Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Back to the Ozarks

I do spend a lot of time in the Ozarks and rightly so.  The Ozarks is filled with restaurants that claim fame to the best in "something".  So, besides going back to Fired Up! and checking out items from their new menu (which everything we tried was awesome, again), we tried what is supposed to be the best BBQ in town.
First though, here is some food porn pictures from Fired Up!.

Their new salads in a jar:

This was my pulled pork sandwich with a slice of cornbread, sweet potatoes with marshmallow and some red skin mashed potatoes and gravy.

Just pulled pork.

While not personally eating all of the other dishes, I can only tell you about what I had.  The pulled pork is awesome, in any way you get it.  My sandwich was perfectly sweet and tender.  The cornbread is their same sweet cornbread which is like crack, or another addictive drug.  The sweet potatoes were completely candied with large amounts of butter and brown sugar and then they had these melted marshmallows on top and the thing was like my own personal dessert. The mashed potatoes still had small pieces of the red skins from the potatoes in them and the country style white gravy was great as well.  A 3 and 1/2 stars for my meal.

Anyways, the place that is supposed to be the best in town, is called "Half Sauced".

Half Sauced has awards and large trophies for their brisket and their pork, from 2009 and so forth.  Anyone who was a grand champion deserves a testing of tasting.  First of all, we ordered the smoked buffalo wings.
Theses tasted like the most perfectly cooked hot wings, with a smoky-ness to them that reminds you that they were cooked in a smoker with tons of other meats.  These were good enough that I would order several plates of these for a party.  I'd give them an easy 3 out of 5 stars.

Now, after this dish, we were only expecting the best, but were sadly disappointed as the best never came out.  Instead, when I had ordered the brisket sandwich, we had received this:
The first piece I had picked up, that middle piece, was perfect.  The meat fell apart and the fat melted.  It was so delicious that if I was judging on that piece alone, I would have given a 4 out of 5 stars for tastiness. The problem was that the next piece I had picked up was tough, like biting through leather.  It didn't have as much fat and I couldn't finish the piece and went to another one.  Now, Half Sauced has several home-made sauces and just like other places, Fired Up! included, they claim to make their own.  We tried their hot sauce and when we asked about it, we found out that it was basically just store bought hot sauce mixed with store bought BBQ sauce.  That makes everything a bit disappointing.

The baked beans were beans cooked and served in BBQ sauce.  They were more of a bean chili than a sweet baked beans that you would be accustomed to, in the Mid West.

What you should avoid, when you go there, is this plate that mentions brisket and something called "burnt ends".

They describe these "burnt ends" as Chewy, smoky, bits of brisket drenched in barbecue sauce."  When you read that line, I bet you are expecting something a bit chewy, but still edible, pieces of meat.  I am one of those people who will eat the ends of things like pot roast or brisket, because it has a bit of the char, extra flavorings and so forth on it.  These little, hard as a rock pieces, were nothing like the description.  They were not "drenched in sauce" but bone dry.  They were also not chewy, but so hard and tough that they could not be bitten in two.  I'm not joking!  There were 4 adults at our table and each one tried to bite a piece of these bits and it was impossible.  I remembered that one of my acquaintances asked the server if they were supposed to be that tough and she shook her head "yes".  How tough were they?  I wouldn't give them to a dog.  They were like bricks or meat and they were merely on the plate to make it look full.  The brisket was all over the board, just like my plate.  Some were tender and melt in your mouth and some were leather.  You would think that a "grand champion" would have perfect food, all of the time, but maybe they were just off, this time.  I'd give the dish, a 1 out of 5 stars, meaning I would not order it again and it was not edible.  

PS:  The steak fries, on the menu, were frozen from a bag.  Unless I am just that incorrect, but they were still cold in the middle and looked like the ones I could have bought in the frozen food section of any grocery store.

Overall, if I had to compare the two, I would spend my money at Fired Up! and tell everyone to go there.  

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