The first thing I think of when people ’round these here parts start
talking about “bedlam” is: “Oh, my dear, sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster!
Won’t you all shut up about football/ basketball/golf/frolf/track and
field/ that game where you try and get a ring over the top of the bottle
to win a prize?” The second thing I think of is, “Hmm, barbecue sounds
To be fair, “Hmm, barbecue sounds good” is usually the second thing I think, regardless of the topic.
Let’s talk about Bedlam Bar-B-Q, which is a local purveyor of fine smoked meats.
Did you know that when rib meat is “falling off the bone,” it means somebody screwed up? It’s true!
that’s one of the reasons I like Bedlam so much. Their rib basket
($7.99) has Texas toast and a couple of sides and — most important — two
meaty, smoky ribs. Pick them up. Shake them around. Note how the meat
stays attached to the bone.
take a bite. See? Now the meat comes off and it’s tender and delicious
and you find yourself ordering three more rib baskets.
let’s continue. Ham. You heard me: ham. Not something I find on most
barbecue restaurant menus and rarely done this skillfully. Bedlam’s ham
comes in nice, thick slices with a heady smoke punch.
See, there’s a lot of juice in ham and that picks up the
smoke. Done poorly, the smoke leaves the ham bitter or bland. Done
right, it’s a succulent piece of meat that you’ll gobble up quickly.
you, like me, want to try a bunch of meats, you can get the combo
dinner ($12.99) with a choice of two meats or the Big Red dinner
($14.49) with three meats.
But there’s another way to combine the great catalog of Bedlam’s smoked meats into one juggernaut of flavors.
Bedlam Sandwich ($7.69) is a mix of pulled pork, chicken, chopped
brisket and hot links. Usually, I don’t like mixing hot links with other
foods, because they’re pretty overpowering, but here it works. Douse it
with either of Bedlam’s hot or sweet sauces, and it goes down easy.
Bedlam Burger ($7.79) doesn’t quite measure up, sadly. It’s a decent
burger with sautéed red onions and Cheddar cheese on top, although the
texture of the meat seemed a little overworked to me. Not bad, by any
means, but it kind of pales in comparison to other, better options.
As for sides, the macaroni and cheese is pretty good, but the collard greens are better
(i.e. not bitter). The curly fries are tasty, too, but my real favorite
is the cowboy beans. Don’t be fooled — there are baked beans and then
there are cowboy beans. The latter are less sweet, more spicy and
City has no lack of barbecue joints. Some are good. Some not so good.
And Bedlam Bar-B-Q is definitely on the good list.
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.