Limestone BBQ and Bourbon

57094448_401365937322665_4905450872256856064_nThe biggest mall in my area has been undergoing a near-constant state of furious growth for over a decade.  The nearest Best Buy was sucked into its ever-expanding complex around five years ago, but it’s only been a year or two since the Buffalo Wild Wings went with it.  In its place, there now stands Limestone BBQ and Bourbon, an authentic Texas Barbecue joint and Kentucky Bourbon Bar with ample, charmingly mismatched (but properly themed) seating.  In the grand tradition of Barbecue joints, there’s not exactly table service.  Food is fast-casual style, with a larger than average dining space; bar service is a touch more hands-on.  Bartenders are bartenders, but cocktail waitresses also patrol the dining room (which is the least room room in the place).   My parents were mailed (and gave us) a coupon for a free quarter pound of brisket with purchase of anything, so Morgan and I got a bunch of sides and a whiskey flight for each of us.

56806391_2269987123059037_4917067813899730944_nIt was strange to have our food before our drinks, so my first piece of advice for you is this: if you can, order your drinks before or at the same time as your food.  By nature, there’s almost always barbecue ready, so when you order brisket, they pull out a hunk and slice off the amount (by weight) you ordered.  We ordered eight almost-shots of eight different whiskies after going through the food line, so we sat there looking at our food and waiting for our drinks through nobody’s fault but our own. At first, I thought the woman in good jeans and a crisp, white blouse was a manager: the way she walked with purpose around the dining area, glancing at tables but rarely engaging them.  As it turns out, she was one of LB&B’s cocktail waitresses; the actual manager was in a polo bearing the company logo.  A woman in a branded tee greeted us when we walked in the front door, and we asked her about drinks after we’d sat down with our food.  She went and got someone for us, and we were off.

We each ordered a premade whiskey flight: I the Small Batch and she The Single Barrel.  It was the first time I could taste the differences that the preparation processes make, more comparing the single barrel offerings against the rest.  They consistently had much more character, though that’s not necessarily a good thing.  We liked more of the small batch whiskeys better, though that makes sense: they’re specifically engineered to taste as good as possible while maintaining a unique character.  That unique character is what single barrel whiskies excel in most.  It was a delicious and educational experience, and we both had a clear favorite from each flight—and it was a satisfying amount of alcohol to boot.  I find it very likely that I’ll be back in there to learn more about bourbon (and get tipsy while I’m at it!).

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Drinks settled, we were finally set to dig in: the brisket was everything I hoped it’d be and more.  I’m not very fond of people saying meat “melts in your mouth,” as that is rarely actually true.  However, this brisket actually just fell apart in my hands when I first touched it, picking it up to get a closer look at its beauty.  Plastic utensils are all you’ll need to get through these succulent, slow-cooked gems, which really are as tender and juicy as I always imagine brisket.  There were a few tough spots; no piece of meat is perfect.  But the good outweighed the bad by a considerable margin.  A  quarter pound of brisket doesn’t look like much, but with sides and bourbon, I’m sure you’ll find yourself more than satisfied.  We certainly did—and one of us doesn’t eat red meat.

56806565_501394533728996_4224852126691491840_nThis is because the sides are magnificent.  I was never worried about the mac n’ cheese, as the dish has an incredibly solid role in Southern Cuisine.  It was delicious, of course, but adding the house-made barbecue sauces elevated it even further than I hoped it would.  There were three labeled squeeze bottles waiting on the table when we arrived, each with a different style of barbecue sauce: the house-made Classiq, Philthy Hot (a spicier variant of the Classiq), and an Apple Cider Carolina Sauce—a bold and vinegar sour sauce that was practically addictive unto itself.  I found that the Classiq was best in my mac n’ cheese, as the cream neutralized too much spice in the Philthy Hot and the Carolina wouldn’t stay where I put it.  My favorite sauce, though, was not one of these.

56770522_665177020565129_4259379639366975488_nPerhaps the manager noticed my notebook and the way I was asking questions.  Maybe he just liked me, but either way, he came unprompted to our table and dropped off a little two-ounce cup of their Alabama-style white barbecue sauce.  It’s white because of mayo, and it’s made with vinegar and horseradish and garlic and on meat it’s close to the most delicious American food I’ve ever tried in my life.  I rationed it, savored it, because I knew how sad I’d be when it ran out.  Please ask for a bit of it so you can try it for yourself; I’m not exaggerating my feelings.

Limestone BBQ and Bourbon has live music Friday and Saturday nights, so hurrah if you’re into that.  If you’re not, you’re not out of luck: there’s a to go counter.  Unfortunately, Doordash and GrubHub haven’t heard the news about this place, so you will still have to go get it yourself.  That being said, if you can afford it, it’s worth all the effort it takes.  Our spread (counting the brisket at full price) was almost $30 before alcohol, and while satisfying, we didn’t have any left to take home.  I talked in my Mad Mac’s article about how paying for specialty food is worth more money, and Limestone BBQ and Bourbon easily fits that bill.  I’ll not be visiting very frequently, but as often as I can, you’ll find me there, losing my mind over a little cup of white barbecue sauce.

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