Thursday, February 08, 2007

SouthernQue, Meriden CT

Just off East Main Street in Meriden, Connecticut, there’s a little slice of the south.

Don Washington has a trailer in the front yard of his home at 70 Pomeroy Street in Meriden, and operates his BBQ business called SouthernQue from there. I read about the place two years ago, and have been stopping by whenever I am in the area since. It is located very close to Interstate-91 and Route 15, ez-off, ez-on as they like to say.

The BBQ served by SouthernQue is a lot more of what you would expect from a trailer along a state road between Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, not a side road in Yankee-land. But if you’re looking for something different from most of the other northern retail BBQ offerings, you should make this one of your stops.

After years working for jet engine maker Pratt and Whitney, Don Washington fulfilled a dream and opened his BBQ trailer in his driveway. His home is zoned commercially, which allows him to run the business there. However, he was shut down for a few months last year when the city deemed that he needed a zoning variance. He got it, and is now going strong.

Don Washington

Washington has a serious Q setup. He has a Southern Yankee trailer, equipped with a full commercial kitchen and a major league smoker. The rig can cook more than 75 racks of ribs, around 500 pounds of shoulder or two whole hogs at once. It’s a rotisserie smoker, fueled completely with hickory logs.
The Trailer

The first few times I visited, I only got ribs. The ribs are definitely the star of the show at SouthernQue. They are nicely spiced, and have an extremely strong smoky flavor, as they are smoked for more than six hours. They only do spares, which are cooked untrimmed then cut down after cooking. The sauce can be served on the ribs or on the side. It’s an excellent tangy tomato vinegar sauce. I got mine on the side this time so I could really taste the meat.

My visit this past Saturday, I got a half rack of ribs, and a half pound each of pulled pork and brisket. The brisket is a relatively new menu addition.

Every time I have visited SouthernQue, the ribs have been consistently good. This time was no exception. The smoky meat and sweet tang of the sauce are a perfect compliment. These are true southern ribs. They normally come with sauce, I asked for it on the side.

The Ribs

The pulled pork is another place where Washington excels. The meat has a great smoky taste, and the sauce again is a fine compliment. I’ve had the pulled pork sandwiches here in the past, and they’re outstanding.

Pulled Pork

I tried the brisket for the first time. It was good, but some of the pieces were a little tough. I know this is the hardest of the meats to get right. There were only a few tough pieces, the rest was pretty tender and had a nice flavor.


SouthernQue also has sides, including potato salad, coleslaw and collard greens. They’re only open Thursday through Saturday, with the occasional Sunday, from 11AM to 7PM. It’s mostly take out, but there are a couple of picnic tables if you want to eat on site.

Overall, I really enjoy visiting the trailer in Meriden. Now that I have moved to the eastern part of Connecticut, I don’t have as many opportunities to visit. But every time I do stop by, I see that the lines are getting longer, the number of regulars are on the rise, and the business is starting to take off. It’s always great to see someone succeed in the business of BBQ. I tried to talk Don into competing on the circuit sometime. He would do well.

If you’re on the road, make an effort to stop by and try some of this unique BBQ. You will not find anything quite like it in the Northeast.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I attended a retirement party in Wallingford, CT today that was catered by Don of SouthernQue. Ted is right on, this is some of the best BBQ you're gonna find this side of the MD line. And for a catered affair the amount of food was unbelievable. I live in NH now but whenever I get down to the Meriden/Wallingford area a stop at Dons on Pomeroy Ave will definately be on the agenda.