Let’s get the positives out of the way first. One Star Ranch is the most authentic-looking barbecue restaurant in Alpharetta. I like to ding Q joints on fake decor that comes across as cheesy. One Star has its share of bling on the walls. Old license plates, rattle snake skins, etc. If you pulled it all off the walls and hung it up in a strip mall space it would look contrived. But given One Star’s dive joint location, I find it completely believable. Maybe that’s a double standard I have. I just really enjoy the look and feel of this restaurant. I also like that they have live blues music from time to time.
But, (and this is a big BUT), the quality of the barbecue here is seriously lacking. I used to kinda like this place years ago, before the barbecue scene in town got competitive. Or put another way, I liked them before Smokejack and ‘Cue considerably raised the bar. I last visited One Star about three years ago. The ribs at that time were fatty and tough. I vowed never to return. I felt they needed another shot before writing a serious review.
On my last visit I stuck with chopped pork with a few sides. The pork comes out a course, thick chop with an average amount of outside meat. They will sauce it in the kitchen so I asked for it on the side. Their sauce, served warm, is a heavy ketchup base that I don’t really care for. The Q itself was a little on the chewy side and lacked flavor. The outside meat has promise, but several bites tasted of soot from the smoker. I struggled to eat half of it. Very disappointing.
For sides I picked stew and jalapeno corn bread. I’ve enjoyed the bread in the past, which has a little kick. On this night it was dry and tasted like it had been reheated. The stew wasn’t bad, the only part of my meal I enjoyed. I’ve heard folks rave about the tub of onion rings. I’ve never had them, might be worth a try.
Maybe judging these guys on pork alone isn’t fair. But to this barbecue fan (with North Carolina roots and Memphis taste buds), One Star doesn’t do it for me. If you’re from Texas and want a feel for a Q joint in that genre, One Star might work. The rest of the menu, with brisket, sausage and beef ribs, round out the Texas feel. I’d come back for a beer and some blues music, but skip the barbecue.
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