled up and started taking a few pictures, another customer instantly instructed me to try the ribs and the chicken wings. As he put it, "You can get pulled pork anywhere, but their ribs can't be beat." Who am I to question such enthusiastic advice? I ordered a 2-Rib 2-Wing Plate, dry rub on the ribs of course. I also picked bbq spaghetti and potato salad as my side dishes.


The potato salad was creamy and sweet, with just enough in the veggie department to add a little texture. It tasted like a mustard/mayo combination, which is the best kind in my opinion. I've never had bbq spaghetti before, but apparently it's a pretty popular side dish in Memphis. The spaghetti tasted just like you'd expect: pasta with barbecue sauce. It was also a touch spicy, suggesting chili powder.

Cozy Corner's ribs were thick and meaty with a nice dark crust. The heavy dusting of coarse black pepper was actually reminiscent of central Texas-style ribs, and that's quite a compliment coming from a native Texan. I found great smoke, mixed with the unmistakeable flavor of charcoal. The meat was also cooked perfectly. It clung to the bone, but came away cleanly with each bite. Wow, outstanding.

Their huge smoked wings were awesome, too. Not to tempt fate, I got my wings mild rather than hot. The peppery skin was crisp and absolutely packed with flavor. It had soaked up the smoke quite nicely. The tender meat below was also very juicy. I could have eaten a dozen of these, but then I'd likely fall asleep at the wheel.

My grandpa used to say that you could always tell a Bohemian girl because she'd have poppyseed in her teeth. Along those same lines, you can always tell a good barbecue joint because you'll leave with your teeth coated in black pepper. Cozy Corner may not have as much notoriety as places like Rendezvous, Interstate, or Corky's, but this little spot should be on the top of everyone's to-do list.

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Cozy Corner Restaurant
745 N Parkway
Memphis, TN 38105
(901) 527-9158
http://www.cozycornerbbq.com/

Cozy Corner Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 17, 2014

Central BBQ (Memphis, TN)




I seem to be traveling a lot lately. Today I found myself headed for Little Rock to retrieve some Halloween yard cutouts that my father-in-law had made for us. Since we were planning on a sophisticated and refined "Endless Shrimp" dinner at Red Lobster, I was specifically told to come hungry. I can usually put away 70-80 shrimp on an empty stomach, but when you're driving through Memphis it's almost impossible not to stop for barbecue. I decided on a quick lunch at Central BBQ, partially because they make their own pork rinds!


Central BBQ has consistently been ranked one of the top barbecue restaurants in Memphis for the past decade. They also seem to be a favorite of Southern Living and Garden & Gun (yes, I subscribe to both). Central has opened up a couple of satellite operations around town, but I wanted to check out the original. Sadly, when I arrived I was informed that they were closed while the floor was being remodeled. I had already psyched myself up to try Central, so I headed for their downtown location.

There was a line out the door at 11:15. Sigh. I had a little wiggle room in my schedule, so it wasn't a huge problem. No surprise, the two-year-old downtown operation is noticeably newer and has a bluesy/touristy atmosphere. The order counter is just inside the double doors, so I'm sure there are normally customers waiting along the sidewalk. I don't know if this was intentional, but it definitely gives passersby the impression that Central is insanely popular. They also have a large covered patio, which was perfect on a cool day like today.




I'm normally a brisket kind of guy, but this is Memphis. I got a half-slab rib plate: half wet, half dry. Their plates come with two sides, and I picked potato salad and the homecooked pork rinds which brought me here in the first place.


Central's potato salad was really good. It had some nice spice to it from the paprika sprinkled on top, as well as a decent crunch of pickle in each bite. The pork rinds looked excellent, and indeed they were. They were wonderfully crisp and dusted with just the right amount of salt. I considered getting a few bags of pork rinds to take home with me, but I didn't have time to wait again in the ever-growing line to order.

The dark crust on my dry ribs was quite inviting. When I cut the rack apart, I found a pink smoke ring coupled with a prominent smoky flavor. The succulent pork was cooked perfectly. It was close to falling off the bone, but thankfully still hung on nicely. Central has four different barbecue sauces available to try, though none were needed. These ribs were great on their own.

