Babuji Barbeque

The website for a barbeque contest in Maryland promised “live bands, a beer garden, vendors, a kids’ area, food, and lots and lots of BBQ.” Judging was scheduled for noon with winners to be announced at 3:00 p.m.

My family and I arrived at 1:30 p.m. and found no bands, no beer garden, no vendors, no kids’ area, no food and certainly no barbeque. We spoke to some of the competitors who had turned in their entries at noon and were now extinguishing their fires and packing away their things while they waited for the awards. They knew nothing about the missing events.

At that point, we were all hungry for barbeque. I used the Urbanspoon app to search for a restaurant. There was a famous chain nearby but when I scrolled down a little more, I spotted a small joint called Big Daddy’s Smokehouse. We hopped in the car and headed straight there.

The restaurant is unusual. It is connected to the Indian Market & U-Haul dealer next door. The kitchen and smoker are at the back of the Indian Market. To get to the restroom, I had to walk through the market, past the Bollywood DVDs and Indian spices. One of the refrigerated cases contain meat labeled “baby goat leg.”

The restaurant food was good. We ordered a half-slab of ribs and on the recommendation of the clerk, also ordered “hawg wings,” which are pork shanks. Our third entree was pulled chicken in mustard sauce. For side items, we had BBQ chicken salad, “zesty coleslaw,” potato salad and Texas beans. The clerk brought us a sample of Big Daddy’s special sauce. She said it takes nine hours to cook. I really liked the sauce, which had little chunks of citrus rind for added flavor.

I was happy that my family’s natural reaction was to try the unusual place rather than the safe bet of the national chain restaurant. The experience was definitely more memorable.

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