Ask any american BBQ aficionado and they’ll tell you what real BBQ is. You may disagree with them of course, particularly if you also happen to be a BBQ aficionado. The debate about the “true ‘cue“can get as nasty as a cock-fight: must it only be pork or can it also be beef? are you using the whole pig or just the shoulder? And “oh my god, is that a mustard-based sauce??
Like any foodie, when I try a food that is indigenous to a particular place, I want the real thing, and not some watered down version of it. If it’s Mexican, I want a proper corn taco with real quesillo and a good spicy salsa. If it’s Thai, I don’t want them skimping on the lemongrass or chili. And if it’s BBQ, well you certainly can’t skimp on the smoke or the rub or the tang.
Funky BBQ rolled into town about a year ago now, blaring the dinner bell to BBQ lovers far and wide. This is a daring initiative: Genevans are not ones for strong flavors, large portions, or making a mess. But without these, one simply cannot do a ‘cue. And like any good food establishment, our BBQ cowboys have to balance their offer of smokey tang with a hypersensitive Genevan palate.
So how did these ambassadors of southern funk do? I took the small portion of ribs and the Kansas city sauce, a side of mac n’ cheese, and some slaw, for good measure. To my chagrin, a cornbread that had previously been on the menu was dropped because customers weren’t biting. (Which begs the question, when will the Genevans become less afraid of all that is foreign and new? But I digress.)
The ribs were beautifully tender for the most part, and had a gentle aroma of BBQ, the flavors of the rub wafting from the depths of the meat. Could there have been more smoke? I can’t speak for the majority of their customers, but I felt like it could use just a bit more kick, either from the smoke or from the rub. But here is where the ingeniousness comes in: the Funky bunch have adopted a “BBQ and sauces for all” strategy, attempting to meet Genevans halfway, while staying true to the funk. They let the customer pick their level of piquant by offering a range of sauces, from Kansas City to Dead Pig. I took the Kansas City sauce (being a little spice sensitive after all), and I absolutely loved its tang. Don’t forget, you’re invited to ask for more! Not pictured here, but the mac and cheese was truly creamy delight, while the slaw could have used just a little more acidity to cut through the smoke, fat and sauce of the ribs.
All that’s left now is to see for yourself if this uptown funk gonna give it to you the way you like it. My guess is, as long as you haven’t staked out your own BBQ territory and built a strong line of defense against adaptations, you’re gonna love it. But don’t believe me – just try.