Needing a protein fix, it was time for my wife and I to try another barbecue place that we had been debating on for months. She had been here a while back, but I had never eaten here. In the past I would have come here without thought, but after our current food adventures have brought us to some really unique restaurants, this one didn’t seem too inviting. Since it’s rated #13 of 58 restaurants in McDonough, GA on TripAdvisor, and I’d hate to miss out on a local hot spot that’s so close to home.
The restaurant is tucked away on a moderately busy street that includes a few other larger restaurants like Applebee’s and a Mexican restaurant next door.
They have a very large sign on the highway (the pole can be seen behind the building), so folks know it’s here. They don’t have a lot of competition, and as far as I know, they are the only barbecue place in McDonough. The parking lot is quite large for the size of the restaurant, so I suppose at times it can get very busy.
Inside, there is plenty of seating. This is one section of the dining room, but all of the seating is this combo of booths and tables. The entire room is all wood décor, giving a dark and orange look and working for that barbecue theme.
The menu has most of the typical items like pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket, but included a few items I wasn’t used to, like pork or chicken nachos and fried dill pickles.
I noticed that the burgers are required to be cooked to medium temperature or higher. Not that most people are looking for a burger at a barbecue place, but not allowing them to be cooked to order is something I find disqualifies them for having burgers that are worth trying. Meat should be cooked to the customer’s satisfaction.
My wife was split between two dishes and chose the Smokehouse Double for $19.95 so she wouldn’t have to decide. She picked the brisket and pulled pork (as noted on the menu, the pork is $0.50 more when pulled as opposed to chopped), with Brunswick stew and a baked sweet potato as the sides. Her bread option was the hush puppies.
O.B.’s menu claims that all meats are marinated, then slowly cooked over a hickory pit, and then seasoned. My wife’s proteins all tasted like they had no flavor at all. There was no smoke flavor and no sense of any marination. It was all cooked to absolute perfection, the right temperature and the right texture, but it was simply lacking in any flavor. Of course, adding the barbecue sauce from the bottles at the table made it taste like barbecue, but up until that point it was just plain cooked meat.
I have said many times before that most all barbecue is the same to me, and while I still feel that way it’s a nice perk (and probably expected by most people patronizing a barbecue restaurant) to have the meats tasting of either smoke or barbecue before the sauce is even introduced by the customer. I didn’t try her plate after the sauce was added, but she tells me it was closer to being a good meal at that point. We both felt that the food should come ready to eat, and we shouldn’t have to add our own barbecue sauce to finish the dish.
The biggest upside was probably the large quantity of food on the plate. She may not have been 100% satisfied with the taste, but at least she was full.
The baked sweet potato was just that. She didn’t have an opinion either way as it tasted like any baked sweet potato you could get anywhere.
The Brunswick stew she found to be delicious. It was sweet, but not too much so. There seemed to be a lot of barbecue sauce included (well seasoned), and she really felt the large quantity of meat complimented the sweetness of the remaining ingredients.
The hush puppies were very dense with a somewhat harsh, overpowering onion flavor. She normally loves onion and onion flavored foods, but felt that this time it was a bit too much. They were cooked well, but just not very palatable in her opinion.
I ordered a full rack of O.B.’s Baby Backs for $19.95. Once again, the quantity was sufficient. This was definitely a full rack. My meal came complete with the barbecue sauce already slathered over the ribs.
The sauce was fine by my standards, but again, this is from a person who thinks most all barbecue sauce tastes essentially the same. As long as it’s not spicy I will probably enjoy it.
The ribs had a few drier pieces near the outer edge, but not dry enough to be distasteful. However, the majority of each bite was actually cooked well. The tenderness was similar to what you find at many chain restaurants like Chili’s or Ruby Tuesday.
I couldn’t get a solid bite with no sauce, but the best I could tell there was no smokey or barbecue flavor to the meat itself, just in the sauce.
For my sides I went with the baked beans and potato salad. I was trying to order the same thing I had eaten at Fox Brothers a few weeks earlier for a direct comparison. My bread choice was corn bread.
The corn bread was a small nugget sized muffin, not a larger square chunk that would be expected. It’s literally a two bite side item.
It was nothing spectacular, in fact it was average at best. Plain corn bread generally shouldn’t have too much variance in taste, but once again (this seemed to be the theme of the day) this piece seemed a little denser, and therefore a bit drier as well.
I have mentioned foods in past reviews that are essentially the same from one place to another, with the only difference being the addition of some extra ingredient to change the flavor. I mentioned in my Fox Brothers review the multitude of baked bean flavors available in stores. O.B.’s managed to add an ingredient that I don’t think I’ve seen in other beans before, green pepper.
Too bad I’m not a huge fan of peppers as an ingredient in many foods. Baked beans are one of them. The pepper had a strong pungency, which would normally be a great flavor addition if I actually loved the taste. Since I don’t, it was overpowering and took away from my enjoyment of the beans.
The potato salad was terrific. Sweet, and more creamy than chunky, it was the perfect mix of potato and dressing.
This is an example of where I welcome peppers being an ingredient, as they not only work with the taste, but the added crunchiness mixed with the smoothness of the dressing creates a wonderful contrast. This was high on my list of some of the better potato salads I’ve had in my life.
I began to wonder if this was made elsewhere and purchased by O.B.’s. When asked about it, the server didn’t know the answer and I didn’t want to be rude and push it any further so I left it alone. I have a feeling they weren’t made in house, but if they were, kudos to the cook that came up with that recipe.
O.B.’s Barbecue was not the best barbecue place I’ve tried by a long shot. The meats were not flavorful, their breads were dense and dry, and some of the tastes just didn’t work for my wife and I. The menu does intrigue me to come back and try some non-traditional items from a barbecue restaurant, such as the barbecue pizza or various sandwiches, but I still feel like there are other places that can do better. It’s debatable whether I’ll come back, but if I do, it would probably be another spur-of-the-moment trip when I need a quick decision to find dinner. If I have the time to decide, I’d rather go to the city and back to Fox Brothers or one of the other barbecue places in the top 20 restaurants in Atlanta. There are definitely better choices around, but O.B.’s isn’t bad enough to discount completely.