Beach Deck BBQ might not be near the beach (unless bait and tackle shops qualify) but it does have one heckuva deck, whose only real view is the ice-cream stand and some mobile homes across the way. You order at the takeout window near the front door (to the kitchen), then walk around the side to the deck that faces the rear of the kitchen. When your order is ready, you pick it up at the back window, grab some napkins and extra sauce if needed, then dine waiter-free. Supposedly there's a smoker. There's no bar or alcoholic beverages served, but BYOB is an option.
Barbecue fare includes babyback ribs, pulled pork and barbecue chicken. Wings are grilled. There's not much more to the menu, which boasts chili, burgers, dogs, a few different salads and a few different wraps, all overlapping in their use of common key ingredients. The only barbecue combo is ribs and half chicken, though they'll gladly substitute pulled pork if you prefer.
I stopped at the Beach Deck solo for a Friday lunch.
Wings were unavailable on the day I visited. I considered ordering the chili, but kept things simple to keep my options open later in the day.
Ribs: I went with the ribs and chicken combo ($15.95) that supplied a quartet of ribs and a half chicken. The ribs were smallish St Louis cut spares that were completely coated with sauce, but the application was light enough to enhance rather than overwhelm. The exteriors were crunchy—less from the initial cook and more from the sugars of the sauce caramelizing on the reheat. The overall texture was good, requiring a little bite to get the meat off the bone but still plenty tender. The server told me the ribs were smoked, but I'd bet against it. There was no smoky aroma, no smoky flavor and no hints of pink. Flavor came almost exclusively from the sauce, which was mostly sweet with some faint heat. I liken these to 1980s chain ribs, but a very solid rendition thereof. As barbecue ribs, they succeeded (excelled, actually) in texture but came up short in smoke and overall flavor.
Chicken: If chicken plus barbecue sauce equals barbecue chicken, then that's what
the costar of the two-meat plate was. If it means rubbed, slow smoked chicken, then I'm not so sure. Like the ribs, the chicken was fully blanketed in sauce, but at least the blanket was closer to a top sheet than a comforter. The leg is my least favorite part of a chicken, so it was a surprise that it called to me as the plate arrived—probably because it was the most crispy (the rest was not). I somewhat liked the sweet, mostly neutral sauce and I really liked the contrast of the partly crunchy skin and well lubed meat within. All of the remaining parts were nearly as moist, with the breast the least moist but not dry. Smoke and rub were both AWOL. Again, the flavor came first and foremost from the sauce, with not much going on beneath. And again, how you judge this bird depends on what you're looking for. If you're jonesing for barbecue, you're almost sure to be let down. Compare it to Boston Market or its ilk and this chicken probably compares favorably.
Two varieties are pumpable into plastic cups at a utility station near the pickup window. Both are familiar. A thick, dark Kansas City sweet sauce has a bit of a kick. A thick, golden mustard sauce combines sweet, tangy and hot. They're both probably Cattlemens.
Cole slaw: At first impression it's store-bought or at best a mix, but it kind of
grew on me. It was crisp enough, creamy enough (without being too much) and
had some bite thanks to the addition of tiny onion bits.
Beans: Another seemingly out-of-the-can number on first bite, the beans also
used onions and a little heat to elevate into respectability.
Cornbread: A decent sized block was average in all respects. Nothing special, nothing horrific.
The Bottom Line
It's filling and it's cooked with some proficiency if not flavor. Is it barbecue? Marginally.
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