Red's True Barbecue

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Day #4.1 2014 Pilgrimage: Nashville

April 24, 2014 | BBQ Road Trip

Waking up, the morning after a night out on Broadway, Nashville, loooong on bourbon, the only sound to be heard on the RV was the humming of last night’s tunes. The humming turned to whistling then raucous singing.  This city’s nickname is ‘Music City’ after all, and we couldn’t believe just how good the quality of the live music had been.

The Broadway strip is an assault on the senses, If it’s not the seemingly hundred thousand lumens beaming out though the giant-sized neons, it’s the pounding music oozing out of the venues, pulling you in like a tractor beam to drink, dance and sing out loud.

Having not been able to get in to Peg Leg’s or Jack’s (due to an early Monday and Tuesday finish we weren’t aware of!), we kick-started our night at Rippy’s, a three-floored bar-come-restaurant-come-live music venue sitting on the corner of 5th Ave, and Broadway. The top floor is open plan and throws caution to the wind for actual windows, allowing the sounds to pour onto the street and the customers to feel like they’re a part of the whole city’s experience.

We tucked into a spread of meaty baby back ribs (the loin extended one whole inch from the bone, making us first think it was a half chicken it was so thick and juicy), hand sliced smoked pork loin which is finished on the grill, chicken wings and a tonne of fries and potato salad sides. The highlight was probably the sliced pork loin, deep smokiness and really moist. The rest passed for average, but the ice cold PBR and music compensated just fine. Interestingly, PBR in Kentucky is seen as shit, weak trucker brew, in stark contract to its hipster status back home.

Big ass baby backs 

Big ass baby backs with PHAT loin
Next stop; The Stage, an iconic venue which has hosted a who’s who of American music legends. The bourbon and cokes flowed as we were treated to a bouncing American rock/country/Motown set set from The Matt Gray Band – it was like being back at Red’s. Van Halen’s Jump into Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing into Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke and on and on….leaving hoarse and liquored up, we jumped on the shuttle taxi back to the RV park…

The Matt Gray Band


As we shuffled onboard, two long-haired stoner dudes, looking akin to American pop band Hanson, slinked past us and took a seat. No sooner had we left, but they realised this wasn’t the bus they wanted and called out to stop. Well, the whole bus was high on bourbon and beats, and collectively destroyed these lads: “Fuck you Hanson” cried out a bloke. Clearly stoned, one of them flicked a limp and weak bird back to the passengers. All of sudden the whole bus roared a much louder “Fuuuuuck you Haaaanson” and broke into the band’s famous “MMMBop” before banging on the windows thrusting Vs as the bus zoomed away. Killed ’em.

However, this bus journey was set to be ill-fated for us too. The following ‘cue joint recommendation – McKenzies – we received from a big-necked rolypoly Canadian was a real stinker. If Colorado thinks this place kicks out ‘awesome barbecue’ shhhiiiiiiiiiitt, we ain’t never ever going there.

There was early promise with this old school smoker parked up outside. But this is where it ended.  It’s a fast casual style where they weigh out your portions. But oh Jesus. The worst barbecue we ever tasted.


False promise of good ‘cue

False promise of good 'cue


The giveaway was that everything was wrapped in foil and had probably been kept under heaters for several hours, steaming in its own juices. (At Red’s we carry out four to five smokes a day, so everything is fresh.)



The spare ribs had a limited dry rub with no BBQ sauce. The meat was under smoked and tasted like it was roasted. It broke up and was heinously mushy.

Spare ribs


The pulled chuck joint; well, I could eat a pair of Espadrilles that were moister.

The links were dreadful. A fine grain, tasting like a cold beef hotdog. It was a weird consistency, like mechanically reclaimed product (MRP)

Brisket and sides




The crackling had been cooked in an oven, then sweated in a plastic sealed bag. It was dripping when taken out.

Dill pickles. Both the Hot Mama and Original were gag-makingly vile.

Hot Mama dill pickle


Dill pickle


And the list goes on.  Beans awful, slaw weak, potato salad vastly too sweet but not offensive. Perhaps the only saving grace, and the best part of a god awful, dreadful meal, was the southern apple pie, similar to a cornish pasty, but deep fried!

This is probably tastier than everything we had. And I don’t know what it is.

We have no idea what this is
The only way to freshen our mouths and bring some levity to a pup of a joint? Buy some Grizzly spearmint chewing tobacco and watch bumble bees have an orgy.

Onwards to Memphis…

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