A few months ago I caught some hell for going to Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery in Ann Arbor and ordering the Buffalo Mac & Cheese over some actual BBQ. I felt that I owed it to people to actually try the ‘que and report on it. Here you go, complainers.
Since January, I’ve been back to Blue Tractor twice and haven’t been disappointed either time. The food has been solid both times and the only real bitch I have had was that that sweet tea was a little sub par, which isn’t a big deal because the alternative is their delicious selection of beer that is brewed in house. I had a pint of their IPA and a pint of the Bock, which were both very drinkable.
They give you a little rack of three sauces, a vinegar based sauce, tomato based sauce, and a Texas style sauce. I’m a Carolina style vinegar sauce man myself, but the other two were definitely acceptable on my table. If you’re a BBQ joint you HAVE to leave me more than one flavor of sauce for my disposal. If not, your BBQ is dead to me.
If I had one more bitch it would be that they don’t have any kind of combination options. Most BBQ joints give you the options such as a half slab of ribs and pulled pork with your choice of two sides. Everything at Blue Tractor is set for you, with one ‘que option and restaurant designated sides. I was incredibly disapointed to learn that a side of Mac & Cheese is $5.00. This needs to be changed! I need options, damnit!
The last time I went I decided to go with the beef brisket. It just seemed right. Brisket is very close to my heart and I figured this would be the perfect way to find out if the place was legit or not. The brisket is braised in the vinegar sauce and served over buttermilk mashed potatoes. The meal also comes with seasonal vegetables. It’s sliced very thin so you can’t get much taste of whatever rub they use, but the tenderness of the meat is perfect. The beef literally melts in your mouth and requires very little chewing. The amount of fat on the beef was perfect, as well. All in all, solid work on the brisket. The buttermilk mashed potatoes, unfortunately, were average. If you’re going to make buttermilk mashed potatoes you’re obviously not attempting to make anything healthy, which means they should be rich and delicious. These fell a little flat. The seasonal vegetables were blah, but I’m not much of a “seasonal vegetables kind of guy”. Give me some baked beans or something. Come on now.
..and for those of you who are like me and get tears in their eyes at the sight of a good smoke ring…
Check them out. For Ann Arbor, it’s good BBQ that’s very affordable. You’ll probably pay a little less than half of what you would pay at Zingerman’s Road House.
I would like to note that they share a kitchen with Cafe Habana, a Cuban restaurant next door that is owned by the same people. That’s really funny to me.