Sam Taylor’s Bar-B-Q

Wet, sweet and hot.

The worst thing about barbecue is waiting for it. I hit Sam Taylor's Bar-B-Q during a shift change last week, and I had to wait fifteen whole minutes -- which is about fourteen whole minutes longer than I'm comfortable waiting for anything. I have what you might call an impulse-control problem and zero patience besides, so those 900 seconds spent sitting at the small bar in the back of the room smelling barbecue but not eatingbarbecue were torture. Granted, I had a cold beer to keep me company. And Bessie Smith on the radio. And a football game on the big TV. But still, it was rough. And it got worse once I grabbed my bag of takeout, because Sam Taylor's does its barbecue wet -- slathered in a thick, sticky, gloss-black sauce, a Tennessee-meets-K.C. riff that packs both heat and sweet -- and you can't drive and eat wet barbecue at the same time. (Well, not without seriously compromising the resale value of your ride.) So there I was, half-crazed with hunger, stuck in traffic, with a brown paper bag full of unbelievable smells beside me. The second I got home, I started devouring the contents of that bag: smoky, sticky, gigantic pork ribs (not too deeply smoked, but touched with a good rub); an excellent pork sandwich ("poke sammich," according to the menu) on a grilled roll that had the perfect proportion of meat to sauce; a decent brisket sandwich that was a little dry but powerfully smoky; awful steam-table mac-and-cheese; vinegary and mustardy potato salad; and Sam Taylor's homemade potato chips, which -- unlike most store-bought chips and even most restaurant chips -- actually tasted like potatoes. Burned potatoes, mostly, but that was still an improvement. And when I'd eaten so much I was ready to burst, I still had plenty of food left. Sam's portions are big, the prices reasonable and the service friendly. The dining room isn't much -- but if I'd eaten in, I wouldn't have had to wait so long to try his excellent Texas/Memphis 'cue.

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