FAQ's (AKA, what are you guys talking about when you go BBQ chewin'?)
What do your scores mean?
We work on a 10 point scale. 8-10 indicates an excellent example of the item. 5-7 is decent. 4 or lower is poor (with a 1-2 being flat out inedible). Each item is ranked based on how well we think the item can be done overall, not compared to other items on a given location’s menu.
What is this “Trifecta” you are referring to?
A common definition is an achievement involving three successful things. For most BBQ lovers, the trifecta is brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. While we will certainly rate other items if available (and we try them), we will tend to give more weight in our overall summaries to the trifecta. If you are getting excellent scores in two or all three of the trifecta, you are probably a top-notch BBQ place.
There’s a few comments in some of the reviews about “purist”. What does that mean? Are you Puritans???
Nope. It simply means that we are looking at the meat by itself, without sauce or sides (this does not include a wet rub). There’s a philosophy some people hold to: Good BBQ does not need sauce, and really great BBQ may actually be hurt by sauce.
Is it worth a visit? Is it worth a trip? What does that mean?
“Is it worth a visit” is fairly self-explanatory. Is this place even worth going to at all. Places with multiple scores of 4 or lower probably aren’t even worth the bother. Now, when we say Is it worth a trip” we are being more demanding. We mean “Is it worth traveling 60 minutes or more one-way solely for the purpose of having the BBQ. No side trips, no other errands, etc. An example might be someone in south Austin heading out to Coopers (Llano, TX) or Snows (Lexington, TX). Multiple scores of 8 or higher are usually worth a trip.
Your ratings seem to be primarily based on the food. No ratings based on service or the venue?
The food is what we are about, so that is how we score places. If we ever have a horrific customer service experience, we may comment on it, but that would be separate from the food rating. Likewise, we will describe the venue and mention things people may be curious about (or need to know, like waiting outside with no shelter at Micklethwait), but that’s also separate from the food rating.
Different scores from different people? How can we take you seriously??
We’ll give honest reviews based on our perceptions of the quality/taste of the food. But in the end it is only our opinions. As this takes off, we make have multiple reviewers, and people making comments as well. Taste is subjective. I love Louie Mueller’s, but my wife doesn’t. If the scores are all in the same basic range (a point or so difference), then you have a range you can use to determine how a particular group of people felt about the place. This doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way. It’s free advice. If most or all of us love a place, that’s a good sign. If we disliked it, that’s a bad sign. You’ll ultimately be the final arbiter of what you like and dislike.