I’m always on the prowl for new barbecue. You’ve gotta look beyond the stripmall to find the hidden gem. Case in point is this article I wrote about a church BBQ fundraiser a few months back. It is also how I discovered Q at this joint on McFarland, a place I didn’t plan to review this summer.
So I’m driving down McFarland one day and notice blue smoke billowing from smoker attached to a pickup truck. Next I see the signs. Dottie’s Delight? Barbecue? I was scratching my head. I tried this place once, years ago, for breakfast. I wasn’t impressed. It was basically a lunch counter for construction guys with marginal breakfast options. It was also next to a sketchy looking “massage parlor”. I didn’t go back… until yesterday.
It seems they are in the midst of a transformation, from Dottie’s to something called Bad Wolf BBQ and Pancake House. The to-go menu I swiped says the grand re-opening is in September sometime. But in the meantime, Q has already taken over the lunch menu. I found pulled pork, brisket, ribs and chicken. Humm, sounds like a KCBS barbecue contest. I settled in on a quarter rack of ribs and pulled pork combo. Went with stew as a side item, available at an up-charge (boo).
The pulled pork looked great. The size of the strands of meat was about right, not too thick and a perfect size for a sandwich. It had an impressive smoke ring and a tiny bit of bark. It was moist and somewhat smokey but not overpowering. It could have been more tender but still decent. It worked great with the slices of white bread.
The ribs are baby backs. I was told that my rack just came out of the smoker. They come without sauce but with just a dusting of extra dry rub. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were dry rub ribs, just had a few shakes for extra flavor. Nevertheless I thought they were very good. They were the perfect in tenderness. Fall off the bone is too tender by my book. These were soft yet had enough body to cling to the ribs ever so slightly. They were smokey and delicious. Just be warned, if you want a glaze or caramelized crust on your ribs you won’t find it here.
They have four sauces on the table. That’s way too much in my opinion. As I remember they had a mustard style, western North Carolina style and two Kansas City sauces. I thought the pulled pork went well with the KC style sauce, especially on the bread. The ribs didn’t need any at all.
The Brunswick Stew is very thick with limas and potatoes I think. There are some pretty large hunks of meat in it, but had a tartness that I didn’t care for a lot. The Q easily outshines the stew here.
On my way out I chatted with the pitmaster on his way to the smoker. He’s just a good old boy from South Carolina cooking what he loves. He seemed genuinely interested in what I thought if his barbecue. We talked some about his smoker and fuel (hickory and oak logs). It was just refreshing to eat Q from and honest to goodness pit smoker and not a Southern Pride electric oven.
Dottie’s/Bad Wolf surprised me. Don’t expect anything fancy here. It still has that lunch counter feel with NASCAR pictures on the wall. Do expect barbecue using traditional cooking methods. You just don’t see this stuff anymore in the affluent burbs.
Dottie’s Delight is located at 765 McFarland Parkway near the intersection of Union Hill Road. It is across the street from BB’s Bagels.