My wife and I were out in Pasadena a few weeks ago when we noticed a new addition to the Fair Oaks Avenue landscape. A large bright red barn with the words â€œBarn Burner Texas Barbequeâ€ sat there in front of us. I was actually trying to get over to Zekeâ€™s in La CaÃ±ada but when the wife asked me if I wanted to give it a try, I couldnâ€™t say no.
As we turned into the parking lot we noticed all of the antiques and vintage paraphernalia spread over the landscape. There was also some old-school-drive-in-hang-on-your-window styled speakers fastened to some poles in the parking lot. Iâ€™m not sure if they are actually functional. They have outdoor seating as well as indoor. The antique/vintage look from the exterior is carried into the interior.
The restaurant interior is pretty spacious, similar to a large dance hall. There is plenty of seating especially for large parties. We sat down and ordered our drinks, iced tea and lemonade, and were given a basket of peanuts. The drinks were served in a very large mason jar, perfect for washing down the huge amount of peanuts that we were consuming. The floor is littered with spent peanut shells so we figured that was the thing to do. So there we were shucking peanuts and sipping our drinks while we planned our order strategy (usually consists of getting the largest sampling of the restaurantâ€™s BBQ without ordering the entire menu).
They tried to create a simple menu but it was still a little overwhelming. The combinations are sold in half-pound-of-meat increments with a choice of two sides and a roll (or two rolls, depending on the combo). The combos start at half a pound ($9.25) and go up to two pounds ($27.95). Simple enough unless your order includes tri-tip, in which case you would have a surcharge of $3.00 per half pound of tri-tip. Or, if you add baby back ribs the surcharge would be $4.00 per half pound. As you can see things can add up pretty quick when you read the fine print. There are also a couple of chicken combos that are sold by the quarter and not the pound. They also have a surcharge of a buck-fifty for all white meat.
We ordered the â€œGet it Straight Georgeâ€($19.95) which was the one-and-a-half-pound combo. This would give us a sampling of three meats and two sides, which is plenty of food for two people. For our meats we ordered the baby back ribs (+ $4.00), tri-tip (+ $3.00) and the brisket (whew! No surcharge, but now with the running total of $26.95). For the sides, we did the beans and the coleslaw.
Our order came and we werenâ€™t impressed with the presentation, the meat was thrown into these paper-lined plastic trays. Our waitress had gotten our meats confused and called the brisket, tri-tip and the tri-tip, brisket. The meat also came with pre-applied BBQ sauce, which I had asked her not to do. It wasnâ€™t that much sauce, but I didnâ€™t care too much for it. Overall the meats all had good smoke flavor from the mesquite wood but it seemed as thought they didnâ€™t season the meat on the outside at all.
The tri-tip was not as good as I would have expected. It was dry and a little tough. The BBQ sauce didnâ€™t even help it out. The baby back ribs were overcooked and disappointing as well. The brisket was the big surprise; it was tender and full of beef flavorâ€¦ and no surcharge. I just wish that they had seasoned it better. The coleslaw was pretty tasty along with the beans. The sides ended up being the real hit at the table.
After all of that BBQ that we didnâ€™t finish, we ordered dessert for a change of paceâ€¦ peach cobbler of course. That might have been the biggest disappointment of the afternoon. It looked really good on the outside. But, once inside we discovered far too much pectin and not nearly enough peaches. Barn Burner Barbecue just opened for business this summer and is still an infant as far as BBQ restaurants are concerned. They still have plenty of time to work some of these kinks out. Hopefully they will do it sooner than later.
Barn Burner’s smoker.
Old school drive-in movie speakers.
Basket of peanuts. They started sweeping up the shell and kicking up dust while we were eating.
Baby back ribs.
Barn Burner Texas Barbeque
1000 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 403- RIBS