Dining & Drink

What’s Black And White And Knows Good Barbecue?

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(Staff Photo: Richard Davis) The pulled pork plate with green beans and home fries at Penguin Ed's on Crossover in Fayetteville. The juicy green beans are seasoned with small chunks of bacon.

Ed’s smokes up delicious pulled penguin … er, pork

By Rachel Birdsell
TFW Contributing Writer

Preamble Ramble

Penguin Ed’s is a go-to place for a lot of us when we’re craving BBQ, but even our go-to places need to be reviewed, right?
Management, menus and cooks change and that can either be fortunate or disatrous. If Penguin Ed’s suddenly started serving penguin, we’d want to know about it, right? I’m sure they won’t ever do that, but when I was eating there the other day, I did wonder if there’s anyone who eats penguins. Then I started wondering what penguin would taste like, how you’d cook it and if you’re supposed to serve it cold. Then I realized that I wonder about some really odd things.

Food for Thought

I typically order the half chicken dinner at Penguin Ed’s, but I decided I wanted something different, so I had the pulled penguin plate instead. Oh stop it with the penguin jokes, already. I actually had the pulled pork plate with a side of coleslaw and brown beans.
The coleslaw was good — nothing that made me jump up and down, but I’m not sure there’s much you could do to coleslaw to make it that amazing. Well, I have a few ideas, but they involve scantily clad men with hard bodies who worship me. Usually, coleslaw is either really bad or it’s OK. I can’t remember ever having amazing coleslaw. (Please don’t tell my mother that, though.)
The brown beans were pretty blah. In fact, they tasted like beans just out of the can. They were boring, and I don’t like boring beans. However, a little barbecue sauce in them made them a lot tastier.
The pulled pork was divine. It was tender, juicy and had just the right amount of smokiness. You could taste the smoke, but it didn’t taste like you were gnawing on a charred mesquite branch. It really was some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. I had the hot sauce on it, and while it’s the vinegary, not-so-sweet variety, I liked it. It has a bit of a bite, but it’s not so hot that it has you grabbing all the liquids within reach to douse the inferno in your mouth.

The Sporkcast

(1-5 sporks)

Atmosphere: 3.7 black and white sporks that waddle wherever they walk
There are penguins everywhere. Little ones, big ones, in between ones, which is nice because penguins make people happy. Think about it. Have you ever seen anyone get angry with a penguin? I didn’t think so. And to make the atmosphere even better, there are always blues playing overhead. It’s a proven fact that if you listen to the blues while eating barbecue, your food will taste much better.
Food: 4.3 cast iron sporks that were forged way down South
The pork more than made up for the bean’s lacking. I’m not sure if it will replace my usual chicken, but it will certainly be on my next-in-line list.
Staff: 4.7 copper sporks with smiles etched on the tines
The staff has always been friendly at any of the Penguin Ed’s locations I’ve been to. My most recent experience was no different. I was greeted with a smile and served my food in record time.
Dollars spent: My meal set me back about $9, which included a sweet tea. Most of the plates and sandwiches are in the $6-$8 range.
Chance of returning: As long as Penguin Ed’s keeps serving up good barbecue, I’ll keep going back. I have their somewhat recently opened cafe on my list of places to review. For those of you who don’t know, last summer Ed’s Penguin Cafe opened at the Mission location. According to their website, they serve breakfast, lunch, coffee and baked goods, including whoopie pie! I’ve never had a whoopie pie, but they sound like a lot of fun.
If you know of a great eating place, drop me a line at rabirdsell@gmail.com. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.

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