TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

First bite: Roadside BBQ in Parkland

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on June 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm | No Comments »
August 20, 2013 9:35 am
A loose meat trio at Roadside BBQ in Parkland.

Roadside BBQ in Parkland is a barbecue restaurant of the old school order. They only take cash. Seating is on square hay bales. The hours are short and sweet – 11-8 Friday to Sunday. The restaurant has no website, no Facebook page and no phone – something almost unheard of in a modern restaurant world. What they do have is the one thing all good barbecue joints must have – a smoker and a supply of wood. Roadside opened in May.

They smoke their meats using apple and cherry, popular picks for Northwest barbecue because those woods are easy to find. On my anonymous visit, I asked a server about their barbecue method and she described a three-day marinade, rub and smoking protocol. It tasted like slow-smoked barbecue should – the meats were tinged with smoke and the seasonings had penetrated the meat. It’s always a good sign when you drive up to a barbecue restaurant and you can see a puff of smoke shooting out of the smoker.

Roadside serves barbecue sandwiches, ribs and loose meat platters, priced $7.25-$16. Sides are the typical suspects – mustardy potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans with bacon and savory cornbread.

A pulled pork sandwich at Raodside BBQ in Parkland.

A loose meat platter of brisket, pork and chicken ($14.50, with beans and potato salad) seesawed between perfection and too much dry meat – brisket was juicy, pork and chicken a little more dry. A promising sign – they serve their barbecue naked. I’m a fan because whenever barbecue is served dripping with sauce, I always wonder what the pitmaster is hiding – a lack of smoke or is the meat too dry? A pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) was an enormous portion – so much so that we couldn’t find the potato bun underneath until we ate our way to it (they also have onion buns).

Roadside’s barbecue sauces tasted a touch too sweet for my palate – and came in two heat levels – classic and ferocious, which was not ferocious at all (I’d call it a low-medium heat). Both sauces were boozy – the classic is made with wine and ferocious is made with whiskey.

Yes, those are hay bales for seating. Did I mention this place is kitschy?

Service was friendly and kids get the royal treatment here (complete with complimentary trinkets from a toy box). Mom alert: There are boxes of hand wipes at every table and the dining room was clean. The atmosphere is pure roadside barbecue cheekiness – plastic covered hay bales for seating and slightly rickety tables. The dining room has six tables, there’s also seating outside. Get there early. On one visit, they had sold out for the day. And remember to bring cash – they don’t take plastic.

Roadside BBQ
Where: 13601 Pacific Ave, Parkland (look for the Armstrong Custom Homes sign)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays
Contact info: No website, no Facebook, no phone number. This is one old school joint.
Note: This restaurant is CASH only

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