ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Food and Drink

Smoke and nostalgia: BBQ Kitch’n serves up the classics with proficiency and value

Nostalgia is a powerful drug. I have been itching to try BBQ Kitch’n, the new all-takeout spot in South Anchorage for three reasons. First, I love barbecue. Second, I love takeout. Third, because it promised to deliver a culinary blast from my past.

As a teenager, I worked at the once-bustling Sourdough Mining Company. I won’t say which decade but let’s just say I listened to a lot of 10,000 Maniacs in my car on the way to work. With its kitsch-filled prospector-themed dining room, its mine-cart lined parking lot, and giant taxidermy bear in the lobby — did I imagine that? — it was a really fun first restaurant job, if a bit of a fever dream. I hosted, took phone orders, and bused tables. I also ate enough corn fritters to sink an ocean liner. You’ve heard of the freshman 15? I gained the Sourdough 17. To this day, the whiff of barbecue sauce can send me decades back in time.

The new iteration is resurrecting a large swathe of the Sourdough Mining Company’s original menu. But that’s where the comparison ends. The takeout-only spot is a sleek, modern storefront, with an open kitchen where you can watch your meal being prepared while you wait.

I recently hosted out-of-town guests and decided to let BBQ Kitch’n take care of the cooking after a busy weekend of festivities. I opted for the Barbecue Box for 4 No. 2 which includes 6 chicken tenders, 12 spareribs, 8 Korn fritters, 4 slices of garlic toast, 2 half pints of barbecue sauce, and two sides of either coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, or corn on the cob. If one of the judging criteria of takeout is ease of ordering and pick-up, BBQ Kitch’n aced it. I ordered and paid online, selected a pick-up time, customized my sides and sauces, all without a glitch. When I arrived, my order was ready and waiting and the efficient staff did a double-check on my order and threw in some extra sauces.

If another criteria is packaging, BBQ Kitch’n had another win. I’m a real stickler for packaging. Food just tastes better when it’s plated or packaged well. Flimsy containers, easily shredded plastic bags, and Styrofoam containers that sweat and steam your food will steer me away from ordering out from even the best restaurants. The packing system at BBQ Kitch’n is on point. My large meal, which I expected to awkwardly carry out to the car in a barrage of bags, bits and pieces, came beautifully packed into one single, intelligently packed cardboard takeout box. One small bag with sides was handed off. The whole thing was fool-proof and spill-proof, efficient and appetizing. In fact, depending on how close your family is and how you feel about cutlery and table manners, you could just open the box, hand everyone a roll of paper towels, and stand back.

[Anchorage’s bagels are better than ever. You just have to know where to find them.]

The meal itself had some ups and downs. Let’s start with the bad news: corn. I ordered it two ways and was disappointed two ways. First, the corn on the cob, one of my favorite foods in the world. These looked incredible. Wrapped in a foil blanket, the cob was appetizingly charred, and glistening with melted butter. But we don’t only eat with our eyes. It was not good. Watery, mushy and essentially tasteless, I took two bites and sadly chucked the rest. I don’t know whether the flavor had been cooked out of these cobs or whether the corn wasn’t good to begin with but either way, I found myself wishing I had opted for the baked beans.

ADVERTISEMENT

Secondly, the fritters. These too looked gorgeous. Bigger than I remember, these puffy pillows of dough were fried to a perfect golden brown. Unfortunately, that’s where the perfection ended. They were undercooked. Instead of fluffy bites of corny goodness, the interior was almost raw making for a dense and heavy bite. Perhaps they’re too big to cook through properly. Is this the rare case of too much fritter?

Now for the good news.

I was careless when ordering and opted for the package that had chicken tenders — coconut tenders are an option too — instead of a roast chicken. While I’m definitely not too good for a crispy chicken tender, I don’t usually order them when a roast chicken is available. That said, these were perfect. Big, meaty, crispy, salty with just a hint of spice. They were also great for feeding a crowd — easy to grab and dunk in the Kinder’s chicken sauce, just one of the dipping choices.

The ribs are big, meaty, and tender, though not as smoky as I might have liked. I opted for the original barbecue sauce which is bright and tangy, with lots of spice and vinegar. Next time, I might order the smoky barbecue sauce to amp up the char flavor of the rib meat. I liked the slaw, and the thick, buttery Texas toast — two barbecue classics done classically.

A final thought. I think this meal is an excellent value. I sometimes question the food industry’s definition of “family” sizes. Have they met my family? This was an ample amount of food for a dinner for four with a fair amount of leftovers for grazing, lunch, or even a second dinner. Two family meals for under $100 that isn’t pizza, fast food or something you have to cook or clean up yourself is, to me, a bargain.

The bottom line: BBQ Kitch’n provides great value, good ribs, good chicken, and some nice, classic sides. Their takeout operation is easy, efficient, and thoughtful. One they handle a few side-dish glitches, I can easily see this making it into my family’s regular takeout rotation. Now, excuse me while I go dig out my 10,000 Maniacs cassette.

[How to assemble the perfect picnic basket for Anchorage]

BBQ Kitch’n

10950 O’Malley Drive, Suite B2

bbqkitchn.com

907-339-1922

Tuesday-Sunday: 4-9 p.m.

* * *

$$

Mara Severin | Eating out

Mara Severin is a food writer who writes about restaurants in Southcentral Alaska. Want to respond to a column or suggest a restaurant for review? Reach her at dining@adn.com.

ADVERTISEMENT