I found the wet ribs to be delicious in their own right. The sugary glaze was still light enough that I could taste the smoke. It had also caramelized on the crust somewhat, adding a pleasant sweetness and sticky texture. Since they were part of the same rack, I was surprised that the wet ribs were a little tougher than the dry ones. Hmm, weird.

All things considered, Central BBQ was pretty awesome. Hopefully next time I can hit up the original location.

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Central BBQ
147 E Butler Ave
Memphis, TN 38108
(901) 672-7760
http://cbqmemphis.com/

Central BBQ on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kreuz Market (Lockhart, TX)




Two barbecue joints down, one more to go. My appetite was certainly slowing down, but my grandma and I were determined to see this quest through to the end. Last up on our Lockhart journey was the fabled Kreuz Market.


No surprise, Kreuz Market has been on every one of Texas Monthly's lists of the "Top 50 BBQ Joints," published in 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013. Although their name and logo tout a "Since 1900" claim to fame, some folks consider Kreuz to be one of the newer players in the Lockhart arena. Back in 1999, there was a split in the Schmidt family which had owned Kreuz Market for the past five decades. The original building was rebranded as Smitty's Market, and this operation moved to a new location and kept the Kreuz Market name. With that in mind, it might be appropriate to place an asterisk next to Kreuz's name on the 1997 Texas Monthly list.

This joint has a huge parking lot, but we found a spot right up front courtesy of my grandma's handicapped placard. Their dining area is equally massive. I'm sure they need all the space they can get, especially on the weekends. At Kreuz, you won't find fancy things like plates, forks, or sauce for that matter. As owner Kevin Schmidt puts it, "Good meat with just a few basic seasonings cooked with the right wood correctly is all you need." Well said.




Everything on the menu sounded fantastic, but we decided to order a quarter-pound of sliced brisket (fatty, of course), some pork spare ribs, a link of original sausage, and a quarter-pound of boneless prime rib. Mmmmm. We also got a side of saurkraut just for kicks.


The warm kraut was nice and acidic. There was dill aplenty, as well as some caraway seed. I'm not a big saurkraut person, but my grandma liked it so much that she took the leftovers home.

A dark black crust and thick smoke ring encircled our delicious-looking slice of brisket. I dug in and almost immediately had meat juice running down my cheeks, but I didn't care. The brisket couldn't have been more tender. It had a great smoke level and just enough of Kreuz's simple seasoning to make things interesting. They should slap anyone who even asks for sauce here.

The pork and beef sausage at Kreuz is world-renowned, and for good reason. Their coarse grind on the sausage tells you that it's homemade. Our link was straight off the pit and piping hot. The soft meat had spent plenty of time in the smoker, but the crisp casing contained it nicely. Black pepper is certainly the most prominent flavor, although there was a decent amount of smoke to go around too.

I've never had smoked prime rib before, so I was really excited to try it here. One word: fantastic! The crust was very flavorful, with only a mild smokiness. That's what I was hoping for, since prime rib is delicious on its own. Just a pinch of salt and pepper was the perfect seasoning. Unsurprisingly, the meat was extremely tender. I wish more barbecue joints would put prime rib on their menu, but I'd probably go broke if they did.

We saved the pork ribs for last. Visually there wasn't much of a smoke ring, but the ribs made up for it in the flavor department. Ours were a little fatty, which made them extra moist and extra smoky. The crust was also really tasty due to the simple rub.

Brisket and pork ribs were my grandma's favorites at Kreuz. I concur on the brisket, but I was most impressed with the prime rib. If you haven't been to Kreuz Market yet, go now.

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Kreuz Market
619 N Colorado St
Lockhart, TX 78644
(512) 398-2361
http://kreuzmarket.com/

Kreuz Market on Urbanspoon

Smitty's Market (Lockhart, TX)




My grandma was starting to get a little full after our first barbecue sampling in Lockhart, but she was still in high spirits as we made our way to stop number two: Smitty's Market.


Smitty's started their barbecue operations back in 1999 (well, technically around 1900), and since then they've been included in two of the four Texas Monthly "Top 50 BBQ Joints" lists in 2003 and 2008. However, it's not quite that cut and dry. Due to a 1999 split in the Schmidt family, the historic Kreuz Market essentially split as well. The original operation became Smitty's Market under the leadership of Nina Schmidt Sells, while Rick Schmidt kept the Kreuz Market name and moved to a new building. With that in mind, Smitty's was essentially part of the 1997 Texas Monthly list as well, at least as far as I'm concerned.

