Last night Hubby was in the Forest Hills area for an errand and was driving past Cally’s BBQ on his way home. He was starving, so he stopped in. For about $50, he got a slab of pork ribs, two pulled pork sandwiches, a side of mac & cheese, a side of fries, and three pieces of “cornbread pudding,” which he brought home to share with me and my mom. We’ve all been driving by this place for a few years now but never had the time to stop. We have really been missing out.
My mom and I know something about barbecue. She lived in Texas for 20 years (where I lived until I was 5), so she ate lots of Texas-style barbecue (which is, of course, mostly about beef and tomato-based sauces). Her family is originally from downstate North Carolina, where barbecue is pork and vinegar-based sauce. (Eastern North Carolina is where you find mustard sauce, which neither of us really like.) In fact, her aunt owned Mt. Olive’s (yes, where the pickles come from) best barbecue joint for years – until the state required restaurants to stop cooking their pork over wood and use charcoal or gas instead. That put Aunt Viola out of business because the flavor just wasn’t the same. (I’m pretty sure they’ve since repealed that rule but this all happened about 1990.)
The ribs are dry rubbed and smoked. They’re tender and have a really good crust on them. The pulled pork was also very tender and, unlike other places I’ve had pork sandwiches, there wasn’t fat in it, which means they must really pay attention when they pull it. I tried their vinegar sauce – sweeter than what they make back home but still really good. The fries were good (but how much can you say about a fry?). The mac & cheese was really delicious. I don’t want to think about what they put in it. It wasn’t fancy, just REALLY cheesy and yummy. The cornbread pudding was delicious. I ate mine for dessert. It’s got a flavor similar to what I imagine would happen if you made bread pudding with cornbread but the texture is more like traditional cornbread. It’s kind of a cross between cornbread and corn pudding, maybe? Hard to explain but very tasty.
There is no barbecue in the world like Wayne County barbecue but Cally’s was delicious. Definitely better than Hank’s, which had been our go-to barbecue joint (and still will be our go-to catfish joint). (Please don’t ask what I think of Sonny’s.) Next time we have a BBQ craving, we’re going back to Cally’s.