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Aug 19, 2011 11:08 PM

Wanting opinions of the new Mr. K's BBQ in Tucson

Also, if possible, any differences between the new restaurant and the original. I understand there has been some differences between father and son and the son is looking to move south.

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    1. Finally got a chance to answer my own question. We were in South Tucson and drove by the original Mr. K's but it was closed on Monday. So we headed to the new Mr. K's BBQ at Stone and River Rd.

      I can't compare the two, of course, but we did enjoy the new Mr. K's. It's all about the meat, for sure. We arrived early and were first in line. The service is cafeteria style and you have your choice of one, two or three meat entrees, all with two sides. Also, there is a small salad bar and you can get a stuffed baked potato. The usual sandwiches are served for lunch.

      I tried a two-meat entree with sliced brisket and spare ribs. I got four slices of beef and three large ribs. I chose corn on the cob and fried okra for my sides and my wife went with the pulled pork and brisket with mac and cheese and collard greens. Both were 12 bucks and, being happy hour, our beer was a dollar off.

      The corn had half of the husk left on and had been grilled. Real butter was available so this worked out well for this Iowa kid used to great sweet corn. The okra was not what I was used to as it seemed to be done with a wet batter. It was sitting under lights and, as an early bird, I thought it would taste fresher. It was OK, but I prefer a drier corn meal batter.

      My wife's collards looked good, but were bland as if a ham hock or bacon had not been involved in the cooking. She added malt vinegar and that really helped. Her mac and cheese held promise, but also was bland. The side and meat portions were quite generous and we took some with us for sandwiches today.

      All the meat had a great deal of smoke on them. When I lived in the upper midwest, that was always a problem. Just not enough smoke at the BBQ joints. I really enjoyed the very tender brisket and the ribs were just fine. Pulled pork also was very good.

      Everything is served dry, as I like it. The sauces on the table are a real strong point of this joint. Four sauces ranging from a really tart Carolina mustard/vinegar (there are no names on the bottles), a hot and spicy (just says "hot" on the bottle) and two others that are among the best I've ever tasted. Both were tomato based with different flavor profiles, one with a flavor of chili powder and cloves, the other with lemon overtones. I loved them.

      We thought our meal was a good value. The meat was terrific and the choices of sides was great although not wonderful in the flavor department. It's not all that difficult to make a killer mac and cheese. Next time, I need to try the house beans.

      1 Reply
      1. re: IowaBoy

        Thank you for the comments. I also was intrigued by the stories about father and son. After reading your posting, I don't see a need to visit the place. I cook well enough on my own.

      2. Rita Connelly of the Tucson Weekly reviewed it this week and generally liked it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bitchincook

          Thanks for posting that. She glosses over the undercooked chicken as if it was a minor inconvenience. She complained that the collards had too much meat in them, but doesn't say what kind of meat it is. Ours had no meat in them. The mac and cheese we ate had no breadcrumbs. My okra was lousy.

        2. We bought a groupon thinking it was the Mr. K's down on the south side of Tucson (the original Mr. K's), but apparently there is some family drama & someone went off and trademarked the name and opened this new restaurant under the same name with "similar menu" (same story from both places, since we accidentally went to the other one first). The food is still bbq, but this new Mr. K's is a lot more institutional, the food is more bland, and the atmosphere is just not the same at all. I feel like I've been fooled & I'm not too happy about it =:-/

          1. The 2 locations are reviewed in today's Arizona Daily Star. The review is available in the Entertainment section of the online edition.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JTomWilson

              Here is the link to the article. The comments are worth a read as well. Thanks JTom.