When you walk through their Commerce Street doors into the big, open corridor, it really feels like a turn of the century meat market. Smitty's dining area has been revamped some, but still has a sense of rustic charm. The long tables are great for making new friends, which is my grandma's specialty.




We ended up ordering a quarter-pound of sliced brisket, a quarter-pound of beef shoulder clod, a link of their original sausage, and a couple of pork ribs. At my grandma's request, we also tacked on a side of potato salad.


The potato salad was served ice cold. It had a decent flavor, but there wasn't as much of a strong pickle/pimento aftertaste as I was hoping for. But I didn't come here for vegetables, so I'll let that one slide.

I forgot to request fatty brisket, but that's ok. Our slices still had some good fat mixed in, despite being a leaner cut. They also had a commendable smoke ring, as well as a great smoky flavor courtesy of the well-rendered fat that had soaked it all up. I thoroughly enjoyed the tasty seasoning on the brisket's crust. The meat was much more tender and juicy than I had initially predicted. Well done.

Smitty's big, plump, all-beef sausage looked spectacular, and it tasted even better. The dark casings were crisp, but the meat inside was extremely tender. The smoke had also penetrated the casing nicely. The sausage was flecked with quite a bit of black pepper, which was slightly spicy and added a good flavor. Of all the places I've been in Lockhart, Smitty's definitely had the best sausage.

Beef shoulder clod is certainly a leaner cut of meat in general, but it was delicious nonetheless. The crust was full of flavor, as was the meat itself. Minimal seasoning worked well here. The big hunk of beef still had plenty of smoke, further evidenced by the bright red ring around the edges. This was my grandma's first encounter with shoulder clod, and she really enjoyed it.

The pork spare ribs did not disappoint either. Here again, the light seasoning allowed the pork to be the star of the show. I noticed just a hint of sweetness, suggesting a glaze. The meat was tender and quite juicy, coming off the bone with ease. My grandma thought the ribs were a little tough, but she has dentures, so take that with a grain of salt.

Whether they've been in operation since 1900 or 1999 is up for debate, but one thing is certain: Smitty's knows how to smoke some damn fine barbecue.

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Smitty's Market
208 S Commerce St
Lockhart, TX 78644
(512) 398-9344
http://www.smittysmarket.com/

Smitty's Market on Urbanspoon

Black's Barbecue (Lockhart, TX)




I've wanted to go barbecue hopping in Lockhart for quite some time. With a week-long stay in Texas at my disposal, this was the perfect opportunity. I'm sure any number of friends and family would have been very eager to join in, but today my grandma was my wingman (wing-granny?). This was sure to be an adventure of epic proportions. First up on our list was the one, the only, Black's Barbecue.


Black's has been listed in Texas Monthly's "Top 50 BBQ Joints" in 1997 and 2013. I'm a bit skeptical of their absence from the 2003 and 2008 lists (not even an honorable mention), but that's a rant for another day. These guys have been churning out phenomenal barbecue since 1932, and they're all about the history here. Black's has been using the same pit since 1949 and the same cutting blocks since 1954. Wow! Interestingly, Black's is the only one of Lockhart's "Big 3" that offers plates, forks, or sauce, but I won't hold that against them.

Upon walking in, we were immediately greeted and asked if it was our first time at Black's. Since it was, the helpful server gave us a quick rundown of the ordering process. In fact, everyone we encountered here was extremely friendly. Their large dining room is certainly necessary to try and accommodate the hoards of people that descend on Lockhart each and every day. The walls are littered with deer mounts, cow horns, and photos of days gone by. Sitting in Black's made me nostalgic for the kind of historic, small Texas towns that are becoming more and more a distant memory.



The brilliance of their barbecue comes from its simplicity. Overly-complex rubs can certainly be tasty, but here the focus is on the meat, and Black's knows how to let it shine. We ordered a quarter-pound of sliced fatty brisket, a giant beef rib, a pork rib, and a link of their original sausage. We also added some potato salad, beans, and deviled eggs for good measure.



