Friday, January 12, 2007

Home Team BBQ, West Ashley, SC

Fiery Ron's Home Team BBQ (website)
205 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC 29407

Home team barbecue is a totally different kind of barbecue joint. Fiery Ron really decided to buck the trend when he put this place together and converted a grimy old gas station into a tin-roofed barbecue joint. I was worried about driving right past this joint, but the bright red neon sign and shiny tin roof make it impossible to miss.

Before opening the door, I couldn't help but notice that the Home Team is open until 2am. While that may not be normal eating times, it's nice to have a place that I can go to for a late dinner.

Then, walk in and order from a hand-written chalk-on-the-blackboard menu. Honestly, I had a lot of trouble reading it. I finally gave up and asked for something with pulled pork, and the man behind the counter steered me to the pulled pork platter that comes with 2 sides. The price was pretty standard: $7.95 considerably more expensive than normal: $11.95 for the platter and a drink.

The dining room is the product of some very interesting thinking. There is a trendy front seating area, away from the bar and gigantic flat screen television. I reminds me of some of the downtown Memphis or Nashville barbecue joints I've visited. Finally, there are two huge doors leading to picnic tables outside. The weather was so pleasant on my January visit that the doors were propped open to let in plenty of fresh air. I opted to sit in the back and watch some playoff football. During commercials, I couldn't help but notice the interesting signs covering the walls and the feed bags lining the ceiling.

In the back corner, there is a place for small bands to set up and play. According to their website, they bring in local bands once a week. Like I said, this isn't your ordinary barbecue restaurant with a country radio sitting somewhere in a corner.

The portions are ample.

The pork looks, smells, and tastes smoky. There were even a few dark pieces from the perimeter of the pig. The first few bites were sensational. I was extremely impressed, but then I quickly noticed that the meat was pretty salty. It tasted like a mix between pulled pork and ham. A vinegar based red sauce sits on the table, so I added a little to drown out the salt.

I tried the baked beans, which were also too salty. I only managed two bites of the beans. The macaroni and cheese, however, was perfect--complete with a thick layer of cheddar cheese along the top.

I'm hoping that the salty food was an aberration. If it's consistently that salty, I wouldn't recommend the pork, or the beans for that matter. With no pork or beans, that doesn't leave much for a barbecue place. Since it's possible that I encountered a one-time problem, I'll say that the jury's still out on this one.

Update: The salty pork wasn't an aberration. After two attempts with the same result, the deliberations may end: it's incredible for about two bites. After that, it's super-flavored smoked ham.

What I loved:
How cool of an idea is this: Combine barbecue, beer, sports, and bands all under one roof. This is the coolest barbecue joint I visited to date.

Try this when you go:
Undoubtedly, the best food on the menu is the barbecue tacos- a flour tortilla stuffed with pulled pork, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and a little salsa. Two should be enough for anybody but an offensive tackle, and the price is right.

What I hated:
The pulled pork is very salty.
The price for one plate is above that of many of the local all-you-can eat places.
$1.75 for a sweet tea at a barbecue place? C'mon, you gotta be kidding me.

Final Verdict: I'll eventually go back for the pulled pork tacos.

What other locals have to say:
Alforno (and their 2nd attempt)
Rotten Oysters