I should have done more research. Looking through Urbanspoon, Full Moon Bar-B Que seemed like a good choice for lunch. There were positive comments, Gayot had given it a quality score, and it was conveniently on MacFarland Blvd. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it’s been a while since I’ve tried any new bbq in Tuscaloosa, but during my last drive to Atlanta, it seemed like the perfect time to try out Full Moon Bar-B-Que.
Looking at the relatively new outward appearance of Full Moon Bar-B-Que, I should have guessed this wasn’t the original location. Still, I was already in the parking lot and there was the subtle smell of smoke lingering in the air. Stepping inside there’s the full complement of Bama memorabilia as well as a decent sized menu. Covering everything from chicken to ribs to brisket, there seemed to be bbq to suit everyone’s tastes.
Since I was hoping to get a good taste of what Full Moon had to offer, I thought the best place to start would be with the Classic Rib Plate. With four ribs and a choice of two sides, it was an auspicious beginning to a meal.
I love how this can be considered a meat and two vegetables; of course macaroni and cheese is a vegetable!
While there is a decent smoke ring to these ribs, I was surprised at how much of a charcoal grilled flavor and texture came through.
It was almost as if these ribs had been lightly smoked, set aside, and then reheated on a grill. Whatever the process was, it left the ribs on the tough and dry side of things.
As for the sauce, it was an odd, runny mix of sweet, vinegar, and black pepper.
Combined with the pork ribs, it covered the pork flavor and left you tasting tomato, sugar, and charcoal.
The first of the two sides was an order of baked beans.
There wasn’t anything special about these beans as they tasted like beans and sugar. With no pork pieces or flavor, there wasn’t any real character to these baked beans, just a mushy texture.
For the second side, the Macaroni and Cheese was much in the same vein as the Baked Beans, simple.
Actually with a little salt and pepper, this macaroni went from one dimensional to quite satisfying. It was still a simple side dish, but cheesy enough to justify its existence.
I would be remiss to judge the virtues of a bbq restaurant by just one offering, which is why I also ordered a sandwich or two. First was the pork bar-be-que sandwich topped with Full Moon’s famous chow-chow.
It’s certainly a well packed sandwich, full of meat and not much else.
Each piece of pork was dry, chalky and devoid of any smoke or pork flavor. Sure, it’s a hefty sandwich, but who cares when the meat reminds of cleaning a chalkboard eraser; you just end up with a mouthful of chalk dust.
Served up with a little sauce, the pork became halfway decent, but it brought out a strong ketchup flavor in the bbq sauce. As for the chow-chow, outside of lending some texture to the pulled pork, it didn’t play any real role.
With both the pulled pork and ribs behind me, that left the brisket, turkey, and chicken to try. Despite being nearly 1000 miles away from Texas, I went against my better judgment and ordered a brisket sandwich to round things out. What can I say? I’ve never liked bbq chicken and/or turkey.
On its own, the brisket is just as dry at the pulled pork and a little on the stringy side. At least there was a decent beef flavor to the meat.
There wasn’t any visual evidence or taste of smoke. This seemed like roast brisket topped with some sauce.
When eaten with the bbq sauce, the whole sandwich took on a vinegar laden ketchup taste, a lot like cafeteria roast beef. Once again the chow-chow was lost in a sea of meat. There was a little textural contrast, but nothing substantial.
It’s a sad state of affairs when you walk away from a bbq restaurant having only enjoyed the macaroni and cheese, but that was the case with Full Moon Bar-B-Que. Yes, I may have ordered a large amount of food, but I didn’t finish any of it, save the macaroni and cheese. I didn’t see any reason to stuff myself with bad bbq and that’s what the Tuscaloosa location of Full Moon offers, poor bbq. Like I said before, I should have done more research beforehand. At least then I would have known this was not the original location. The original Full Moon Bar-B-Que is in Southside Birmingham, and I’ll have to see just how different it is, but that’s for another trip. In the meantime, I’ll stay away from the Tuscaloosa Full Moon Bar-B-Que location.
Full Moon Bar-B-Que Address & Information
2331 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 // 205.366.3555