There was so much food that we needed a separate plate just for our sides. The potato salad was creamy and slightly sweet. It also had a rather potent pickle flavor, which added some nice acidity. The deviled eggs tasted just like my ones my grandma makes, and that is most certainly a compliment. The beans were cooked just right and were full of an awesome spice blend. This was a great way to warm up my palate.

As expected, the brisket had a magnificent black crust and a prominent smoke ring. My first bite was like a fairy tale. The natural beef flavors and abundant smokiness danced off of one another in a way that begged me to keep eating. Each bite was full of tender meat and perfectly-rendered fat. Despite, or rather because of the simple salt and pepper-based rub, the brisket was really tasty. I had to force my grandma to stop eating it since we had two more barbecue stops planned after Black's.

It's hard to put into words how absolutely amazing the beef ribs are. At one or two pounds each, these ribs look like they were plucked from a brontosaurus. The deep black crust and smoky hue are enough to make your mouth water. You might think that a chunk of meat this thick would dry out easily, but it literally melts in your mouth. The tender meat is also seasoned perfectly and very flavorful all the way through. It's one of the best things I've ever eaten.

Though considerably smaller than its bovine counterpart, the pork rib was also quite spectacular. Each side of the rib was lined with a bright smoke ring. The crust wasn't black like the beef rib, but it still looked delicious. It had plenty of smoke and a flavor that can't be beat. The meat was also tender and very juicy. I could have eaten these all day, but it's probably better that we only ordered one.

Black's coarse-ground, homemade sausage rings weigh in at about a third of a pound each. The crisp casings had a nice snap, but they still had enough give that my grandma could bite through without too much trouble. Their simple spice blend lets the meat do the talking, with just a slight punch of garlic to tie it all together.

The pork rib and brisket were my grandma's favorites, but we both enjoyed the entire meal. In fact, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this place. No matter which regional barbecue style you gravitate toward, Black's is the absolute holy grail.

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Black's Barbecue
215 N Main St
Lockhart, TX 78644
(512) 398-2712
http://blacksbbq.com/

Black's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vincek's Smokehouse (East Bernard, TX)




The last time I was in East Bernard was to watch a high school football game nearly two decades ago. If I had known about Vincek's Smokehouse, I wouldn't have waited so long to go back.


This little Czech operation opened in 1985 and has been pouring out delicious barbecue ever since. In fact, their meat is so tasty that Vincek's made Texas Monthly's list of the Top 50 BBQ Joints in both 2003 and 2008. Considering that Texas Monthly has only put out their list four times, I'd say those are pretty good credentials.

One of the things that makes Vincek's so unique is their smoking process. Their ribs and chicken cook over Texas-made B&B oak lump charcoal. B&B is the absolute best, so I brought sixty pounds of the stuff with me when we moved from Texas to Tennessee a few months ago. The sausage and brisket get smoked over pecan wood, and the brisket is then finished on oak lump charcoal as well.

Like any good Czechs, Vincek's also offers kolaches and klobasniky (and no, it's not a "meat kolache"). This time of year you can find pumpkin cream cheese kolaches here. They looked awesome, but we wanted to save our appetites for barbecue.




I got a 3 Meat Plate of brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. There were quite a few options for sides, but I decided on a picnic-ready duo of baked potato salad and macaroni salad.


This was my first run-in with baked potato salad, but it was really tasty. The best way I can describe it is to say that it was a cold, mashed up baked potato. I could really taste the sour cream and bacon. I'm sort of a potato salad aficionado, and this was good enough that I plan on making it at home in the future. The sweet macaroni salad was also a decent side. It was creamy, but not over-mayonnaised. Maybe a little jalapeno for heat and it would be fantastic.

The brisket had an awesome smoke ring and dark black crust. I noticed some fat around the edges that looked a little under-rendered, but when I bit in I found that it had actually soaked up the smoke quite nicely. It was an interesting smoke flavor that was really enjoyable, thanks to the combined pecan and oak lump charcoal. I could definitely taste both heat sources in the meat. My slices, though lean, were also incredibly tender. This was honestly one of the best briskets I've encountered.

A coarse grind on the sausage radiates a sense of homemade gloriousness that you just can't get with the store-bought stuff. It had a nice crisp casing and a mild smokiness. Vincek's sausage also has plenty of pepper and is slightly spicy. Even if you only have a small appetite, make sure to include the sausage on your order.

