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Rock's Famous BBQ

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This is my 46th barbecue joint review and I’m getting to the point where sometimes there isn’t much of a back story. The tale of ending up at Rock’s is very brief. We were working in Prattville, wanted barbecue for lunch, found Rock’s online, and there you go. Perhaps it was the name that caught my attention, Rock’s Famous BBQ. It read like a bit of a dare, to find out if it really could be famous. Well, challenge accepted. Off we go!

From the outside, it’s not much to look at. I might not have stopped had I just been driving by. Once inside, everything changed. You’re met by a small bar with a liquor wall and a lot of neon. The setting is bright and lively with a TV carrying sports. You also notice lots of Rock’s Famous BBQ branding, all of which is clean and creative. Someone has invested a lot of time and creativity in developing their logo and mascot. He’s a cheerful dude that Chase would be down for hanging with.

Ordering at the counter earns a joint major bonus points. There’s a bright menu above the counter that’s inviting and easy to read. It’s an additional fixture that contradicts the plain, red brick exterior and exudes confidence in what’s being served. But the coolness doesn’t stop there. This is a blues joint and Blues Hits Radio blasts throughout the front dining room. If you like Stevie Ray Vaughn and the sounds of Austin City Limits, this is your jam. The bold rhythm of America’s music justifies the name on the door, Rock’s!

The food is served in an unpretentious but attractive vehicle, metal tray with red and white checkered wax paper. The sides are in single serving, disposable cups, thoughtful and practical. Many other restaurants share this design and I’ve found it to be my favorite. It feels appropriate for a barbecue joint. But looks are only the precursor for the real reason we’re here.

The pulled pork was beautiful. The hand pull reveals the smoke ring and the delicate bark from a gentle preparation. It has a wonderful smell that preps you for the smoky flavor. The smoke is present but is delicate and lingers and is complimented by the perfect sauce. On each table is a bottle of slightly sweet, tomato-based sauce with a mild spice. It perks up the pork as its thin consistency allows it to sink into the meat through all levels and meld with all the natural flavors from the cooking process.

The baked beans are what I know as Cowboy Beans. They’re loaded with ground beef, peppers, onions, and maple, delivering a very hearty dish that is satisfying all on its own. The potato salad is executed well and provides a nice contrast to the beans. Made with chunky Russets, mayo, mustard, finely diced onion, and salt & pepper, it’s a classic take with familiar flavor. A coworker had the mac n cheese, which was different than any I’ve had before. It was a really soft noodle and the flavor was good, but I don’t know how to analyze it. I included a picture below and am interested to understand the preparation if you’re familiar with it.

The discovery of Rock’s on a rainy workday was a real jolt. The food and hospitality jazzed us for the rest of our day. Well, not really jazzed since it is a blues joint. It all made me feel like a true Southerner, which is where real pork barbecue was born.

Bonus points:

Sauce on the table

Coke products

Sports on TV

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