Thursday, February 17, 2011

Arizona BBQ

We found a winner, a real BBQ award winner, and we found it by chance in Cottonwood, Arizona. Hog Wild BBQ has been voted the Reader's Choice for BBQ Restaurants in the Verde Valley for five years straight. It also ranked as one of the state's six best BBQ places by the Arizona Republic newspaper. That's the same paper that listed the Mile High Grill's burgers as among the best in the state. We agree with the paper's assessment that both places are first rate! 

With so many tempting menu choices, the real challenge at Hog Wild was what to order for lunch. Pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausages, pork chops and burgers all sounded tempting. While we studied the lengthy menu I was distracted by the tempting, smokey barbecue aroma filling the restaurant. That really triggered my appetite alarm and added some urgency to our ordering. I needed wanted BBQ something, right now! We quickly agreed on the sampler plate and shared generous portions of brisket, ribs and pulled pork. 

Can you tell from the photo that we sampled the sample plate before I remembered to grab the camera? Oh yum, this was a terrific combination. The sauce was perfect, sweet and tangy with a welcome bite; not too assertive but with a definite flavor kick. Each meat choice was so smokey flavored, so meltingly tender you knew it had been slow-cooked for hours. 

The sampler came with Texas toasts, a basket of crisp french fries and our choice of two sides. Red potato salad and a bowl of cowboy beans filled out the order. The potato salad was good, if unremarkable. The beans benefitted from the addition of an extra dose of barbecue sauce to give them a needed flavor boost. (Confession: I was tempted to eat a bowl of the sauce with a spoon and ignore the beans.)

The sampler held enough food for three people, so we focused on the meat and just nibbled on the sides. The french fries sat almost untouched, and that's unusual for us. We were too full to eat dinner that evening, still smiling and satisfied after our winning barbecue lunch.

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