Last came the big, meaty St. Louis-cut spare ribs. Some ribs are a little skimpy in the meat department, but at Vincek's it went up at least an inch off the bone. The direct-heat charcoal cooking process gave these ribs a great taste, and the flavor goes all the way through. A nice seasoning on the crust enhanced their taste even further. They were also very tender. It only took a slight tug for the meat to come away perfectly.

In my humble opinion, Vincek's Smokehouse should have been on the 2013 Texas Monthly list as well. Their non-traditional cooking style makes each bite taste like heaven.

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Vincek's Smokehouse
139 S Dill St
East Bernard, TX 77435
(979) 335-7921
http://vincekssmokehouse.com/

Vincek's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Austin's BBQ & Catering (Eagle Lake, TX)




I don't get to visit my native Texas all that often, but when I do I try to make it count. The heavy and much-needed rains left us with few options for Sunday fun, so we decided to take a random barbecue roadtrip. First up was Austin's in Eagle Lake. Although Austin's doesn't get as much praise and notoriety as other Texas barbecue joints, it has consistently been on every one of the Texas Monthly "Top 50" lists since the very beginning.


We caught the scent of delicious pit smoke as soon as we rolled up, which was the product of a huge pile of cut pecan logs out back. Pecan wood is awesome for smoking. It's more potent than oak and hickory, but doesn't pack quite as much punch as mesquite. The seating area at Austin's is nothing more than a fenced-in slab out by the highway, and the cramped interior leaves very little wiggle room to move around. Clearly the focus here is on the meat rather than the ambiance.





In order to get a good feel for Austin's barbecuing capabilities, I went with their Three Meat Combo. Sadly, they were out of sausage today. That left me with brisket, pork ribs, and chicken. Make sure to ask for bark on your brisket, otherwise they'll likely trim it. I remembered to make that request, but forgot to ask for no sauce. Oh well. For my sides, I picked the mayo potato salad and pinto beans.


As I suppose its name should have suggested, the potato salad had an exceptionally large amount of mayo in it. I mean, like a whole jar of mayonnaise. This made things sort of mushy and unappealing. The beans lacked seasoning and basically just tasted like plain beans. The accompanying onion helped, but not much.

The brisket looked awesome, partially because I asked for fattier slices with extra bark. I found a nice crust and thick, visible smoke ring. The heavily-peppered crust also had a great flavor. The meat had a good smoke level, which I could taste despite the excessive tomato-based barbecue sauce. It was also melt-in-your-mouth tender. Delicious all the way around.

We asked for dark meat chicken, which tends to dry out less during the smoking process. Barbecue chicken is sometimes difficult to master, but ours was very tender and moist. The chicken skin was also very flavorful and crisped up nicely. I couldn't taste much smoke, but that's fairly normal for chicken.

Much like the brisket, the ribs were also coated in black pepper. A slight pinkish hue suggested a more moderate amount of smoke, which I confirmed once I dug in. The tasty crust made up for the lack of smoke somewhat. Far too many barbecue joints overcook their ribs until the meat is "falling off the bone," but here the incredibly juicy meat came off the bone with only a slight tug. That's the right way to smoke a rib.

Despite a few minor flaws in an otherwise fantastic meal, Austin's BBQ is definitely worth a visit.

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Austin's BBQ & Catering
507 E Main St
Eagle Lake, TX 77434
(979) 234-5250

Austin's BBQ & Catering on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall Fest 2014 (Nashville, TN)

Fall is by far my wife's favorite season, mostly because it allows her to wear scarves and the color orange. Texas doesn't really have fall (just summer and winter), so it's fun to be in a place where the leaves actually change rather than die. After a disappointing Saturday, we decided to try and salvage what was left of our weekend by heading to Fall Fest at Green Door Gourmet. Some pre-festival research told me that there would be several food trucks at the event, including barbecue!


Green Door Gourmet is an awesome local farm with weekly CSA (community-supported agriculture) baskets. Their produce is some of the best I've found in middle-Tennessee, and they also have a great selection of locally-sourced jams, jellies, honey, cooking oils, and various pickled things. Today I hoped I'd find some great non-veggie deliciousness as well.

