After a day spent visiting museums and playing the casual tourist in Chattanooga I returned to my hotel and now faced the challenge of deciding where to partake of my evening repast. Not feeling inclined to venture far from my room I fired up my laptop and began searching for nearby restaurants. Being in the mood for barbecue helped narrow my choices and I decided to try Bones’ Smokehouse and after reading a few online reviews of the restaurant I climbed into my vehicle and headed off ready to get my ‘Cue on!
Pulling into the crowded parking lot at Bones’ my expectations lifted. I took the nearly full lot as a sign that Bones’ had something good going on. The facade of the restaurant was styled in the traditional barbecue architecture: weathered wooden siding, a long narrow building, outdoor benches, and a neon sign advertising the porcine fare inside. The exterior theme was carried inside and represented by the wood-paneled walls and classic booth seating. The friendly hostess seated me immediately and I was left to peruse the menu as I waited for my server. I immediately knew I was in for a treat since any eatery that uses dish towels instead of paper napkins in the table setting is already my kind of place.
Looking over the items on the fairly extensive menu I experienced a reverse sticker shock. The prices for the dinners seemed to me to be too low to be true. My foodie mind balked at the low-priced fare and the little guy that sits on my wrong shoulder whispered that the portions must be very skimpy. Hedging my bets I decided on ordering a bowl of Brunswick stew and two entrees that caught my attention: The Big Pig sandwich and Pork Tacos. My server complimented my choices even though she was obviously unaccustomed to a single diner ordering more than one main item and walked off to the kitchen to deliver my requests.
After a short wait the first item of my order was delivered to my table. In the past when I have ordered a bowl of something it is usually delivered in a dish more commonly seen on the tray of a toddler, but not this time. My server brought out the Brunswick stew in a bowl closely resembling a hubcap from a post-war Buick. The stew was hearty and delicious and I knew I would be taking some home especially if the portion size was any indication of what was to come.
The rest of my order arrived shortly after and once again I was stunned at the amount of food splayed before me.
The Big Pig was a massive assembly of jalapeno pork sausage, pulled pork and crisp bacon. The triple threat of pork was topped with cheese, jalapeno pickles, and slaw accompanied by a mountainous side of fries. The unique taste of the three different pork ingredients was definitely worth trying. I am always delighted when a dish takes components not normally prepared together and unabashedly turns them into a salivating adventure that spins up my taste buds. But wait! There’s more!
The pork tacos were a flavorful combination of pulled pork topped with lettuce, smoked corn salsa, red pepper aioli, and both jack and cheddar cheese. The side for this dish was red beans and rice heavy on the cilantro, just the way I like it. This platter was fun to eat and though my entire order was delicious this was my favorite.
But it didn’t end there. During my meal I overheard another server mention bread pudding which just happens to be my kryptonite. I had to try it. So after eating all I thought safe, I committed my leftovers to carry-out containers and ordered a helping of the sweet dessert. I prefer my bread pudding a little more “wet” but this tasty rendition lent itself well to surviving a night in my mini fridge waiting to be the next night’s dinner.
My visit to Bones’ Smokehouse was everything I hoped it would be. The wait to be seated was minimal and the servers and staff were very friendly and added to the overall dining experience. My tips for when visiting this restaurant: come hungry, come often, and if you only have one thing make it the pork tacos with red beans and rice. Oh, and make sure you have a comfortable place to take a nap afterwards.
© 2014 G. Scott Brinkley. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.