8 Splats -

Andy Nelson's Barbecue
11011 York Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030-2004
(410) 527-1226
(Northern suburb of Baltimore)

A colleague of mine, Joe Desmond, is a certified BBQ judge with the Kansas City Barbecue Society. We were teaching a Fast Track class in Hunt Valley, MD., together so I decided to take him to my favorite BBQ spot in the area - Andy Nelson’s BBQ.

I have always loved the food here - everything from the ribs, to the brisket, from the cornbread to the beans, and I was wondering how his “trained palette” would rank them. When we sat down I asked him to approach his plate as he would a submission in one of the various BBQ contests he has judged. We both ordered the “sampler plate” so as to try as many of their choices as possible (although he chose “dry” and I went “wet”.)

In general our opinions matched - we both agreed that the ribs were great (not overdone as is often the case in restaurants where they have to cook up a day’s worth at a time,) and the brisket was moist and tasty. We also agreed that the pulled pork was a little mushy (although this is the style in many areas.) as for the sides, we disagreed on the baked beans, he thought they were a little too spicy and I, of course, thought they were great (I love spicy!)
I learned quite a bit about how BBQ judges are trained and screened, what they look for, and how to please them, over the course of our week together. Someday I have to gather my courage and test my new knowledge in a real competition!
RIBS - 10 Splats
Nicely smoked, had a nice fire-ring, and were fairly meaty

BRISKET - 8 Splats
Moist, nicely smoked

PULLED PORK - 5 Splats
While the flavor was good, we both found the texture to be mushy

BEANS - 7 Splats
Nice chunks of meat and a spicy after taste

SLAW - 3 Splats
Ho hum

SAUCES - 5 Splats
The sauces are run of the mill - I'd like to see a few more choices and a bit more flavor

I'll visit every time I'm in town!