Who out there loves road trips and all the snacks that fuel yourself along the way? Typically I’m driving down to Florida or up to VA and NYC to visit relatives and I’ve got a bag full of junk food next to me and Bojangles on the brain. I like to think that car calories don’t count but who’s fooling who? So on my recent trip to VA I decided to bypass Bojangles and hit up Alamo BBQ which had been written up in the Daily Meal as having some of the best ribs in the country. A quick Google map shows it’s right off the highway so I am locked and loaded for some smoked meats.
My tummy is rumbling well before I hit Richmond and thankfully it’s a short detour off of I-95. Maybe five minutes and a mile, you end up in a low-brow neighborhood and I spy Alamo BBQ on a corner with tent in front. Totally unassuming place, Alamo has a cream-washed stucco front and a design that suggests the historical compound down in Texas. There’s no inside seating, just a walk-up order window and some tables out front. And on this very cold winter morning, there is no line to speak of, woohoo! Simple menu up front with chicken, barbeque, brisket and ribs along with a bunch of interesting sides.
I order up a two-meat plate and Cuban sandwich which is a LOT of food but remember, car calories don’t count! The meal comes out to $18+ and they hand me over a buzzer even though there’s only 2 people here at Alamo. I’m guessing they get super-busy at times. I grab some self-serve plastic cutlery and lots of napkins in anticipation of a saucy meal. And it only takes about 10+ minutes for my food to come out. A heavy bag with a styrofoam tray and a white, butcher paper-wrapped sammie along with a couple of containers of sauce. Looks like it’s time for lunch in the vehicle cause it’s way too cold outside today.
In the container I’ve got four ribs slathered in sauce, two pieces of thick brisket, a mound of jalapeno mac n cheese along with containers of cowboy beans and collards. I dig into the ribs first, they’re tender and well-smoked, slathered with a tangy sauce. I think there’s some mustard in there but it’s not overpowering, yum! The brisket is not quite as good, a bit chewy and could have used more time in the smoker but a solid effort. The jalapeno mac n cheesy, creamy and tender with a slight kick at the end, excellent. Enjoyed the cowboy beans which are simmered in a flavorful tomato-based sauce and filled with bits of brisket ends for good measure. The small cup of collards are tasty but simple. And I didn’t even get any barbeque sauce on me, FTW!
Of course I can’t resist going overboard and unwrap my Cuban sandwich. It’s a large circular sandwich, yellow bread griddled for a bit and stuffed with soft roast pork, pickles and mustard. A bit too much mustard and pickles for my taste, I like what they’re trying to do here but would go with less of both to keep the tanginess from going too far. And the que here is just ok, but living in NC I think I can be picky when it comes to pork.
Service at the window is excellent and prices here are really reasonable. $12 or so for the meat plate and $6 or so for a hefty sandwich means you can definitely eat here on the cheap. And while the lack of seating is a nuisance, the que here at Alamo BBQ easily over-rides that inconvenience. Deal with the elements, deal with the picnic tables and lines because it’s worth it. While Alamo BBQ may not be the best ribs I’ve ever had, they are quite good and worth the detour off of I-95 to downtown Richmond. Or better yet, you live in the hood and Alamo BBQ is a regular spot for you to get your smoked meat fix, yum…
2202 Jefferson Avenue
Richmond, VA 23223