Excellent BBQ in Tucson
I drug my husband to Starr Pass tonight to give Catalina BBQ a try. He was skeptical because of the golf course resort setting (as was I really), but it had good reviews here on Chowhound. We were very pleasantly surprised by what we found. All aspects of the meal were telling of attention to detail and fresh ingredients.
The restaurant touts it'self as competition barbecue, which didn't mean a lot to us, as we're not barbecue aficianados, but from the start it was obvious that even the wait staff took pride in their product. The meat was delicious, the sauces deep and complex, and the sides were worthy of a formal restaurant. The quality was excellent, and we'll be back.
I think whether it's worth the drive depends on many factors:
Are you from Texas, Kansas City, or North Carolina?
What's your driving limit for good BBQ that might be a little inconsistent?
Do you already have good BBQ near you?
Do you like Brushfire BBQ on Campbell?
Can you tolerate a little inconsistency?
Do you think it's fun to try new places, even if they're a little disappointing?
My daughter and I've always liked the BBQ at Catalina, but my hubby doesn't. Sometimes the brisket is good, sometimes it's a bit dry. I like that the sauce is always on the side, and not slathered all over. Overall, it's a little more consistent than BrushFire, which I like, too.
BrushFire BBQ Co.
2745 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ
Catalina Steakhouse at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa
3645 W. Starr Pass Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85745
Well, I have spent quite a bit of time in Austin and San Antonio, so I'm not okay with inconsistency. I think Dickey's, albeit a chain, is consistently above average, but then again I know not to expect much with BBQ this far west.
Dry brisket is unacceptable in my book. Oh well. Thanks for the info, Claudette.
Could I jump in and ask if any of you have tried The Hog Pit (on Tanque Verde)? It was recommended to us by a friend who lived in Kansas City for quite a few years as the best place in town (and after living in Texas for 4 years and sampling some of Memphis's finest, I still prefer K.C. bbq to any other). I'm not sure she's tried Catalina yet, though, so I'll look forward to giving that a try as well.
re: wild onion
wild onion - thanks for the tip. I'm flying in tonight for the weekend, so I'll try the Hog Pit if I can get the guys to go w/ me (my hubby's a semi-vegetarian, so it's hard for me to try BBQ when our daughter's not with us). I'm a BBQ agnostic - I love all styles, as long as it's well-smoked, not slathered, and not dry.