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Sep 14, 2013 10:29 PM

The Pit BBQ and Burgers, Reno

I hesitated to write this review, as this new place has only been open a few weeks and obviously has a few kinks to work out. OTOH, I'm still thinking about my meal there last night, so I will share.

The Pit is in a small strip mall on Clear Acre Lane just north of McCarran (right off the 395). It isn't much to look at: a few too-close tables and a couple of arcade games; but I suspect many customers will choose to do takeout (as did I).

I discovered the Pit when I drove into the strip mall to use my bank's ATM there....and was hit with a heavenly odor coming from their parking lot smoker. I then noticed their "Just opened" sign and knew where my dinner was coming from.

I walked in to find a line to order at the counter, and most of the tables full. I took that to be a good sign. Unfortunately when I got to the front I was disappointed (devastated, more like:-) to learn that they had just run out of ribs (at 6 oclock on a Friday night!) The only ribs to be had were in the smoker, and they wouldn't be ready until the morning (at least we know they take their time to make them...). So I settled for a pulled pork "lunch special" (available all day), and an order of onion rings (I always try the onion rings at any new place that makes them; part of a personal quest for the perfect rings...).

My disappointment at not having ribs disappeared at the first bite of that pulled pork. Someone at The Pit knows how to smoke meat. Tender and juicy and a perfect smoked flavor. I had gotten my sauce on the side, and I think I only used it as a dip for the onion rings. (just as well, it was only average)....The pork needed no sauce. The rings were also some of the best I've had lately: freshly made from huge and sweet onions (Walla Walla maybe?) and with a tasty not-to-thick batter that didn't come off with the first bite. My side of hot-and-spicy coleslaw was also very good: crunchy cabbage with a vinegar dressing and julienned jalapenos for the "spicy" (and maybe a touch of cilantro as well; they make a regular coleslaw as well, and have the usual choices of potato salad etc for sides). Probably the only disappointment of the meal was the corn bread: it was ok but just ok, and unlike the rest of the meal did not taste like it had been made on the spot....

I have no idea if the burgers are any good; they have a lot on the menu. And this might be my one true complaint about the place; they seem to be trying to be all things to all people (Hug High is right across the street; maybe they are trying to attract the lunch crowd). OTOH, if the onion rings are any indication, those burgers might be worth it. As for me, I'll be back and hoping for ribs. Now, if only they would add links to the menu.

I say check it out. But don't eat all the ribs until I've had a chance to try them:-). My dinner was about 15 dollars, including tip - but no drink.. The Lunch Special at around 6 or 7 dollars is a good deal: a half pound of meat, choice of sides, and cornbread.

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  1. This HAS to be where our dog groomer, Laundermutt, is! We're away til the end of the month but will definitely be checking it out. Thanks as always for the tip.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      yes, across the parking lot from Laundermutt....what a great business name!

      1. re: janetofreno

        Great business name though I think the dogs privately call it The Torture Chamber!

        Since Bob and I almost always share meals, this sounds just perfect for us. I honestly don't particular like sauce added. We go to the Bridgetender in Tahoe City and their ribs are great. But I ALWAYS forget to ask them to not add the sauce.

        Thanks, again, Janet.

        1. re: c oliver

          Note: you should ask at the Pit if you want sauce on the side as well....

    2. I went back today for a late lunch. Apparently the counter guy was impressed with my disappointment at the lack of ribs the last time...when I walked in the first thing he said was "Yes, we have ribs this time" Unfortunately there is no lunch or dinner special for the ribs, so my only choice was a half-rack full dinner. It came with about six very meaty ribs, two sides, and a large piece of the cornbread. It would have been enough for two people. In fact as I write this at 7pm I still feel stuffed.

      As I suspected, the ribs did not require any sauce. They were tender and delicious and had that great smoke taste. Not too fatty, just enough to make them really tasty. These may be my new favorite ribs in town. I had the spicy coleslaw and potato salad for sides. I realized that I was wrong in my previous post about the spicy slaw: it doesn't have jalapenos, but rather just a spicy sauce (maybe hot sauce mixed with vinegar and mayonnaise..there is a touch of mayo). nonetheless it is tasty. And the potato salad is better than most in these types of places: it did taste freshly made and there was a nice crunch of celery.

      After my meal I decided to stop at nearby Winco to buy a few groceries, and as I pulled into the parking lot (its on McCarran just the other side of 395) I noticed that there is a new "Southern Style BarBQ" place (called MJ's, I think) in that strip mall as well. Has anyone tried it?? Maybe its time for a rib crawl....

      2 Replies
      1. re: janetofreno

        I had a bad experience first time I went. I got three meats I liked the smoked pastrami. The beef brisket was tough and the pulled pork was terrible -- the opposite of your experience.
        I liked the pastrami enough I went back and tried the ribs. I really liked those. Enough I suggested RevAndy check them out. He didn't sound enthused. But maybe now with a second vote, he will try them.

        1. re: SteveTimko

          Tell the Rev I will go with him anytime he wants....its practically around the corner from where I live:-) As for the pork, I would give it a second try. I think I almost liked it as much as the ribs.....

      2. I would like to try it but I may not have the time before I leave.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RevrendAndy

          Funny. You flee south when we return. Have a good winter in FL while we pray for snow here.

        2. Stopped there yesterday for lunch and had the special with pastrami. Excellent smoke flavor and the edges of the thinly sliced pastrami were not overly salty and crusty with rub like a lot of pastrami I have tasted. The spicy cole slaw is very good with the heat being just right for the side. Their spicy mustard that was provided with the special was also quite good. I will be back.

          1. Finally made it here today when we dropped off the dogs at The Torture Chamber :) WOW. We got the brisket sandwich and it's the biggest sandwich I've ever seen. I don't anyone with a normal appetite could finish one with the side it comes with. We got the BBQ beans and while good (pinto, kidney and black) they were just too sweet with the sauce to be real winners with us. And the next time I'll ask for the sauce on the side for the sandwich also. We had to wait probably 20 minutes for our to-go order and I heard her tell another customer that they had been slammed with phoned in orders. Love seeing a new business doing well. I'm thinking this is going to be our go-to when the dogs go to the groomer.

            ETA: As we always do, we shared this and it was STILL a lot to eat.