I have to be honest, I was a little hesitant to try this restaurant because of my insane love of BBQ and the fact that I knew one of the owners was a vegetarian.
I have heard nothing but good things about MEAT though, so we were in the neighborhood and starving, so what better to fill a hungry belly than with BBQ?
I am a Certified BBQ judge for Kansas City BBQ Society, so I am no expert on BBQ but I have a good palate for competition fare. I badly wanted to be impressed by the smoky, tender quality of the Texas style BBQ at MEAT.
We were actually able to get seating right away which was a pleasant surprise. There are no reservations at MEAT. The hostess station is actually a little further into the entrance of the restaurant than I was expecting. It was still pretty crowded and loud.
We were shown to our table by our server, Adam. The long tables in the middle of the restaurant are communal tables separated by your tray of BBQ sauces.
I was a jerk and told Adam that I am a BBQ Judge and that I was desperate to be impressed by this restaurant. He certainly did not disappoint! Adam comes across as an expert in the way he was able to explain the preparation and smoking process for the monthly feature, Porchetta. I was instantly sold.
He let us peruse the menu for a bit, there were some difficult decisions to be made. There is a nice variety of traditional southern BBQ meats available with the same traditional sides. You can clearly see the flair of style and creativity with the monthly feature.
MEAT has a nice variety of beer on tap. I just went with my standby favourite, AlleyKat Aprikat. It goes nicely with BBQ.
If you have read any of my BBQ reviews before, to be fair I am trying the Brisket at each one of the BBQ restaurants I try.
So we chose the Porchetta, the Brisket, with sides of garlic fries, collard greens with bacon and a couple of the monster pickles. You can’t have BBQ without pickles!
Everything is served “Texas Family Style” which means it comes out on a paper lined tray perfect for sharing.
The pound serving of brisket includes the long thin slices placed on top of some chunkier cuts. When judging BBQ, you mark on appearance before anything else. You can usually tell by looking at it whether or not it is going to be dry and inedible. MEAT’s brisket looks mouth-watering, and smells even better. There are no forks in competition, so you pick a piece up and pull it apart with your fingers. Good brisket should be firm but pull apart easily. Check.
Taste is the third determining factor. Dry rubs are traditional. The meat is tasted “naked”, without any sauce. The smoke flavour is nice, not overpowering. Too much hickory can give meat an almost bitter taste. The 1/3 hickory to 2/3 cherry wood ratio is delicious.
The slices of brisket would have scored almost perfect. The chunks were disappointing. They were mushy and overcooked. They tasted awesome, the texture was just off.
The Porchetta was sliced and presented nicely as well. This was an absolute pleasure to indulge in. The pork was tender without being mushy, perfect smoke flavour. Top notch!
The sides were pretty fantastic as well. My husband really enjoyed his garlic fries. The collard greens were good.
Out of the four sauce choices, my favourite was the Cherry. My palate loves fruit with meat.
Did we have room for dessert? Hell no!
My only complaint about the whole experience was the noise level. It was actually hard to hear my husband, he had to raise his voice above all the commotion.
I am glad to say that I really enjoyed the BBQ and can say that I have two places that I can recommend now in the Edmonton area.
Thank you Adam and MEAT for a wonderful dining and BBQ experience.