Monday, July 16, 2018
Fatboys Killer Bar-B-Q (Little Rock, AR)
Fatboys Killer Bar-B-Q is one of those barbecue joints that pretty much requires an intentional trip. You're not likely to just stop by there on a whim unless you live or work in the general vicinity. The only time I've been out that way before was to pick up some maple and poplar for a woodworking project. But today, I came for the 'que.
I found Fatboys housed in a small retail strip, with an auto parts store seeming to be the main attraction. Peach-colored curtains were fully drawn across the big copper-tinted windows, giving it the appearance of a shady "massage parlor." Despite the "open" sign in the window, I was a little unsure that they were actually open for business, but I tried anyway and found the door unlocked.
Inside, it's a much different ballgame. Fatboys is decorated with more knickknacks than I figured you could squeeze into a small room. They also devote a fair amount of space to their various barbecue competition trophies and awards. Some other reviewers have described the place as having a biker bar feel to it, but if the term "good old boy" means anything to you, that's probably more accurate.
The menu here is a pretty standard array of sandwiches and platters. I'm glad I inquired further, because Fatboys does offer an off-menu combo plate that gets you a couple of ribs and another meat of your choice. Naturally, I took some sliced brisket to go with my ribs, as well as their "tator salad" and "Maxine and cheese" for my two sides.
My potato salad was mayo-based and came with plenty of spud skins. It was rich and creamy, and I enjoyed it more than a lot of other potato salads that I've come across, which tend to be too heavy on the mustard for my liking. The macaroni and cheese, on the other hand, was pretty basic. It was thoroughly cheesed, but lacked anything meaningful.
I could immediately tell that the brisket and I would not be friends. The thick slices crumbled apart with very little effort. They were also really dry and a little tough to chew. I tasted a slight smokiness but barely any salt or other spices. The bark wasn't very bark-ish, although it did contain more smoke than the rest of the slice, so that was a plus I suppose.
The small-bone ribs didn't look all that appetizing either. They were a little juicier than the brisket but still on the dry side. Not much smoke to be found here either, and about as much seasoning. I could see the dry rub sprinkled on the crust, such as it was, but I couldn't taste it.
Fatboys Killer Bar-B-Q ended up disappointing me on several fronts. My suspicion is that their barbecue hangs out in warming trays for quite a while after it comes off of the pit, or possibly even gets reheated. I can't say for certain, but that's my working theory. The staff here was very friendly, and that's when it always pains me to write a negative review, especially for a small business. But sadly, Fatboys just isn't that good.
Fatboys Killer Bar-B-Q
14611 Arch St
Little Rock, AR 72206