Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There Are Differing Definitions of Mild - Germantown Commissary

For dinner I went to the Germantown Commissary, located in a converted 19th century general store in the old section of Germantown just south of the train tracks. Germantown is a relatively affluent suburb of Memphis that has used strict zoning regulations over the years to heavily limit the size and number of big box retailers, car lots and and shopping centers. This has allowed the town to avoid the blight that most suburban sprawl experiences as their large commercial areas age.

I’ve always liked the barbecue at the Commissary, and the pulled pork I had tonight was excellent, as were the beans and slaw. And the deviled egg included with the sides was a nice little added bonus. But I was surprised by how bland the sauces seemed. The restaurant had both hot and mild versions at the table. The mild was relatively flavorless and even the “hot,” while tasty, just seemed like a regular barbecue sauce. At first I thought that maybe my recent experiences dining on truly hot “hot" barbecue sauce at places like Reggi’s and Cozy Corner had shifted my taste buds, but I was eating with my dad and he commented on the same thing while giving his plate a generous serving of the hotter sauce.

Still, it was a satisfying meal that reinforces one of my standard rules for out-of-towners asking where to get barbecue: Just ask around and find the best place within a few miles. I’ve had better all-around barbecue during my recent quest, but for anyone who was unfamiliar with our area’s food the pulled pork at the Commissary would have been a revelation. I’ve seen too many visitors worry themselves over where the best place place to get barbecue is while a group of locals stands around arguing their preferences. Unless you are dealing with a really discriminating barbecue fan, just go to the closest place with an appropriate atmosphere. Besides, sometimes one person’s bland sauce is another person’s “just right,” and your “good and spicy” might be someone else’s “Jesus, it feels like I’ve been tear gassed.”

Germantown Commissary on Urbanspoon

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