2 Splats -

Satchel's BBQ
3035 Washtenaw Ave
     Ann Arbor, MN 48104
     Tel: (734) 971-5100

I have to admit that Ann Arbor (a suburb of Detroit) was not on my hit list of places to spend a week. Let's face it - when you think of places for BBQ, MIchigan is not at the top of the list. Ever the optimist though, I asked my students where to go for some of that local flavor. Their answer was not very encouraging - mostly it consisted of blank stares, thoughtful gazes, and one of two guys Googling for places to suggest. The best suggestion I got was actually for a local burger joint named Blimpy's - but that review is for another time.
A quick Google search turned up a few BBQ places and I decided to give Satchel's a try - mostly because it was fairly close to my hotel. I wasn't expecting much and, well, I wasn't disappointed. If you're looking to impress date this ain't the place (not that many BBQ joints are) - it's in a little strip mall and the decor appears to have been designed by a fast food entrepreneur from the 70's.
The food was average - the ribs were overdone, the beens had no zip (neither sweet nor spicy,) the potato salad was there, and the cornbread was dry. TO top it off, the entire thing was served on paper plates on top of what looked like a metal tray from a federal penitentiary. Actually that might be the case - the way I was treated me feel like the bird man of Alcatraz. They were hurried (although I was the only person there at the time,) and made me stand and wait to my meal thrown on my grey metal tray. It was like a bad mix of prison and the grade school lunch line.
If you've read my other reviews you know that even an average BBQ can be redeemed by having a good selection of sauces. At first glance it looks like this might be the case at Satchel's. Their collection includes House, Hot, Sweet, Mustard, and Carolina vinegar sauces. You'd think that out of all those choices there'd be something for everyone. Ah well - one of life's lessons is that quantity does not mean quality. The sauces were watery, and mostly tasteless. Even the hot only had heat - no flavor.
I gave Satchel's two splats - mostly because if you're stuck in Ann Arbor at least you can smell the smoke and chew a little meat off the bone.