Yep, that's right. The Notorious "Redneck Taco." (top right)
If you visit Martin's BBQ in Nolensville, Tennessee (It's about a half hour drive south of Nashville) You can get your hands on some of these babies. You can also get your hands on some seriously good "Q." Martin's does it all. Chicken, turkey, brisket, BBQ, ribs and in the catering end, they go "Whole hog." Since his days in College, owner Patrick Martin has been honing his craft at various places. Learning the secrets of putting smoke to meat. Finally after more than 20 years, his BBQ education was complete. It was time to open his own joint. While a fan of BBQ from all parts of the globe, Patrick concentrates on southern BBQ and his specialty, whole hog.
In just a few short years, Martin's outgrew its original restaurant and a bigger venue was needed. 2010 marked the opening of the new place with its larger dining area and twin pits in the back.
Keeping up with demand both in house and off site requires both smokers full time and the pits on the trailer in the parking lot on the weekend.
Churning out that much goodness ensures everything is fresh.
I was first alerted by a reader of mine who was interested in my opinion of Martin's "Q." I'd been eyeballing it off and on for the last little while and finally, we made the journey. Seems we're not the only ones who'd heard about it. It's been featured in magazines such as Southern Living and Guy Fieri and the Triple D gang has paid a visit as well. All this attention meant it was busy. Then line was moderate and relatively quick moving when we showed up. We ordered and we waited only a few minutes for a table. Partway through lunch I noticed the line had dwindled to nothing and figured the lunch rush was over. Wrong. Before I could lick the sauce off my fingers and look back up, the line up was again about 10 people deep. What was once and emptying dining room was again full and the kids baseball team heading in as we left would ensure it would stay crowded for a while. Everyone we spoke to raved about the food and for good reason. It was top notch.
So without further adieu, the goodies.
We couldn't go there and not order a taco. Since we had other meats well represented on our "Big Momma Sampler" platter (ribs, BBQ and brisket), we opted for the chicken.
It comes with cheese, chicken BBQ and salsa on a flour tortilla with jalapenos for garnish. The chicken it's self was fantastic. A subtle smoke flavour and moist with the salsa and cheese rounding out the flavour. The tortilla was great. Flavourful and supple they get them fresh every day. It was both interesting an flat out tasty.
The brisket was good. Again, I'm not all that "Texan" about brisket but this one, served sliced was tasty. It was moist but not quite as much as little Paul's but it had the slight edge in flavour. I'd rate them about the same over all. It had a dollop of sauce on it. (Note the smoke ring)
The BBQ was nicely smoky, porky and juicy. It came with a finishing sauce that was different from the BBQ sauce. There wasn't a lot of it so the true pig flavour shone through.
The ribs come wet or dry, back or spare. We opted for the spare (side) ribs dry (Memphis style) which if you don't know, means rubbed only, no sauce. (Wet ribs have sauce cooked on/into them). The flavour was incredible. If they were saltier they'd have tasted like bacon. Quite smoky as you can tell by the pinkness of the meat. (If you didn't know, when smoke reacts with protein it turns it pink). In fact, the ribs may have spent too much time in the pit as they were just slightly over cooked. I'd definitely get them again though. probably a whole rack (or half and a taco).
The creamy slaw on the side I liked. Mrs. Sippi doesn't like creamy slaw so she didn't care for it.
The beans were among the best I've had. Very rich with a complexity from the molasses, jalapenos and plenty of BBQ.
Martin's sauce is quite interesting. It had a flavour that reminded me very much of my own enchilada sauce and molasses. It shared colour and flavour components I get from simmering dried chilies. It had a slight bite without being considered "Spicy" by either of us. In short, we both loved it.
NOTE: I was finally able to see the Diners, Drive Ins and Dive episode and the Pork Taco they showed was made of a corn bread pancake (Johnny Cake) topped with pulled pork, slaw and "Dixie Sauce." I'm not sure why the difference.
If you're ever in Nashville and want some great "Q" with a bit of an interesting twist, head on down to Martin's in Nolensville. It's the "A" location, behind the Sonic Drive In. The "B" location is the old one.
View Larger Map
You can visit them on the web and keep up with their blog as well.
Join their Facebook Group here.
See ya sometime down the road.