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Sep 7, 2008 06:23 PM

Review of Corky's BBQ, Tropicana & Bdwk, AC

I better state at the outset that this is an extremely negative review, which honestly recounts our extremely negative experience at Corky's tonight.

We each ordered a full rack of spareribs, one 'wet', one 'dry'. They arrived very fast. ($22 each, 16 for half rack)

I took the dry (we intended to share) and at first glance saw them covered with raw rub. Cutting a piece off, they appeared greasy, and the meat was a medium dark gray. There was no hint of pink, no smell of smoke, no taste of smoke. The meat's texture, with the grease (this is not juice) was frankly like goat. The raw rub was basically salt. I turned them over and saw that the membrane was still there, and quite strong. They also tasted bad, not quite spoiled. I sent them back. The waitress said they had no brisket so I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. It arrived on a cold Kaiser roll, not quite stale. The meat had no particular flavor (the sauce did). I ate part of the sandwich, and when I breathed in, either during or before or after a bite, (not sure) I got the smell and taste of a pan which had dishwater in it. This is hard to describe; it was harder to believe.

My husband got the wet ribs. They had a bark on them (and the undesirable intact membrane on the bottom side) made with some sort of reasonable sauce, but the meat underneath was the same, dark gray.
Again, no smell or even slight taste of smoke. I cannot conceive of a cooking method which would produce this stuff. (I am trying to maintain a neutral tone here, but we were truly appalled.)

Soft drinks are 4$. Draft domestic beer 2$, bottle 3$. But if you find yourself in AC, go to Tony's at Iowa and Atlantic for spaghetti (not pizza) which has been tried and true for 45 years and more, or go to the Day's Inn near Egg Harbor for their in-house Indian restaurant which is fantastic. It's on Rte 30 on the eastbound side.

I know Corky's got one or two review which were positive, if now 2 years old. I generally don't judge a restaurant on just one experience, whether good or bad, but this was so disappointing that I would never try the place again.

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  1. Wow...It's hard to believe that's the same Corky's BBQ that I went to 2 years ago.
    ...(Often dry rub places will put rub on the meat before cooking which pretty much disappears as more of a marinade, then they put a little more before on right before serving...) But certainly having the silver skin membrane on them, is unacceptable and ridiculous.

    My experience was a great one there---smoky, tender, pink with smoke ring, meat easily coming off the bone. It was so much better than some of the other places in NJ I'd been too.

    It's possible that the AC location suffers from the reduced quality that often happens when a great BBQ place becomes a chain.

    Corky's is a Memphis institution, and I first heard about it when watching a BBQ documentary on the History Channel that featured the major Memphis establishments. So when I found out it was in AC while on a vacation there, I had to check it out. I doubt it'd get that reputation (along with Arthur Bryant's) if it weren't seen as objectively great BBQ.

    I'm hoping Corky's HQ gets wind of the quality, or lack thereof, in their AC location and do something to remedy it. It's really giving Corky's a bad name!

    2 Replies
    1. re: athenanike111

      Hi - I appreciate your comments - I sent the review and the link to it to Corky's via their own Contact Us form. I believe I was sending it to Memphis, and also, I believe the pitmaster whose name and picture are on the web site is located in Memphis. One possibility would be if they smoked the meat in Memphis and froze it and sent it to their other locations. And if they don't have any they just parboil some emergency ribs and put them out. But I have no reason to believe this is what happened to us; just a thought. Anyway, if I hear from them I will post it here immediately.

      True story: My very very very fussy aunt, some 50 years ago or more, I was told, found a mouse in a bottle of cola. She reported it to the company and they visited (?), apologized, and gave her coupons for lots and lots of free soda. Subsequently she found a cigar butt in a bottle of cola (not sure if it was the same brand). This was the aunt who would ask you to turn your bitten side of your hamburger away from her. So the point is, I hope they don't send me coupons. :) :) :)

      1. re: lomlfoml

        Thanks, lomlfoml. Let's hope Corky's takes some notice and does something....

        Love that story about your aunt! Can imagine getting a lifetime discount card from Corky's ???!! Ha ha ha

    2. In no way should you have to accept inferior quality at any restaurant.
      Corky's is my favorite as too Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur AL.
      I am sure the owners in Memphis would have appreciated you specifying which franchise you are referring to and they would have sent out someone to investigate. I do not know who goes out now but it use to be Mr. Brown from the Poplar Ave location in Memphis.
      Let them know directly to their web site. If they do not respond timely to your comments, I would be surprised . I do not care for dry ribs. Rendezvous in Memphis has darn good dry ribs but I have never had Corky's dry ribs so I can not honestly compare.

      1. Thank you for the report. You had a horrific experience! I certainly would have written the corporate headquarters and inform them of your meal. Many years ago I ate at one of the Corky's located east of Memphis. The ribs were some of the best I have ever had. I prefer to have my ribs dry with the sauce on the side; I want to taste the meat and see if the ribs are truly delicious. The Memphis location did not disappoint.

        I had high hopes for good ribs in Atlantic City, but it looks like it is not to be.

        Again, thank you for the report and taking one for the team.