Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adam's Rib Smokehouse

(Also read part 2 -- September 2011)

May 6, 2011, was my last day of work in the Willamette law school admissions office. With everyone in the admissions office aware of my passion for good food and food challenges, I felt it was appropriate to walk a couple of blocks to Adam's Rib Smokehouse to split the Goliath Burger.

Adam's was recently voted Best BBQ in Salem. Congratulations!

The Goliath Burger can also be a quantity food challenge. One person has 60 minutes to finish roughly five pounds of food (about 2 lbs of meat, a pound of bun, a pound of fries, and a pound of veggies and special sauce). If that individual eats everything and retains it within the hour, he/she gets the $20 meal free and an "I Conquered Goliath" T-shirt.

Behold...the Goliath Burger (with veggies and sauce on the side):

Don't be misled here, it's bigger than a 2 lb. burger. The meat alone is at least close to 2 lbs.
Two of my (now former) co-workers also ordered a salad for all of us. Although we split the burger five ways, we still failed to eat everything. We finished the burger and salad, but the amount of fries and veggies on the Goliath proved to be too much.

The burger was not bad. The bun was pretty soft and the cheese was warm and melted. Despite the size of the meat, the beef was properly cooked.

Unfortunately, the fries were horrible. I am not a fries person, and the fries at Adam's looked unappealing from the start. I tried them for the experience, and yes, they were disappointing. Instead of being crispy and golden brown, the fries were greasy, soggy, and salty.

I had to give Adam's a second chance because, well, they are a BBQ joint. And besides, I can't give them a grade based off a burger challenge, right?

All BBQ joints I review get the same taste test: ribs (beef and/or pork) and chicken, cole slaw, and any other sides I feel like trying.

So I went back on May 17, 2011. I ordered a two-meat combo: pork ribs, chicken, two sides (cole slaw and garden salad), and a corn muffin. I also got three of their BBQ sauces: Hefeweizen, Kentucky Bourbon, and "Blazen Hot."

Chicken, pork ribs, and corn muffin
Blazen hot sauce in back left, Kentucky Bourbon sauce in middle, Hefeweizen on near right

Garden salad (w/side of Honey Mustard dressing) and cole slaw
I was happy with my choices. The pork ribs were had an awesome smoky flavor that you only get with hours of low-and-slow cooking. Same thing with the chicken. It was nicely seasoned and still had some good moisture on it. The ribs and chicken could have been more tender, and I wish they fell off the bone a little easier. The meats were also not hot to the touch, which concerns me that it had been just sitting in a warm area for some time.

I really enjoyed all the BBQ sauces. The "Blazen Hot" sauce doesn't start off as very spicy, but the punch does come when eating a bunch of it over time. I definitely tasted the bourbon in the Kentucky Bourbon sauce, always a welcome taste to me. The Hefeweizen...also great. Need I say more there?

The cole slaw was pretty good. All too often, I'll find BBQ places selling cole slaw where the veggies are just saturated in liquid, and it just looks unappetizing. Adam's did a respectable job of controlling the amount of mayonnaise-y liquid at the bottom of my serving, keeping the slaw on the crunchy side.

The corn muffin was good for what it was. It held its shape nicely until I put some give on it, and the piece just started crumbling. Perhaps it's just me, but I'm not a huge corn muffin or cornbread fan. It's usually just too dry for my taste buds.

I still have issues with Adam's fries...I thought they were horrible. But it's about the BBQ meats here, and Adam's did a good job there. I can basically walk to Adam's from my place, so I can go there anytime I want.

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