Emily and I decided to start a new Valentine’s Day tradition and so we ventured to Muncie in search of the classic American comfort food: ribs. We had trouble finding the first restaurant and didn’t want to drive much further because the snow was severely limiting visibility. But with a slight lull in weather, we ventured south of Muncie to the quaint town of Daleville, IN, and to Bird’s Smokehouse BBQ.
When we entered, the atmosphere was exactly what one would expect. All the furniture was wooden and there was a large fire in the hearth. Glass windows by the ordering counter allowed us to see the smokers in the back.
Emily and I decided on the Valentine’s Day Special: a full rack of ribs with our choice of spicy or mild sauce, two dinner rolls, and four sides.
I decided on the mashed potatoes and southern cooked green beans and Emily on the baked beans and potato salad.
Less than five minutes after ordering, our food was brought to our table. At first glance, the ribs scared me, as food usually does in a new place. It appeared charred and I worried that it might be burnt and dry. However, the first bites delivered some of the best pork-rib meat that I have ever had in my life. The meat, while slightly dry, had obviously been infused with sauce throughout the entire cooking process. This resulted in a delightful layer of crust that had been cooked almost to a caramel. The meat itself fell clean off the bone and melted in my mouth. The dab of barbeque sauce was delicious. It is clearly homemade and together with the pork, is a symphony in your mouth.
After finishing my half of the rack in no time, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich to see if it compared to the quality of the ribs. Emily and I were split in opinion on this. While I found the taste equally delightful, Emily found the texture dry and disappointing. A look under the bun revealed that barbeque sauce had been applied almost as an afterthought. While delicious, I would have liked it better had the sauce been infused with the meat somehow, moistening it before serving.
The sides were all subpar. The potatoes had not been made with real butter. I could only manage a few bites. The Southern Green Beans, while admittedly not my favorite in general, lacked salt and were still soggy. Emily didn’t particularly like either of her sides, but she has high standards for baked beans and potato salad.
The meal ended on a high note, however, as we tried the peach cobbler. The flavors were delicious and complimented the meal well.
- Ribs: Samuel A Emily A
- Pulled Pork: Samuel B+ Emily B
- Sides: Samuel C– Emily C
- Dessert: Samuel B+ Emily B+
- Atmosphere: Samuel A– Emily B+