Friday, October 28, 2016
Coast 2 Coast BBQ (Nashville, TN)
My wife and I spent a day at St. Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville bringing our precious baby boy into this world, plus a few more days recovering while we oohed and awed over how amazingly cute he is. The hospital provided my wife's meals, but as I was more or less on my own in that regard, I wandered down to their Balance Kitchen cafeteria to check things out. I never would have thought that hospital barbecue would be worth a flip, but the exceptionally smoky smell emanating from the cafeteria's Coast 2 Coast BBQ counter was enough to make me reconsider.
The barbecue at Coast 2 Coast is supposedly smoked on-site, although I'm not entirely sure how or where, and I can't imagine that pit smoke is exceptionally healthy in a hospital. Perhaps a pressure smoker or an indoor electric smoker? With my expectations low, I assumed that they would simply be spooning pre-cut meat out of containers and into sloppy joe-style sandwiches. I was pleasantly surprised to find an actual knife man slicing, chopping, and plating everything to order.
I thought I had ordered their two-meat Combo, but what I was handed was simply a giant plate of pulled pork and Texas-style brisket. Side dishes seemed to be an extra charge, and although I briefly considered adding something on, to be honest nothing that I saw struck me as overly appealing. Oh well, I'm really a carnivore at heart anyway.
The fatty, moist brisket was chock-full of deliciously rendered fat. Thick slices are much more difficult to keep juicy and tender, but Coast 2 Coast pulled it off nicely. There was a great smoke level in each bite, particularly in the salty black bark. I also noticed a slight sweetness to the bark from their marinade, but I couldn't quite discern the dominant flavors (other than sugar, that is). This was certainly a commendable brisket.
You really can't serve barbecue in Tennessee without having pulled pork on the menu, and often you'll find that those two terms are synonymous. Coast 2 Coast's pork was just a tad dry but still had a great flavor, especially in the bark that was scattered throughout my heap of meat. There was a nice smokiness here, as well as the same sweet marinade that I had tasted in the brisket. They did have sauce available on the side, although the marinade is probably about all the sauce you need with this dish.
Coast 2 Coast offers some fairly successful barbecue in a fairly unexpected setting. After the first of what I can only assume will be many, many sleepless nights sitting up with our little boy, it was nice to find a little smoky sustenance at St. Thomas Midtown.
Coast 2 Coast BBQ
St. Thomas Midtown Hospital
2000 Church St
Nashville, TN 37236