Monday, March 12, 2012

Overpriced, Over-Sauced - 10 Bones

The first time I heard about 10 Bones BBQ in Southaven was last year in a newspaper article about the joint's fried ribs. There aren't many combinations of words in the English language that will grab my attention like "fried ribs," so even before I started my current quest I wanted to sample some. Today I finally made it to the restaurant, located just south of the Snowden Grove Amphitheater on Getwell in Southaven, MS.

Ten Bones is located in a modern strip center designed to resemble an old-fashioned town square. I've heard complaints about long waits and inattentive service, including friends who said they eventually gave up and left without eating. I didn't have to spend a lot of time waiting on my visit, since the restaurant was relatively empty when I stopped by at about 1:30. But the serving staff was noticeably young and inexperienced so I can see how things can get backed up when the place is busy.

I was surprised by the rib prices, which were the highest I've encountered so far. A half-slab with no sides was $17.95 while a half-slab dinner was $19.95. They also give you the option of adding a third-slab to any dinner for $9.50, and the pulled pork dinners are far more reasonable with a jumbo only costing $7.95. Luckily, on Mondays they offer buy one menu item, get a cheaper item free deal. So I was able to get a regular pulled pork dinner, a third-slab of ribs and a $2 fried rib for about $13 before tip.   

The fried ribs are made by refrigerating leftover ribs from the day before, cutting them into small servings and flash frying them to order. The meat itself was was delicous but unfortunately it was drenched in a thick, overly-sweet sauce that tasted like some sort of mild barbecue offering you'd expect to find at a Buffalo Wild Wings. It would actually make more sense to offer it as a dessert instead of an appetizer.

Ten Bones doesn't offer a plain pulled pork plate so I just got a sandwich plate and discarded the bun. It wasn't a bad deal with the Monday-only special, but without it I would have paid over $20 for a disappointing quantity of food. The third-slab of ribs came out wearing a heavy glaze of the same syrupy sauce as the fried rib. They had a nice, tender texture, requiring just enough give to pull them off the bone. The ribs also had a great smoke flavor, but I had to wipe a bunch of excess sauce off of them with some paper towels to appreciate it. There was a spicy barbecue sauce offered at the table that was far better than the standard sauce I'd been moping off and I enjoyed the ribs with a bit of it added on. 

The pulled pork had a great flavor and a nice mix of tender meat and charred outer crust mixed together. It wasn't doused with sauce like the ribs, so I just added enough hot to counteract the sweetness of the original that was on it. The little bit of slaw that came on top of it balanced well with the meat and sauce, but I would have preferred a bigger, separate serving. The baked beans were a fairly generic rendition.
Whoever cooks the meat at Ten Bones is doing a great job, but their work is being overwhelmed with subpar sauce. Since both types of sauce are available at the table, it would be far better to let customers decide for themselves which one and how much they prefer. Also, The Mondays-only special made made the price of my meal a pretty good deal, but at regular price the paltry servings would have made for the most overpriced meal on my quest. In fact, the only individual meal I've had elsewhere that cost a comparable amount was the "combo with ribs" at Central, which featured an outrageous abundance of food. If I was in Southaven wanting ribs, I'd save some money by just going to the ever-reliable Tops on Stateline Road.

10 Bones BBQ on Urbanspoon

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