Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Round 2: Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant (Nashville, TN)
When my mom and aunt came to town for a visit, I instantly thought of Puckett's as a great dinner option. Mostly for the live music, but also for the chance to eat more of their awesome barbecue!
This was my second dinner at Puckett's, and it poured down rain both times. If Mother Nature is trying to stop me from eating here, she's going to have to do better than that. Tonight's entertainment was a musician named Matt Marinchick. I'd never heard of him, but he did a great job covering many different forms of country music. His Bass Pro Shop trucker hat may have been a tad unnecessary though. Regardless, it made for a really enjoyable meal.
I had planned on a smaller-size entree than usual, so I made sure to get an order of Bubba's Bones as an appetizer. Bubba's baby back ribs are dry-rubbed, cherry wood-smoked, flash-fried, and tossed in a sweet-hot barbecue sauce. That's a lot of hyphenated deliciousness.
These were undoubtedly some of the best baby backs I've ever eaten, mostly because Puckett's actually knows how to cook them correctly. Each bite of meat stayed put and waited its turn, none of this "falling off the bone" nonsense. The ribs were very tender and equally juicy. I couldn't taste any smoke, but that's likely due to the heat level more than anything. Bubba's sauce was as hot as advertised, yet it was also oddly pleasant. It burned my lips for a few minutes afterward and definitely got my palate revved up.
On my first trip to Puckett's, I got a traditional two-meat barbecue plate. Today, however, I had only one thing on my mind: Piggy Mac! It's basically a personal-sized skillet of pulled pork topped with smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese. The Piggy Mac is supposed to come with an unnecessarily-healthy house salad, but I requested a side of smashed sweet potatoes instead. There was also mention of a jalapeno johnny cake.
The johnny cake was excellent. I could definitely taste the jalapeno, and there was only a moderate spiciness so I could enjoy it, too. The slight sweetness also helped to temper the heat quite nicely. Their sweet potatoes were as butter-heavy as good comfort food should be. I would have liked some marshmallows though, and maybe a little cinnamon or nutmeg to jazz up the flavors.
With the delectable Piggy Mac sitting before me, it was impossible to spend more than a minute or two tasting the side dishes. The macaroni was gooey and delicious, and its crumbly topping was a perfect crunchy addition to the overall texture. Gouda is one of my favorite melting cheeses, and I think it was a great choice to pair with barbecue. The pulled pork was just as tender and tasty as it was during my first visit, which speaks highly for their ability to consistently churn out great barbecue. I managed to uncover a few bits of pork that still had their smoke ring. There were a few hints of smoke here and there, although cheese was certainly the dominant flavor. The melted cheese also made this dish a little greasy, but otherwise it was spectacular.
Their Deep Fried Brownie Sundae is almost irresistible, so the fact that we skipped out on dessert should tell you how full we all were. I hope my family comes to visit again soon, because I'm already aching for another excuse to eat at Puckett's.
Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant
500 Church St
Nashville, TN 37219