Sunday, June 15, 2014

Famous Dave's BBQ

Dave Anderson, an Ojibwa who served as the head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, started the first Famous Dave's restaurant near Hayward, Wisconsin in 1994. Today, the fast casual chain, of more than 200 locations, serves a variety of barbecued meats, sauces, sides, and, yes, beers.

The statement, "You can darn near bet we'll be open at 11 ('lessen the cook don't show)," greets patrons as they enter the mock hillbilly setting, complete with steel tubs for lamp shades, walls of exposed wood, beer brand themed mirrors and signs featuring backwoods style slang, in addition to the aforementioned statement of hours.
Hot link & deep fried pickles at Famous Dave's BBQ
Subject: Hot link & deep fried pickles at Famous Dave's BBQ | Date: 06/12/2014 | Photographers: James Kiester This picture was taken by the author of this blog.
I recently visited Famous Dave's Beaverton, Oregon location, on Cedar Hills Blvd., for a lunch consisting of a 1/3 lbs. Hot Link Sausage, a regular order (as opposed to a  large order) of Deep Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing for dipping, and a Pepsi.  Technically, the pickles are listed as an appetizer, but they make a nice chip-like side.

In the BBQ world, there exists some debate as to the definition of a "Hot Link Sausage."  There are Pittsburgh Hot Links, Texas Hot Links, Louisiana Hot Links, and Chicago style Hot Links.  Some eaters insist a Hot Link is fresh uncured sausage, while others define them as spicy Italian sausages containing fennel.  Other definitions involve the presence of, or lack of, specific curing agents and spices.

What I had could be best described as a smoked spicy Kielbasa covered with a peppery sweet BBQ sauce.  The sausage was about six inches long with five evenly space cuts which allowed the sauce into the interior of the meat.  The cuts also revealed an array of visible spices which gave the meat a zesty flavor,  The coating of sauce added an additional layer of  tangy spiciness without making the dish overwhelmingly hot.

The fried pickles, made from slices of dill pickles, were crunchy with a pleasant saltiness complementing the tartness of the dill based pickling.  The ranch dip tasted like a typical store bought salad dressing, but added a tangy coolness to the pickle.  Most impressive was the generosity of the serving size, a "regular order" being more than two hungry people could polish off.

My meal cost about $8 and was quite tasty.  Of course, for a restaurant that works hard to mimic a down home BBQ experience, I would've expected complimentary white bread or soda crackers to be served alongside each order of barbecued protein.  Still, Famous Dave's BBQ delivered an enjoyable eating experience, allowing me to award the eatery 8.6 out of 10 stars.

Photo courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
Interesting Side Note:

Across the street from Famous Dave's sits Winco Grocery, where I buy my everyday food items.  As I browsed the shelves, I came across Famous Dave's Spicy Pickle Spears.  I bought some, figuring the jar held a jazzed up version of the dill pickles they fry in the restaurant.  I was wrong.

When I bit into a spear I found a crisp sweet pickle with a kick of heat.  The heat complements, rather than overpowers, the sweetness, making the pickle a flavor balanced snack.

They're delicious pickles, but have nothing to do with Famous Dave's restaurant fare.
Side Note 2:
Since this review was posted this location has sadly closed for business.

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