today i was riding through northern baltimore county with a sales rep whos territory i will be taking over. the usual parking at back doors and loading docks, walk throughs of bustling kitchens, and handshakes with chefs who apologize for their hands being dirty. afterwards i dropped the fellow im replacing off at his home and headed down hartford rd hoping to get home as quick as possible to rest after a hectic weekend. well as fate would have it i would be making an unscheduled pit stop.
while driving southbound through the rain on a road i do not spend much time on, a little yellow building (more of a shack actually) on the left hand side caught my attention. it was a quick blur, but i had made out the red stenciling on the front, it was big bad wolfs bbq. if you know me you know i have a certain affinity for the uniquely american style of cooking called barbeque. if you dont know me, just scroll through some of my previous post and youll see. when talking with friends, fellow bbq lovers, and sandwich enthusiasts big bad wolf has come up multiple times. i had never been, so there was a turn into a different pizza/sandwich shop down the road so i could make a 3 point turn and head to the huff and puff bbq shack.
one counter, 6 chairs, one lady, one large bearded bbq master, a stack of maybe 9 menus ... thats big bad wolfs. minimal everything that isnt bbq. looking at the menu i was bombarded with saliva inducing ribs and 1/4 chickens, but i knew that the sandwich gods had brought me to this little bbq oasis in hamilton for one reason and one reason only ... 'the big bad wolf'. cant decided on brisket or pulled pork? why not just have both, on the same sandwich, and why dont we just add some hickory smoked bacon? freaking brilliant! upon ordering this ron swanson-esque sandwich sensation i was instantly met with a question from the girl behind the counter; 'what kind of sauce do you want?'
damnit i now had a sauce conundrum to over come. my head was mush from the weekend, the new clients, and now a sauce problem that needed to be solved. it couldnt be over looked. there were 7 different sauces on the menu a specail sauce. obviously big bad wolf likes his sauces which means i had to pick carefully. i couldnt. so i did what you always should do in that type of situation. i asked the bearded bbq master behind the counter to my left what he would have on triple threat meat tornado of a sandwich. 'kc spicy' was what he blurted out without fully turning around, and if that recommendation wasnt enough the 2 guys who were sitting at the counter (they looked like they knew their 'que too) both vocally endorsed the meat masters suggestion by telling me how the kc spicy was a the perfect sauce.
so i plunked down at the end of the counter large arnold palmer in hand and began the wait. the city paper wasnt interesting, the smells of slow cooked meat were too distracting. the 2 gents got their ribs, i was giddy with anticipation. then the bbq master himself came over with a small styrofoam container, a napkin, and a plastic fork and knife. i was about to have my house blown down.
upon opening the container the 1st thing one notices is that the combo of the juicy pork, the tender brisket, and the crispy smoked bacon has saturated the bottom half of the kaiser roll with a meaty equivalent of liquid gold. that liquid meat gold is also starting to mix with the spicy kc bbq sauce that is dripping down the sandwich, and all this liquid just ends up on the bottom of the container. now i realize why the bearded bastion of bbq had preemptively given me a fork and a knife. i cut the sandwich in half making it much more manageable with my hands. the first bit was salty, spicy, crunchy, chewy, and fatty all at the same time. i know that sounds like a lot of conflict, but every flavor had its part to play and they all delivered a colin firth worthy performance. the pork was soft and chewy but not overly fatty. the bacon crunched with each chewing stroke of my teeth providing the saltiness that the sandwich required. the sauce was spectacular, bold with a kick but also having a serious depth to the flavor that allowed for the heat to mellow out quickly. the brisket was good, but in my opinion it was not the lead and 100% played a supporting role to the bacon, pork, and the sauce.
|you will be the one huffing and puffing!|
success! the sandwich gods intervened on this sunny then gloomy monday to provide me with a 4,000+ calorie (total guess and intentional over estimation) piece of sandwich paradise. the free refill of my arnold palmer for the road was an amazing touch as well. note: do not eat at big bad wolfs if you do not have an hour to slip in and out of a meat comma where youre already planning you next trip up hartford rd.