Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint – Nolensville, TN

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I first heard about Martin’s Bar-Que Joint in an article in Garden & Gun Magazine titled “100 Southern Foods You Absolutely, Positively, Must Try Before You Die”.  The author “didn’t care for the slur” in their “Redneck Taco”, but loved the sandwich.  I had intended to go there on an earlier trip back from Nashville, but the timing just didn’t work out.  As I was heading up for an overnight visit, I rolled into Nolensville about 1:30 Central, just in time for a late lunch.

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Walking in, I somehow missed the giant menu on the wall and wandered around looking for a server to see about getting a table.  She pointed me to the window next to the menu and told me to place my order and then find a spot.  Knowing that I was there for the redneck taco, I really didn’t need the menu, anyhow.  I asked the young man behind the counter which redneck taco was better, pork or beef?  He said he liked the pork, so I ordered it, without slaw.  “Without slaw, I think I like the brisket better,” he offered.  I stuck with the pork, and asked for the slaw on the side. 

As I was looking for a table, I couldn’t help but notice that the barbecue pit was actually inside the restaurant.  It comprised half of the wall, to the left of the picture above.  I walked over just as the lid was being raised
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and saw one of the young men stick a meat thermometer into the flank of the whole hog that was cooking over the coals.  The top was on a motor, operated with a button like you would an overhead door in a machine shop.  An impressive operation.  I took a seat close by, not considering that I’d smell like barbecue smoke for the rest of the day.  Oh well, there are worse things….

I heard my number called, raised my hand and my redneck taco arrived.

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When it came to the table, the first thing I noted was the size.  The review that I had read in Southern Living talked about the pork being “atop a plate-sized hoecake”.  That would be true if your plate was about six inches in diameter.  (Not carrying a tape measure with me to meals, I did a quick size comparison and the diameter was the length of my hand from the base of my palm to tip of middle finger – actually closed to seven inches when I measured after getting home). 

The hoecake was slightly sweet and the pork was well smoked, but a little dry.  I reached for the metal bucket (with the ketchup, salt, pepper, etc) on the table to get some more sauce and was shocked to find that this was one of those annoying barbecue joints that doesn’t put the sauce on the table.  I tracked down a server and she brought me two more cups from the kitchen, one with the same sauce that I had on the taco and a second cup with a thinner, vinegar sauce. 

I poured the whole cup of the sweet sauce on the taco and devoured what remained.  (I did try the slaw, but don’t feel  that it added anything to the taco – your mileage may vary).  The pork was very good.  I’d definitely go back and try some more options on the menu.
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