9/16/11 We rate them a solid B
3.25 out of 5
As my roots were once firmly planted in eastern North Carolina, the juices of whole hog pulled pork BBQ literally course through my veins. We ordered out from BrushFire BBQ, again.
From an early age, two or three times a year at family gatherings, I was allowed to participate in the ritual of barbecuing a whole hog. Low and slow, always over charcoal, The Men would gather around the cooker at 6am in the backyard and start the coals. Over the years the cookers evolved from makeshift cinder block lined pits with heavy fence wire strung across them to full on hinged oil barrels mounted on trailers.
Even now, if you live in eastern North Carolina you can rent all different manner and versions of pig cookers on wheels. In fact, if you give a down east farmer a welding torch, an oil drum, two hinges and two tires guess what you’ll get today? A really cool cooker that is also a long metal picnic table with built in seats with the pig cooker actually mounted on the end. Of course it’ll seat 22 people because being sandwiched in between a slow roasting pig and a cooler full of beer is a good thing. The “deluxe version” naturally has a cooler welded and mounted to the other end and all of it attached to a trailer. It’ll set you back 35 dollars and a day and you have to bring it back clean, which also explains the “no cleaning pig cookers in this facility” signs posted at nearly every self-serve car wash.
We’ve ordered in BrushFire BBQ for the office three or four times. The one thing I want to say, if I have anything negative to say about BrushFire is that they need to get their “to go” orders correct. Without fail they have left a side or two out every time we’ve made a to go order for pick up, and the last time an entire order of chicken wings was left out. Because they’ve done this without fail, we are going to start them out at a rating of 4.25 instead of a 5 and go from there.
On this visit we cut a wide swath through the considerable number of items BrushFire has placed on their menu. That is one of the first things you will notice, that is that they have a huge variety of menu items which for us on this trip included wings (can’t rate them because they never made it to the plate), BBQ Chicken, Beef Brisket, shredded chicken, and the pulled pork along with almost all of their 13 sides.
The second thing you get from BrushFire is that to experience a plate of their pulled pork and BBQ Chicken is to be instantly transported to the smoking cookers they use to create almost everything on their menu.
Let’s start with their sides. So many I can’t resist listing them; corn on the cob, beans, two kinds of potato salad, bread, two kinds of slaw, green beans, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, mac n cheese, fries and of all things, Frito chips. Oh, and corn bread. We tried several. Their beans are obviously the “thing” they want you to be blown away by. And you will be. The slaw and their version of the mustard based potato salad are spot on delicious. The corn on the cob? Well, just plain overcooked and fell short of the mark. Full of smoky flavor but all of the natural sweetness was cooked out and somehow replaced with watery niblets. This leads me to point out that BrushFire’s forte, which is their ability to infuse the right amount of smoke into BBQ and Brisket may also be, in my opinion, a little bit over done when it comes to their sides.
Brushfire’s BBQ pulled pork draws on the traditional low and slow method while they also infuse quite a bit of smoky delicious flavor. The result is a very juicy, slightly overcooked for my preference, but still damn good pulled bbq pork. I have to give them serious props on the taste.
The shredded chicken combo was just plain delicious. Juicy, packed with flavor and succulent. The roasted/bbq smoked chicken was unfortunately exactly the opposite. The really great flavor of the roasted chicken was quickly erased because it was unpleasantly dry. I dare to point out this chicken breast was either overcooked or held far too long. As our order was placed at 11 am, no excuses.
BrushFire has inserted a little stroke of genius; unlike many BBQ shacks, they provide a variety of BBQ sauces and so when you order you get to decide which kind of their six sauces you would like. Their sauces, although each distinctly different from one another, all seem to share a little bit of the sticky sweet quality which makes them both cling to and permeate the meat.
If you stop by, BrushFire is set onto one of those strip shopping malls. The interior décor is a great version of a BBQ shack with high wooden tables and chairs. You are practically in the kitchen as you sit there.
They also feature smoked Turkey, sausage, ribs, salmon and donuts. Ok, just kidding on the donuts. Seriously, if you love BBQ you need to do yourself a favor and check this place out.
Medium priced to a little on the high side. They earn it. I’ve been trying out several version of BBQ in Tucson (taking one for the team) and this is one of our best.
Everything you need to know http://www.brushfirebbq.com/