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Thursday, December 3, 2015
Slow & Low BBQ Bistro (Nashville, TN)
If there are two words that exemplify barbecue, they are most certainly "slow" and "low". With that in mind, it was almost impossible for me to resist a lunchtime excursion to Slow & Low BBQ Bistro, especially since this was one of the first rainless days Nashville has seen in nearly a week.
You'll find Slow & Low in a renovated and converted house in far west Nashville, something that instantly gives the joint a rather cozy feel to it. Couple that with a full-size pig costume (which I sincerely hope they put to use) in the corner, and you've got a very welcoming atmosphere. Parking is a big snug here, and tables, at least the inside ones, are also limited. I guess that's why they call it a bistro.
Hickory appears to be the wood of choice at Slow & Low. I grew up accustomed to oak and pecan, but hickory does a great job, too. In fact, hickory often tends to impart a little saltiness on the meat, which is a good thing despite what my doctor keeps telling me.
For some bizarre and yet undetermined reason, many of the Nashville-area barbecue joints I've investigated don't offer multi-meat combos on their menus. Not Slow & Low. These guys have a glorious Four Meat Feast! Of the five available meats, I selected pulled pork, wings, brisket, and ribs, with Mama's tater salad and beer-battered onion rings as my sides. I could hardly contain my excitement while my meat-tastic meal was being prepared.
Even though Slow & Low had only been open for twenty minutes by the time I arrived, I received their very last portion of potato salad. I was perplexed, but glad to have it nonetheless. The potato salad had a great mustard flavor and plenty of black pepper to go around. All of the onions and pickles also gave it a nice crunch. The onion rings came out crisp and full of flavor. They were also seasoned well, and the onions themselves tasted really fresh. I didn't even dream of ruining them with ketchup.
I wasn't sure where to begin with the meats, so I just picked the pulled pork at random and dug right in. It was tender and had a decent amount of smoke, especially in the fattier pieces. There was also a good seasoning on the bark. I briefly considered sampling their sauces, but it seemed altogether unnecessary, so I passed.
Hot wings were an obvious consideration, but I got mine naked so that I could give the true flavors a fair shake. The skin had a fantastic char and an equally tasty blend of spices. I found only a moderate smoke level, which is fairly typical for barbecue chicken. The meat itself was moist and quite enjoyable.
The fatty layer right on top of the brisket had obviously soaked a ton of smoke, which I was more than happy to eat. There was also a good crispness to the bark that I don't find all too often. The meat was certainly tender, though maybe just a tad dry at times. It was difficult not to inhale all of it at once, but I wanted to leave some leftovers for the next day's lunch.
My ribs were covered in a beautiful black crust and just a light drizzle of sauce. As soon as I bit in, I immediately got a big punch of delicious smokiness, almost as much as I found in the brisket. There was also a slight spiciness in each bite from the sauce. I'm not normally a big fan of sauced ribs, but it really worked well here.
Slow & Low BBQ Bistro may be a bit off the beaten path as far as Nashville barbecue goes, but it's absolutely worth the trip.
Slow & Low BBQ Bistro
333 54th Avenue N
Nashville, TN 37209