Last Saturday was not the first time I had Martin’s barbecue. I actually had it 1st at their old location (just down the road) and again at Nashville’s 2010 Music City BBQ Festival. Unbeknownst to me, they actually moved to a new building down the street. I’ve wanted to revisit them for some time now not only because I don’t have a review about them, but because I was craving their savory and seasoned barbecue. I’m not actually sure when Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint moved to their new location but I will say that this new location is much nicer. Not to say the old one didn’t have a charming appeal, but the new one keeps that “roadhouse” feel in a spacious, modern building with more seating and better traffic flow.
Haley and I arrived to a steadily busy restaurant slightly before 6 PM. Thank goodness too because the popularity of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint among the locals is apparent. By the time we got our food to the minute we left, a line had formed by the door. Given ample time to look over their monstrous menu on the wall, I settled for the “Big Momma Sampler” ($20) by the time we got to the cashier. This sampler is made for two people and consists of four ribs (choice of spare or baby back with the option of dry or wet), a 1/4 pound of beef brisket, a 1/4 pound of pulled pork, and 2 sides (I chose the fries and green beans). I selected the spare ribs dry and kept the sampler to myself. Haley chose the Large Kid’s Chicken Tenders ($4.50) with a side of baked beans.
It wasn’t long until we got our food and the waiter balked at the fact that the sampler was just for me. Beautifully arranged on a plastic tray were 4 large spare ribs, generously dusted with additional rub, a clump of beef brisket on Texas toast with a drizzling of a dark barbecue sauce, a serving of pulled pork on Texas toast with a lighter barbecue sauce, a pile of freshly cut & fried French fries, and a cup of green beans with bits of pork. With the monstrous sampler for two, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I decided to strategically take bites out of each item and side in successive order to savor each item while still piping hot.
My first bite was from a spare rib. The rib itself was tender with accents of a smoky-spice infused flavor. The meat pulled from the bone without much effort and was surprisingly juicy, which came from the deposits of fat. You could definitely enjoy these ribs without any contamination of sauce but getting that splash of additional flavor would only enhance your rib eating pleasure.
Next came the beef brisket, which I’ll gladly state that Martin’s has some of the better brisket I’ve eaten. Beef brisket isn’t my favorite because it’s hard to cook properly. Even then, sometimes you get brisket that’s overly dry. Not at Martin’s. Their beef brisket is tender, moist, and full of smoky flavor. The sauce that accompanies their brisket is a dark, sweet, smoky sauce that’s perfect for finishing the meat.
Martin’s pulled pork is the only pulled pork that I’ve seen Haley willingly eat. Smoked for a minimum of 22 hours and cooked to perfection, the pulled pork at Martin’s is succulent and extremely flavorful. I have never experienced fatty or dry pulled pork at Martin’s, even at events where their barbecue is catered. Accompanying the pulled pork was red sauce that was thinner than the sauce on the brisket. It’s also less sweet and tangier. The perfect complement to some of the best pulled pork I’ve had.
Haley’s chicken tenders are some of the best chicken tenders in Nashville. What I particularly like about Martin’s chicken tenders isthat the breading is light, flakey, and crunchy… like real southern fried chicken. Within the browned crust are strips of white meat chicken that was very moist. With her tenders she was served a Carolina gold sauce, which was too mustardy-sour to her liking. Around that time, a gentleman from the kitchen came up to us and asked us how we liked our food. I’m assuming this is the legendary Pat Martin from which Martin’s is named and I told him that Haley would like a different sauce. He came back with not only a ramekin of barbecue sauce that accompanied my pulled pork, but an Alabama white sauce (a creamy sauce with hints of cayenne pepper) that Haley took an immediate liking to.
Last but not least are the sides, which are in their own right sees nearly as much attention as the barbecue. Nothing tastes better than freshly cut French fries and Martin’s fries are exactly that: lightly browned and crispy with a dash of kosher salt and pepper. The green beans are some of the best you’ll ever have. Rather than pieces of bacon in green beans and water, their green beans are mixed with real pulled pork in a spicy broth. But my favorite is Martin’s baked beans. These beans are simmered in a rich, sweet, and smoky sauce with actual pieces of barbecued meat and peppers.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is one of the few places I like eating barbecue in the Nashville area. Their food is top notch and for the price, where else can you get authentic barbecue that is tended to in the most loving ways. Everything I’ve had on their menu receives an A+ and just writing about it is making my mouth water. I like Martin’s so much, I actually made plans to go back this weekend.
|Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
7238 Nolensville, Rd.
Nolensville, TN 37135
Bill Total: $28.72 For Two (With Tax)