I have to admit right out of the gate that I am extremely picky when it comes to barbecue. If I am going to eat it, it better be done right – which means not fatty or chewy, but tender and juicy, full of flavor before you pour any sauce on, just slightly fall of the bone and smokey with crusty burnt end bits. See what I mean? Not picky at all really, just belief in barbecue done the way it should be done. There’s a science to it. An art, if you will.
And the guys at Dead End BBQ have the art of making barbecue down to a science. They’ve been voted best in Knoxville for the 3rd year in a row since they opened their doors.
Rem and I both have major cravings for their food. Naturally, the last time we visited, I figured it was about time we did a review on the ol’ Blog. So here we are, sharing our local restaurant knowledge, er, opinions with you again.
The menu is loaded with your typical barbecue joint fare and then some. One of the most unique eats for a barbecue place is the grilled smoked bologna sandwich. I’ve never heard of a pit master smoking bologna before now. Then there is the Mac Attack – basically a pulled pork sandwich loaded with mac n’cheese between sourdough bread. Wow. Just Wow.
We almost always order the Plate or BBQ Combo Plate. You can choose between their pulled pork, beef brisket, competition chicken, pulled smoked chicken, smoked sausage or st. louis cut ribs. Then you have your choice of two sides (most are your typical southern sides with a unique twist) – our favorites are the sweet potato chips, red, white and bleu slaw, mixed greens, and macaroni and pimento cheese. You can also order the sweet potato chips as an appetizer. I highly recommend it. We crave their sweet potato chips (which are really just waffle fries). Finally you get your choice of bread – southern cornbread, jalapeno cornbread or texas toast.
They are also one of the few places in town with Guinness on tap. You just can’t beat a Guinness poured from the tap. Mr. Brown, of course, enjoyed a beer with our dinner. I believe he chose Fat Tire, which is also on tap.
Dead End’s three sauces are within easy reach on your table. They are labeled as “Gratefully Dead – Hot”, “Dead End Red – Regular”, and “Peacefully Dead – Mild”.
The restaurant is always extremely clean and the galley of the kitchen is open to view of the dining room. If you are looking for a patio to enjoy your meal, they have covered and heated area to eat outside.
This trip Mr. Brown ordered the Combo plate with pulled pork, smoked sausage, macaroni and pimento cheese, sweet potato chips and jalapeno corn bread. Of course the pulled pork is top notch, but we were both surprised by their smoked sausage. I am not always partial to sausage (see my very first comment – it has to be done right), but I have chosen theirs over the brisket and ribs many times. It is juicy, flavorful and tender – not gristly at all.
I ordered the loaded nachos. This is the large portion of the appetizer and really is more than enough for three meals. You get your choice of meat – pork, beef brisket or chicken. I chose pork. Tri-colored corn chips are loaded with beans, pork, cheese and onion straws. On the side is salsa and sour cream. The nachos are definitely your typical plate of chips and cheese, but done to perfection. Nothing bad can be said here, except for possibly complaints over eating too much of them.
I hope you will try out one of Knoxville’s local gems. You will certainly be going back time and time again when you get a craving for delicious barbecue.