Story and photos by Mark Sterling-Ogle, Nov. 20, 2014.
In the same spot that housed the old Bobby McGee’s, which was best known for staff who served and entertained while wearing costumes bearing a likeness to comic book, movie, TV, or well-known historical and contemporary personalities, Bobby-Q opened in 2005.
It was early on a Sunday evening when my partner and I decided to check out what Bobby-Q had to offer. Although it is quite visible when headed south on the I-17 just north of Dunlap Avenue, it took a few twists and turns to finally find the parking lot.
The vintage neon signs and weather-worn wood added charm to the outside, as did the wafting, smoky aromas that clued us in that we were indeed headed into a great barbecue smokehouse.
The hostess advised us there would be a 20-minute wait, or we could take a seat at the bar, which also served a full menu. We chose to take the second option and ordered a couple of ultimate house margaritas ($9) and the Cajun shrimp ($12) appetizer.
Shortly thereafter, the Cajun shrimp arrived. One half dozen plump crustaceans submersed in a buttery beer bath, with garlic bread strips for dipping. There was just enough heat that built up as we enjoyed the shrimp and discussed how to narrow our dinner options from the many menu offerings.
The burgers and sandwiches were tempting. Pulled pork ($11) and sliced barbecue brisket ($11) had both been smoked over Tennessee hickory wood for 18 hours and included one side dish.
Side dishes run the gamut of smokehouse favorites, including mac and cheese, shoestring potatoes, ranch beans, pecan coleslaw, potato salad, roasted corn, mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables and loaded baked potatoes. Guests may also order sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions or a combination of the two ($4) a la carte.
We were here for a big Sunday night dinner and my partner was primed for some prime rib. Here, prime rib roasts are available after 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. There are several different ways to get the succulent slow roasted treat, including the 10-ounce cut ($22) and the 14-ounce cut ($27).
Under the winning combination section, touted as “big enough to share,” guests can pair an 8-ounce cut of prime rib with either a half a smoked and roasted chicken, an 8-ounce top sirloin or even the 8-ounce prime rib with five jumbo shrimp with a chimichurri topping.
Chimichurri is a green sauce originally from Argentina and is used much like pesto for grilled meats and fish. It is based on finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and white or red wine vinegar.
All of these combos come with one baked potato and two sides ($33).
Since I had my mind made up on having some ribs that evening, the combo platters were not given much thought other than to take note for a future visit. That being said, the wood-fired barbeque platter options included so many varieties I found it difficult to pick one.
There are three types of smoked ribs here, baby back pork (half, $20; full, $26), St. Louis, also referred to as spareribs (half, $19; full, $26), which tend to be more marbled with fat than the previous, and also jumbo Texas beef ribs ($25). Other choices include smoked sliced beef brisket ($17), pulled pork ($15) and spicy smoked hot link Sausages ($14).
Just to make things more fun for everyone, there are numerous combinations under this header, such as two types of ribs ($26), two meats ($22), three meats ($25) with two sides each or the whole hog heaven ($44) with two rib choices, three meats and three sides that will certainly put anyone in quite the carnivore quandary.
Fresh cornbread, complimented by whipped butter, accompanies all meals, and arrives warm and moist. My partner ordered the ranch house salad ($5.50). Although it was a basic house salad, it seemed to fit the style and price point of the establishment.
My partner selected the 14-ounce prime rib (medium-rare, at my insistence) with mashed potatoes and the ranch beans. The cut was cooked beautifully. Hints of rosemary and other savory herbs could be detect with each bite stood out. The mashed potatoes were whipped to a surprising creaminess and the ranch beans were chock-full of bits of flavorful meat.
I chose the two-rib combo with baby back and jumbo Texas beef ribs. The pork fell off the bones and was seasoned so perfectly that I didn’t need any of the three barbecue sauce offerings. I was impressed with the beef ribs; they were not as greasy as I was expecting. My sides included the mac and cheese, which I found to be rather generic and the pecan coleslaw, which was balanced just right between salty and sweet. The crushed pecans added a pleasant texture.
If you have the foresight to save room for dessert, enticing options are available. Sub-zero banana cream square, fresh seasonal cobbler, death by chocolate and Miss McGee’s mud pie are each priced and six and a half bucks … sadly, we were too replete to even consider taking one home.
Planning a get-together? From delivery service to catering, Bobby-Q provides a lip smackin’ good time for you and your guests Valley-wide, including servers, chefs, serving dishes, buffet tables, linens, and, of course, delicious barbecue.
8501 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix
602-995-5982 | bobbyq.net
Hours: Tues-Sun, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Mon, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.