Thursday, July 30, 2009

Barbe-quest, Burbanks:

Burbanks is in a strange location. Visible from the highway, but tucked away down a smaller road right next to it. They proclaim themselves to be authentic southern BBQ, and with the blues playing over the speakers, and the pig statue at the entrance, when I visit I am indeed reminded of my Grandparent’s favorite BBQ restaurant in Memphis—the Pig N Whistle. Burbank’s pig statue out front has even suffered similar mishaps to Pig N Whistle’s. Poor piggies, which are now both sans ears and tail.

We stopped by for some barbecue a few weeks ago with my Dad and Stepmom. It’s been awhile since I had been there, and David and I noticed a few changes on our last visit. Julie states that they have changed the recipe for their cornbread, and we concur. It’s not as good as it used to be.

We decided to get the appetizer sampler ($8.99) to start, with onion straws, little potato skins with pulled pork, cheese and green onion, fried green tomatoes and pig “wings” (deep fried ribs).

The pig wings were good, I thought they were a little salty, so I would not get a full appetizer order--one or two is enough. The fried green tomatoes were my favorite.

David also got a side salad ($2.49) beans and a full rack of ribs. ($21.99)

I chose the pulled pork platter, ($13.99) with sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, and instead of coleslaw, cinnamon apples. Apples are the only substitution for coleslaw, and I like them much better. Honestly, the macaroni and cheese was not very good. It is called a “casserole” on the menu, but what I was served was a gluey gloppy mess. The sweet potato casserole, on the other hand, was delicious. I could eat a big bowl of it for dessert. With ice cream. If you visit Burbanks and like sweet potato casserole, you must order it. There is no excuse.

But what about the Barbecue? David and I really wished it was fresher. We are not sure if we got that morning’s batch and it had been cooking for awhile, but the meat wasn’t really tender. It had good smoke flavor, but a real tough, jerky-like texture that was not quite right for good barbecue. I enjoyed the different sauce options and thought they were solid.

Though the barbecue was a little chewy, it’s not something that would cause me to veto a trip to Burbanks, so we may give it another shot closer to dinner and see if the meat’s any different. They also have diet Dr. Pepper, which is another plus.

Burbank's Real Barbecue on Urbanspoon


  1. Burbank's is shockingly inconsistent, but when the ribs and pork are at their best, they really are the best in the city. You just don't know what you're going to get, and the prices are too high to take a chance.

    Collards, white beans, sweet potato casserole are all good sides.

    Good luck on your bbq quest!

  2. Thanks D.B! We definitely will have to re-review on our next visit. If nothing else, I'll enjoy the sweet potato casserole. It's odd, when we went to Walt's on the west side, we really didnt like the BBQ either, but the sweet potato casserole was perfect.

  3. I miss Burbanks. Haven't been there in a while, but I loved the cornbread and all the available bbq sauces on the table.

    I'm closer now to City Barbecue, which has the same type of sauce choices on the table. Both places are really tasty.

  4. You go to Burbank's to see Sonny Moorman ..Enough said

  5. Burbanks Cincinnati has closed down - does anyone know WHY???? Loved the cornbread - anyone have the receipe????

    thanks for the last 20 years

  6. thanks for the heads up. we don't, I'm currently checking. no news stories, nada. I'll see if I can find the recipe, I think some similar ones were circulating on twitter. will post.

  7. They just weren't getting a steady business anymore. With the economy not being as strong as it previously had been, and Burbanks not really offering a decent value for the quality and quantity of food it ended up having to close. Its sad, b/c I think if they had been more competitively priced (offered coupons) and consistently had a good quality of food they would have survived.

  8. they were offering coupons. i guess they didn't advertise them well enough. i agree about sonny moorman- awesome band. loved the Thursday night jams at Burbanks. and the cornbread had vanilla pudding mixed into the batter. that's what gave it the cake like consistency and sweetness.


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