BBQ around Santa Fe
Any die-hard 'cue hounds out there? I'm anything but an expert, but wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts about BBQ places in the Santa Fe area. I've been to a couple of places, my very uninformed thoughts:
Whole Hog Cafe - a small chain based in Little Rock, AR, with local locations in ABQ (on Montgomery) and SF (on Cerrillos south of St. Michaels), this branch coolly located in what appears to be a decommissioned church. Professes to be Memphis style, but seems more pan-BBQ-belt, with seven different BBQ sauces with different levels of spice, vinegar, and molasses. Everything I've tried has been totally solid, from brisket to pulled pork to chicken, with really good sides as well. I also love that they mitigate the gluttony factor by offering two portion sizes on their sandwiches, a regular (perfect for a weekday lunch) and large (expectedly gigantic). Also great are the fresh brewed sweet and unsweetened iced teas. It seems like Whole Hog achieves success not by doing any one thing over-the-top well, but rather by doing a respectably good job at everything; smart business move, but I'd argue it comes at the expense of any strong personality.
Josh's Barbecue - seems to be doing its best to help forge a new regional style of Southwest BBQ. Incongruously located in the confines of the sterile strip mall with the multiplex on Zafarano, but the chow has some serious personality. Seems to be similar to Texas style (and all the meats I've tried have been great), but with some great NM spice thrown in. Love the green chile in the cornbread and the slaw (too much mayo for my taste, but my better half disagreed). Two standard sauces (mild and spicy) and one rotating seasonal. The best thing I've tried is their special baby backs with a honey and red chile sauce; the ribs were perfectly cooked, very tender with a proper chew (so nice to see someone buck the canard of "fall off the bone"), but the sweet heat of the sauce was one of the best BBQ sauces I've ever tasted. Portions are enormous (pet peeve of mine, but a plus for many). Excellent unsweetened ice tea, both a black and an herbal.
Both of the above were impressively, spotlessly clean.
Anyone have their own BBQ experiences around Santa Fe? I've heard less-than-wonderful things about Cowgirl, but would love to hear the CH perspective. And I'm incredibly intrigued by Pecos River BBQ over the hills to the east. Any others? Would love to hear your thoughts...
Whole Hog Cafe
3006 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507
3486 Zafarano Dr, Santa Fe, NM 87507