Growing up in NY, Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, was the best known in the area and sat a few hours west. What we had was OK. There may have been a red sauce slathered on top of chicken or ribs but it was not the BBQ that will cause fist fights across state lines in the south. What I grew up with, and what many still call BBQ, was grilling. Because I never enjoyed the sickeningly sweet bottled sauces my family bought or that our neighbor made, I never really got into liking 'BBQ'.
Since moving to Maine, I've been to two places over time: Buck's Naked in Freeport and Norm's East End Grill on Middle Street. Both were nice, though Buck's was preferred because of the option of adding sauce to my liking. However, I walked away none the better versed on things from the world of char.
So, when Kate and I decided to grab lunch at Ron's Skinny Cart BBQ I had no preconceived notions or expectations. And, when you visit the barely-hanging-on-shack
you leave it all at the window. Ron is an animated man, a nice wink and a smile with every word that flows from his mouth as he quickly heats, slathers, stuffs, wraps and hands over your sandwich. The bottles of water and cans of soda hang out in brightly colored buckets dangling under the day's menu and hours.
Luckily, just behind the parking lot next to Skinny Cart, there sits a log that nicely subs for a bench. And you'll probably need to sit to eat this because it's not an easy sandwich to dig into.
You have two options:Lightly charred, but gorgeously pink, beef is more than generously doused with a homemade sauce, added bacon and caramelized onions. While the meat and onions were great, the sauce reminded me a bit too much of that dreaded childhood BBQ. A hint too sweet and a bit too heavy with the black pepper, I would have liked about half of the sauce that was there. After having the sandwich that I brought home for her, which included a horseradish mayo that I would have loved to have tried, the Mrs. echoed the issues with the pepper of the sauce. But, for the both of us, this doesn't dismiss the fact that it was a damn good sandwich, especially for the price.
Attack it quickly and with generous napkins
Eat is slowly and wear it broadly on your clothing.
Cart side dining on Washington Ave.