Nashville Restaurants and Food
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
7215 Nolensville Road
A lot of folks think Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is one of the best barbecue spots in the Nashville area. So, why did it take me so long to get there? It’s about a zillion miles from home. Nolensville is a pretty little town about 8 miles south of far south Nashville. It’s a nice drive and well worth a day trip. You know the word is out about a place when it’s in the middle of nowhere and yet the parking lot is jam packed full of contractor’s trucks. Inside it looks like a middle-aged guy convention, with a few barbecue connoisseurs mixed in with the working crowd. You wait in line to order and take in the road house atmosphere. Martin’s certainly looks and feels like a barbecue joint with license plates and rock and roll albums nailed to the rough cut wood plank walls. Once you order get ready to wait, this isn’t fast food. On this day I hit a massive lunch rush that had the entire staff apologizing for the wait. And I do mean apologizing. Just about everyone in the place came by to check on the food once it came out, and apologized yet again. It was only a 20 minute wait. You can tell these folks take their customers seriously.
Two of the favorites judging from this lunch crowd: the Redneck Tacos with pulled pork, slaw and sauce piled on top of a big cornbread pancake (hoecake), and Brisket Tacos, which are more like real tacos with brisket inside. I wanted to sample a bunch of the smoked meats, which you can do if you have a big enough group and $35 to plunk down. I went with the sparerib combo plate.
I ordered the ribs dry with sauce on the side. They arrived in a huge slab, nicely charred and with rub still sprinkled on top. The smoke is really delicate, slightly sweet and delightful. Meat this tender and succulent doesn’t need barbecue sauce, but a little dip here and there puts it over the top. That sauce is a sweet tomato base with just hint of vinegar for tang. There’s plenty of fat to these spare ribs, so get ready for some grease. It makes for one flavorful slab of pork and enough meat that I actually had to say ‘no mas’ and put the rest in a to-go container. It was, in short, a bit of rib heaven.
The hand cut French fries are a great side. They combine the bite of skin on flavor with a thick cut and nice fry. The slaw is fresh and light and while not a standout, still a good accompaniment to the meat. Many orders come with the slaw piled on top.
Just as I was finishing a guy in an apron, sweat covering the back of his shirt, came over to check on me one last time. “Sorry for the wait, we really got slammed.” I’ve never met Pat Martin, so I’m not sure if this was him or not. It was actually kind of funny at this point. I’ve eaten is so many crappy places and faced a longer wait. To have such amazing barbecue, in such a friendly and fun surrounding, would be worth a wait twice as long. I’ll be back as soon as I save up my gas money for the drive. Or Mr. Martin could consider a second location, perhaps in East Nashville? We can only dream.
I paid $13.50 with tax for ribs, two sides and a drink.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Nashville Restaurants and Food