I told you I would end up going back to Hot Rods BBQ in Wharton. One of my band of demons wanted to try a BBQ place they hadn’t been to yet. Hot Rods won the draw.

Dinner Rush

They were packed when I arrived. It was Saturday around 5:45pm. The hostess told me it would be about 30 minutes for a table for three. I was fine with waiting, after all I just drove 45 minutes to get there. Most places over estimate their wait times anyway. If they say 30 it will be closer to 20. Hot Rods on the other hand was a little under estimated. Instead of 30 it was closer to 40.

I’m not complaining about the wait mind you, just making an observation. Hot Rods seems to target accuracy in their wait times, which means if a table drags their feet leaving after paying, it will push their wait times out. They do seem to take reservations, so if you know you are going during a peak time, call ahead if you are the impatient type. Otherwise, relax a little. They have a bar, go sit there and chill. If you are upset waiting a few more minutes than you were told, you probably need a drink.


This time Hot Rods had a whole Irish special menu in honor of upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t order from it. I said last time that I would order from the regular BBQ menu when I went back and I stayed true to my word. My meal this time around was a two meat combo consisting of pulled pork and brisket. Of course I also ordered the bacon wrapped burnt ends and birch beer again, because good is good.

The bacon wrapped burnt ends were delicious again, although the bacon could have been a little more crispy. I’ll blame this on the fact that they were packed and those tasty bacony bites of meat are very popular. They were probably pulling them out of the oven as fast as they were going in and couldn’t spare the 5 more minutes. The bacon burnt ends were still really good and I dipped in their included sauce, which I’m guessing is some kind of horseradish mix.

Reward or not to reward

I also had an order of corn bread as an appetizer. It wasn’t so much something that I ordered, but rather something I was given. The waitress asked if I was a rewards member. I am not. She asked if I wanted to join. It was free, it gets me a $10 coupon on my next visit, and a free order of corn bread on every visit, this one included. Free is for me. Free with bonuses, even better. So I got my free basket of corn bread for joining their rewards program.

Trying to join their rewards program is more accurate. The waitress said she would be back with my rewards packet or whatever to get me going. Somewhere between that statement, and me zipping down Rt 80 to get home before I peed myself (mental note: always use the bathroom on the way out), I realized the rewards packet never arrived. Oh well, I got the free corn bread at least.

Meat with Meat

My two meat plate was delicious. The brisket was not overly moist, but still really good. I’m actually not a huge fan of super moist brisket. It tastes and feels too much like pot roast. If I’m having smoked meats, I expect it to be a little more dry. Sure we don’t want the meat to require dipping in a glass of water to make it palatable, but something in-between is just right in my book. Hot Rods was in that in-between zone.

The pulled pork was served without being drowned in BBQ sauce. This is the right way in my opinion. Some places smother it forcing you to accept not only their taste in sauce, but also their taste in how much sauce. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all any chef is more or less forcing you to eat things the way they think it should be. That’s the nature of cooking for others and most of the pleasure in eating out. I just personally prefer when places give you pulled pork without sauce and let you add the sauce to your own taste. Again, Hot Rods got it right in my book.


The BBQ sauce on the table was an interesting sweet and sour and spicy mix. There seemed to be a distinct cinnamon flavor to it. Normally I’m not fond of cinnamon in my tomato based sauces. It’s why I don’t really dig Cincinnati style chili. However, for some reason, it just worked with Hot Rods BBQ sauce. Not only did I not mind it, I actually enjoyed it very much. I think it was that sweet and sour tanginess that made it work. I sprayed a few squirts over my pulled pork, just enough to give it the flavor, not enough to drown it. and mixed it in.

Since I like their corn bread so much I ordered that as the side for my meat platter. I know it was gastronomically redundant with the corn bread appetizer, but I wasn’t in a beans mood and had potatoes twice already earlier in the day and didn’t want to make it three.

Serendipity or sexism?

The platter also comes with coleslaw. I actually meant to tell the waitress I wasn’t going to eat the coleslaw so she can skip it rather than waste it. I forgot to say anything to her. My plate arrived sans coleslaw. Either I for once had something missing in my order be serendipitous, or the waitress can read my mind. I’m really hoping the former instead of the latter. I was checking her out, and several of her coworkers, something fierce. If she read those thoughts I probably ingested a lot of “sexist pig” targeted spit.

Dessert is not meant to be

Seasonal Dessert options this time were rum cake and something along the lines of candy cake. Hot Rods seems to be proud of their alcohol so I suspected the rum cake was more on the rum side of that name. The candy cake was described as chocolate cake and candy bar bits. So basically my options were alcohol or chocolate with chocolate. I’m not fond of either so I accepted the fullness of my belly and passed on dessert. That’s strike two for me on getting the seasonal dessert. Maybe next time it will be something I want. Because lets be honest, we all know I’ll be back for a third visit.


Hot Rods 2 meats
Hot Rods BBQ two meat platter. Brisket and pulled pork with corn bread.

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