Is there anything more classic than barbecue? Across the country, many are out to claim their title as “Best BBQ” in some shape or form. In Utah, Pat’s BBQ is a pretty big name, they have many award titles to their name, and some say its the first original barbecue in Salt Lake City.
While I was at work one day, my boss started talking about good barbecue and he mentioned Pat’s. Later that day he gave me a leftover gift card he had from a couple nights before, so that definitely encouraged us to make the drive over there.
Pat’s is located just behind State Street in a little industrial area. At first it might seem a little dodgy, but once your turn down it’s alley you’ll see a crowded street with cars all lined up for Pat’s. So seems pretty safe to say, this will be a good place just from the initial look of it.
When you walk in this is the hallway you are greeted with, the walls are covered with mixed types of art, and media, to your right theres a take out area and just past that you’ll see the open doors into the kitchen.
I absolutely love when you can see the kitchen working in a restaurant, gives me a better sense of security about how my food is being handled.
When we approached the host he asked if we were hear to see the band or if we wanted to watch the Winter Olympics on television. We were wanting a more relaxed experience so we opted for the olympics.
The seating arrangements are all tables and benches, and the host offered any table to us. (I know it looks empty, but there were other diners) He immediately took our drink orders, and gave us his honest opinion on what he thought of the beer my fiancé was inquiring about. Not 30 seconds later, the waiter was there to explain how the menu worked and ask if there was anything else we needed in the meantime. See menu here
Ordering is easy, pick your meat, and add a side if you’d like. Most of the plates come with cornbread and the meats are offered in different sized portions to accommodate every appetite. They serve mostly local beers, but do have some bigger names if you’re not willing to venture out.
We ordered a 1/2 pound of pulled pork, 1/2 rack of ribs, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Everything is served in baskets and paper, adding a little classic touch to the meal. Daniel ordered the seasonal Uintah beer, and I just went with a Diet Coke. Pat’s also has their signature sauces that come in House Mild, and Sweet Heat flavors. I thought the sauces were both pretty decent, the Sweet Heat was hot without much flavor, but the House Mild was good.
When we took our first bite of pulled pork we were very pleased, it was flavorful and had beautiful texture, not too sloppy or dry like some pulled pork I’ve tried. It was delicious enough to eat without any sauces, in fact I think the sauces masked the delightful flavor of the pork. The ribs however were a total disappointment, they were tough and dry, the rub which is supposed to be award winning and spectacular, was pretty unimpressive. I couldn’t eat more than one rib, it wasn’t worth the effort, so we were left fighting over the pork.
The sides were pretty good, although its kind of hard to mess up on your mashed potatoes and coleslaw. They had a nice homemade feel to them, the potatoes were buttery, with a few chunks and skins, (which I enjoy) with a complimenting gravy over the top, and the coleslaw was rich with seasoning and a good combination of flavors. Yet, the corn bread was dry and lacked flavor, even after I topped it with butter and honey.
Overall, we were pretty dissatisfied with the initial part of our meal, but since were are doing reviews we must continue on to dessert. We selected the cinnamon roll bread pudding. Which was very aromatic as soon as it touched our table.
I can’t say it was terrible, but it also wasn’t anything worth going wild about. The added cinnamon was really good, but it honestly tasted like it just came out of the microwave. It was slightly tough and a little chewy, although it tasted like it would’ve been delicious fresh. I’m not a huge fan of canned whipped cream, and now I learned some desserts shouldn’t be served on paper. The moisture from the pudding was quickly soaked up and paper bits ended up in every bite I took there after.
I will say that the service was really good, the host was there as a back up waiter the entire time and our actual waiter was attentive and quick, they didn’t bother us too much, but someone was there when we needed something.
The bill came out to about $50 after tips, and I wouldn’t do it again. We could eat at a better barbecue spot for less and leave much happier.
I wonder if there was a change to Pat’s BBQ, in recent years to lead to this mediocre dining experience. They were even featured on Guy Fieri’s tv show “Diners, drive-ins, and dives” back in 2009, but their site shows no awards after 2013. It didn’t quite make the cut with us, maybe it was a bad night, perhaps its slowly declining in quality and taste, or something else all together.
I was hoping for an awesome experience, so I am sad to say we weren’t impressed with the food. I’ve asked around and seems like people are split on their feelings towards the food here. Some still say its the best, while others share similar opinions to ours.
Have you been to Pat’s BBQ recently? We are always open to trying a food spot again to see if we get a different result. Feel free to leave a comment and describe your experience dining there.