There are certain aspects of the Phoenix area that are tough to get used to. Not in the sense that they are bad in any way, just that they are different. You see, I spent much of my life thinking that good food is a pretty rare find in a strip mall or as a standalone building in the parking lot of a strip mall. But, when a city is basically all strip malls, the good food simply has to be there. Thus, while my expectations of BBQ spots are generally a bit less pristine than a strip mall, I couldn’t pass up the chance to check out Naked BBQ in Scottsdale.
Of course, Naked BBQ had the added bonus of being the second location, so I assumed they already had a fair idea of how to smoke some meats. When we arrived, the guy behind the counter told us they were running a Beef Rib special, that it was the best thing they had and that it was like eating a dinosaur bone. I figured he meant something along the lines of sauropod as opposed to the velociraptor (basically the dino equivalent of a faster turkey). This also came with two sides and I got the mac and cheese and convinced them to let me get banana pudding as my second side because it was the same cost.
To start with, the rib (yes, it was literally just one rib) was nothing short of incredible. It was also on the sauropod side of of the dinosaur spectrum. The meat had just enough smokiness to it to bring out the savory flavor and just enough fat to blow away my taste buds in a logarithmic fashion. The meat was easily pulled apart with a fork and could have easily been sliced with a butter knife. I was also recommended the horseradish sauce to dip and it went perfect if used in moderation. The hot BBQ sauce and the regular BBQ sauce also got the job done in terms of adding a bit of taste, but there was so much flavor in the meat that there really wasn’t a need.
The mac and cheese was also a really solid addition to the meal. It was plenty creamy and cheesy, but took a definitive backseat to the main course. The banana pudding was actually a bit disappointing. I am by no means a banana pudding aficionado and am perfectly happy with Jell-O Pudding, but this actually tasted like Jell-O Pudding and I could have just made that at home.
Dessert aside, this was one delicious meal. And, perhaps more importantly, it helped me in my continuing quest to set aside restaurant prejudice and be a real Phoenician.