The Fall Fest had everything you could ask for from a family-friendly (and pet-friendly) event: hayrides, pumpkin carving, face painting, balloon animals, and a pumpkin patch. For the big kids, there was Yazoo beer, live music, shopping, and cornhole. All of that sounded fantastic, but we opted for some delicious homemade basil lemonade to get things started.




Paradise Ridge BBQ
(615) 202-8636
http://www.paradiseridgecatering.com/


I had my first run-in with Paradise Ridge at the underwhelming Music City BBQ Festival. The ribs they served me were about as disappointing as the festival itself, but I decided to give Paradise Ridge another try. Their initial menu included BBQ Tacos, although after only an hour and a half into a six-hour festival, all they had left was smoked sausage and coleslaw. I didn't notice any huge lines during that time, so I'm guessing the lack of food was simply due to poor planning. Their sole-remaining menu items didn't sound that appealing, but I got an order anyway.


This was basically just a big hotdog, complete with a basic grocery store hotdog bun. The slaw was also pretty monochromatic, with only a few orange flecks of carrot poking through the sea of white. I hoped it tasted better than it looked. It did not. The sausage, much like its bun, was also of the grocery store variety. I likely could have ordered the same caliber sausage dog from the Kroger deli. The smoke level here was so minuscule that the sausage may as well have been grilled. The sweet slaw added a nice crunch, but not much else. I guess it's a good thing that I got some "smoked" sausage while it lasted, because shortly thereafter the only things they were peddling were plain bratwurst hotdogs. Everything about this operation is extremely half-assed, even their boring, undecorated, red food truck.

The Grilled Cheeserie
(615) 491-9640
http://thegrilledcheeserietruck.com/
The Grilled Cheeserie on Urbanspoon


As disappointed as I was with Paradise Ridge, I was really anxious to try The Grilled Cheeserie. In a few short years, the Cheeserie has climbed to the top of the Nashville food truck scene. They've been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," and they've been voted best food truck three years running by both The Tennessean and Nashville Scene. Even though there was no barbecue to be found on their menu, I knew it would still be delicious. We went all out and ordered the Why I Autumn Melt (their special "Melt of the Moment"), the B&B Melt, and a Cookie Melt for dessert.




The Grilled Cheeserie's Why I Autumn Melt is the perfect grilled cheese for fall: smoked gouda, Benton's country ham, caramelized apple and fig mustard, crispy kale, and buttered leeks on pumpkin-seeded multigrain bread. Needless to say, this sammich has quite a lot going on. The pumpkin bread was crusty and grilled just right. I found a nice tartness from the apple/fig mustard, and the ham added some much-needed savory notes. The creamy gouda tied the whole thing together quite well. Mrs. Barbecue Fiend didn't care for the greens, which were admittedly a little bitter. All in all, I was really happy we gave this melt a try.

Next up was the B&B, which is one of The Grilled Cheeserie's normal menu items. It doesn't have near as many ingredients as the first one we tried, but it still sounded amazing: buttermilk cheddar, Benton's bacon, and peach jam on multigrain bread. The salty and delicious Benton's bacon (if you haven't had it, you definitely need to) paired nicely with the sweet peach jam. I like specialty breads, but the buttery multigrain was perfect in its simplicity. My only regret was that I had to share half of this sandwich with my wife.

We were both pretty full by this point, but the Cookie Melt sounded too good not to devour: a Mexican chocolate cookie, dulce de leche, and pumpkin marshmallow. It was certainly messy to eat, but delicious nonetheless. The abundant cinnamon in the Mexican chocolate cookie had a nice bite to it, and the dulce de leche was almost like caramel. The marshmallow had only minimal pumpkin flavor to it, or perhaps it was simply masked by the other stronger flavors. Regardless, this was a great note to end on.

After suffering through Paradise Ridge's mediocre barbecue on two separate occasions, I can say with absolute certainty that I will not be eating their food a third time. On the flipside, the sandwiches from The Grilled Cheeserie were as amazing as I hoped they would be. Despite the ups and downs, we will definitely return to Green Door Gourmet's Fall Fest next year. I just hope they find a different barbecue vendor by then.

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Fall Fest 2014
Green Door Gourmet
7011 River Road Pike
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 942-7169
http://www.greendoorgourmet.com/