A few weeks back, it was suggested I try out The Gator’s Tail in Cambridge. My only interest was getting some Alligator. When I hit up the web site though, I found the menu generic and called an audible. I’d already planned to be in Waterloo with Marie & Mark for dinner so I moved the venue. I had not had Southern BBQ in some time (there’s only so much Memphis Fire BBQ I can eat) so we hit up The Lancaster Smokehouse. Marie warned us there could be a line up as she’d tried to go twice before only to be rebuffed by a 1 hour wait. They don’t take reservations on Friday or Saturday but we gambled and lucked out with no wait. Just something to consider if you plan to go on the weekend.
Hogsback Lager – $6.25
I ordered this entirely because the brewer name was Hogsback. It’s well established by now I don’t know much about beer so I’ll just say it tasted good and move along.
Pimento Cheese Bites – $7.99
My current favourite “Cheese Stick” belongs to Argyle Street Grill but these Cheese packed pockets are right up there with them. Pimento is basically the staple Cheese of the US South and they do it justice here. The Pimento was insanely hot and oozed everywhere as soon as I bit into it. It was thick, gooey, and delicious. The Cornmeal breading was thick and had great crunch. It came with “Spicy Cajun Mayo” that gave the tongue a bit of a tickle on the back end.
Texas Fries – $8.49
The Fries are coated in Pepper Jack and then covered in Beef Gravy. I added an order of Pico de Gallo (50 cents) for a little heat and colour. These were good but nothing memorable. It’s a massive portion of Fries though so make sure you have a friend or 2 to help you out.
Half Rack Ribs – $11.95 + Mac & Cheese & Collard Greens ($3.49 each)
Mark ordered the ribs and I scooped one from him. These were absolutely amazing. The meat just fell off the bone. I’m not sure of the rub but it created an amazing bark. The sauce was rich but didn’t take any flavour away from the thick ribs. This was way up there for best ribs I’ve eaten. I ordered the Mac & Cheese with my meal as well. It was good, but nothing special. It had good flavour but needed far more cheese. It tasted disjointed rather than creamy. I took a pass on the Collared Greens and Mark didn’t finish them. He didn’t give an opinion and I’m not going to field a guess.
Southern Style Pulled Pork + 2 Sides ($13.59)
Much like the Ribs, this Pulled Pork was fantastic. I tried a little bit both with and without sauce. The pork more than stands on its own. It was full of smokey flavour. It was juicy and basically melted in your mouth. I’m curious to know how long the Pork Butt (I’m assuming) was smoked to achieve that kind of texture. Marie ordered with Coleslaw (meh) and Hush Puppies. I also ordered Hush Puppies. We both agreed they were a little too dense for our liking. Also the batter was over salted.
The General’s Southern Fried Chicken – $15.99
I’m just going to get this out of the way right now. This is hands down the best Fried Chicken I have ever eaten. Yes it’s better than Memphis Fire BBQ. Yes it’s better than The Stockyards. THE… BEST… EVER! First off, I don’t know where The Lancaster Smokehouse gets their Chickens but they’re some kind of freak of nature. The Wing/Thigh/Leg looked like something you’d see on a Turkey rather than a Chicken. Just massive portions. As you can see by the photo, the Chicken was cooked perfectly and was definitely not lacking in the juicy department. The batter was thick and crispy with just a hint of heat. I’d be remiss in saying it was over salted though. I was absolutely blown away by this Fried Chicken and can’t wait for another order.
There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll be back at The Lancaster Smokehouse. While the sides were lacking, the entrees themselves were absolutely top flight. Make sure you get an order of Pimento Bites to boot. The menu has a very large selection that we didn’t even touch on like Sandwiches, Po’ Boys, and southern staples like Fish and Jambalaya. The atmosphere was festive with a live band (not too loud thankfully) and friendly, attentive staff. I should note that The Lancaster Smokehouse was recently filmed by You Gotta Eat Here. Once that episode drops (new eps run from January – May so it’ll be 2014) it’ll be impossible to get a seat. Take a trip out to Kitchener (technically Bridgeport) before the masses swarm the place. You will not be disappointed.