Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Starr's Real Pit Bar-B-Que (6/10) - 1464 W Main St, Centre, AL 35960

As an advertisement for Starr’s Real Pit Bar-B-Que appeared over the horizon, I was curious whether I’d get accustomed to Alabama barbecue joints pushing the phonetically-friendly “Bar-B-Que” at me. As we pull into the restaurant that's located at the front end of a strip-mall, I’m hoping that Starr’s isn’t the Disney version of barbecue.

The restaurant itself was fairly large. Starr's showcased a good number of long wooden tables, a powered-down flat-screen that hung over a fireplace, a salad bar, a fairly-small oscillating fan (also powered-down), and a waitstaff that looked as beat up and down-south as the prison employees on the show "Jail". While waiting for the large pulled pork sandwich that we ordered, we perused the restaurant looking for anything of interest. We were amused that 50% of the space on the menu was dedicated to advertisements for the local Centre community. Then we stumbled across their memorabilia for sale. Starr's sold shirts. That's it and that's all. Polo shirts and t-shirts, your choice. Pictures of smokers and colorful fatter-than-fuck pigs typically adourn the shirts of other barbecue establishments... but I have never in my life seen a fish on the front of a barbecue shirt. It wasn't a colorful cartoon looking fish either. It looked like a bass casually swimming through the muck on the lake-floor without a care in the world. I called over to the group and was on the receiving end of a look on my old lady that unmistakenly said, “Maybe I made a huge mistake”.

Surprisingly, the large chopped pork sandwich had good flavor despite lacking solid smokiness that I was anticpating. I assume Centre, Alabama's economy hasn’t been playing nice with Starr so the restaurant decided to cut back on the wood/gas ratio to keep its margins up. We consequently compensated for the lack of smokiness with a nice solid application of their spicy barbecue (Bar-B-Que) sauce which was actually delicious. I faintly recall diced onion in the meat, something very unconventional in the industry. We enjoyed our sandwich split 3-ways, Taylor and my old lady were getting into the swing-of-things, the pace was set, and continued on our tour.

Real Pit Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

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Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.