The Next Act branched out right next door, opening a Texas-style barbecue restaurant simply called Meat — the concept being, “Brisket, bourbon and beer – keeping it simple, and doing it well.”
Edmonton has seen its share of barbecue restaurants in the past year and a half: Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus, The Smokehouse, Fired Up, TW’s, That Bar-B-Q Place (Sherwood Park) and Bubba’s trailer (until it went up in flames), but Meat stands apart from these fellow smokers in two areas: the décor, and without a doubt, the food.
Meat’s approach to Texas-style barbecue is simple. No outrageous name tags, no Godzilla sized sandwiches with coy names (although that works in some cases) — nothing cutesy to detract from the fact that the meat stands alone. Same can be said for the décor: clean, bright and simple without one bit of suthern’ kitsch but instead, walls of bright white and blue, Scandinavian style communal tables, subway tile in white or black.
If any of y’all have been to Texas, then you know they take their barbecue seriously in them parts. You don’t mess with Texas, and if you proclaim to do “texas style bbq” then you better be damn serious about it.
Meat is definitely serious about their Q.
You can go small (sandwiches, or ½ lb servings of meat) , or you can go big (because everyone knows everything really is bigger in Texas) and order the meat platter which features a sampling of all the meats on offer: ribs, smoked chicken, fried chicken, Andouille sausage, pulled pork, and brisket.
I’m happy to report that the beef brisket was stellar—succulent, flavourful, and cooked to perfection. As for the other proteins: lip smackin’, finger lickin’, sweet smokin’ morsels of pig and poultry. Texas would be proud.
The sides are typical of what you’ll find in barbecue houses south of the 49th: coleslaw, creamed corn, Mac & Cheese, baked beans, sautéed Brussels sprouts, potato salad, and gigantic dill pickles. I can’t speak for the first two, but the last five were delectable, especially the beans which featured a respectable amount of Andouille yeehaw for kick.
Cocktails are bourbon based but you can switch that to vodka or gin if you so choose. Sodas are old-school-style Boylan and they also offer homemade lemonade. Beer is plentiful and the list features a good selection of Alberta brews as well as micro brews and the quintessential PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon).
If you can’t get enough of pickles, you can add a shot of pickle juice to your cocktail, making it a “pickleback”. It’s a thing these days, but something I hesitate to do to good bourbon. When in Rome, however: we went for the pickleback but the shot of juice arrived long after our whiskey was half-consummed and the brine really didn’t add anything of note to our bourbon experience. Call me a purist. The bar staff were a bit behind the ol’ eight-ball that night. The Meat Caesar could use a little tweaking – it too came sans accoutrement (without bacon) and didn’t look all that appetizing. But, thankfully the food saved the day.
Save room for dessert!
I’d love to hear how they make their pecan pie because it bested many of the ones I’ve eaten in diners and shacks on barbecue trails in the USA.
Two messy thumbs up go to Meat.
To hear more details on the food I tried at Meat, click on my CBC Edmonton AM review here.