Sunday, June 22, 2008

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

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.
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint on Urbanspoon


BP said...

I love Martin's. I only wish it were closer!

Eric and Katie said...

I agree bp. Amd my only worry about a second, closer location, is if he could keep the quality level the same. There seems to be a whole lot of love and time going into that barbecue.

Lannae said...

Thanks for the tip on this BBQ place. If bp (bbq master) loves this place, I gotta give it a try. Luckily, I leave fairly close to Nolensville Rd :) hee hee for me! You find the best places.

bcj said...

I drive down there from Hendersonville as often as I can (which hasn't been often enough lately). Everything I've had has been fantastic, from wings to ribs to a "bomber"- this one isn't on the menu - best I can remember it's a brisket quesadilla with spicy BBQ sauce and jalapenos. Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and Martin's is one of my favorites, so I had to chime in.

ULIKA BBQ said...

go for the wings with the white sauce next time.

Martin's brisket is also really good. Brisket is one of the hardest things to cook and his brisket is very consistent. His brisket is 10x better than Judge Beans or Micky Roos.

Most likely the guy in the apron was Pat. He is very passionate about bbq and that goes a long way in my book.

Eric and Katie said...

Thanks for the tips on the next meal folks. One thing I really enjoy about Martin's is that he gets creative with presentation and combining flavors. Sounds like the wings will be next. And hey your blog. You've encouraged me to try a little bit of smoking myself.

ULIKA BBQ said...


send me an email

I can give you some tips

Cromptons' Pain Train said...

The place is amazing and come on folks, Nolensville is NOT that far for BBQ this good!

Anonymous said...

In my ohh so humble opinion, everything at Martin's is good, but when he does whole hog on the weekends, the redneck taco is life changing. Seriously, I smoke my own pork shoulders, but I know I will never achieve what he does with that pulled pork when its at his best. Local sourced whole pig smoked 24 hours. Stuff will make you melt.