When I was a kid on trips with my parents, my mother non-stop would be giving us a running commentary on all the things that we were seeing. Every mile or so, something on the side of the road would grab her fancy, and she would say, ‘Isn’t that the CUTEST thing…..isn’t THAT the cutest thing..(ad more infinitum than a room of math majors with pocket protectors can imagine). At some point on every trip, I wanted to scream..’WOULD YOU PICK ONE DAMN THING AS THE CUTEST, and CALL IT A FREAKIN’ DAY!!?’. The fact that my father would turn me into something that would make roadkill look cute kept my mouth shut. To this day, when I hear the word ‘cute’, I shudder like a kid taking a leak in a cold swimming pool (I’ve read about such activity).
The point of all this is that despite a local bbq chain’s name to the contrary, there’s nothing cutie about barbecue. Barbecue in the south is as serious and sectarian as a room full of Church of Christers staring at a room full of Southern Baptists both wondering what the other was doing there. Depending on where you are in the state of Tennesse, barbecue sauce is vinegar based, molasses based or hot-as-hell based. I’ve known people who have driven to Elizabethton from middle Tennessee just to eat at Ridgewood. Anytime I’m near Memphis, I take the trek to Interstate Barbecue.
In my humble opinion, until now, the best barbecue in Tennessee has been on the outer edges (Tri-Cities and Memphis). Nashville has had some good bbq joints: Hog Heaven, the original Cantrells on Cleveland and McFerrin, Pop’s on 28th across from Swetts and Mary’s right down the road on Jefferson. Nashville now has an entree into GREAT BBQ. Mothership BBQ rocks the party and pulls the pork succulantly (you can’t legally talk about bbq without using the word ‘succulant’.
The Knucklehead (proprieter Jim Reams) understands that you don’t have to bring the heat cayenne style to the table. His pulled pork is not dried out and it won’t burn your mouth. Any ‘cue that retains the smoky flavor with a sauce that emphasizes the meat rather than overpowering the meat works for me. The pulled pork at the Mothership does all this and more.
I had the pleasure of consuming some of Mothership’s finest alongside the trinity (Aunt B, Coble and Sarcastro). Does it get any better than that in our city? Great barbecue with three of the most frightening minds in blog-urbs..
Good times. Go to Berry Hill and board the Mothership. It’s more than worth the trip (and even if you don’t have to use the ‘facilities’, check em’ out anyway).