Hen House Bar-B-Q is a storefront joint that occupies two adjacent units in a Southington strip mall hidden behind a Blockbuster. They cook in one and a door opens to a 7-booth dining area in the other. Behind the counter are 2 large rotisserie cookers with glass windows, the same kind you see in supermarkets and some Chinatown places that feature char siu. Chickens and half racks of ribs were spinning on skewers when I walked in a little after 11AM, and they were ready to serve. The menu is very user-friendly, with ribs-by-the-piece and rib dinners in many sizes.
A chat with one of the Hen House employees confirmed my fear that the rotisserie was not just for reheating, but what they cooked the product in for the duration. At least they were serving today's meat today. When my tray arrived, the spare ribs were moist and tender and a little fatty. Their taste, sauce and texture reminded me a lot of the ribs you can get at many supermarket deli departments throughout the country. The sauce was red, sweet and a little like Chinese Ah So sauce. There was no spice or bark and no evidence, either from smell or taste or smoke ring, that the meat had ever been exposed to smoke.
The cole slaw, finely chopped and just slightly sweet, was good. The onion rings were the puffy variety (not my favorite) but hot and crispy. The usual cornbread was replaced here by a stale mini potato roll.
The bottom line: The food wasn't bad, just not real pit barbecue or anything I'd ever expend any effort to get again.