With all the starchy food I commonly devour on a road trip, I’ve been leaning towards a more slimming, low-carb diet when I can. So it’s a most pleasant surprise in the culinary wasteland of Red Deer, Alberta to discover a place that’s a) doing authentic barbecue and b) offering the option of going strictly carnivore.
To be sure, Red Boar Smokery features sandwiches and pig-out platters, both coming with at least two sides of such things as corn bread, baked beans, apple-ginger slaw and sriracha salad. But they also have a portion of their menu board devoted strictly to meat. These are quarter-pound orders of Piedmontese beef brisket, pulled pork, red boar sausage and candied pork belly, all for about $5 or less.
I go with the unadorned brisket, which is just a couple of naked slices of meat. But it allows me to concentrate, without embellished distraction, on a truly fine brisket with a lovely, charred smoke ring and a nice, fatty border. Good stuff.
The accompanying tomato sauce is flavourful and not cloyingly sweet like most barbecue offerings. Better yet, it’s served in a little side dish, so I can add it as I choose rather than have it slathered on before it leaves the kitchen.
Red Boar has only been open since last April, and there’s no doubt some barbecue educating to do here, even though it’s in the heart of Alberta’s beef country.
It’s just a few doors down from one of my only go-to places in Red Deer, City Roast Coffee, which pulls a fine Americano and offers bountiful salads and other hearty, healthy fare. In between, the Coconut Room features more upscale cappos, soups, salads and stews amidst a couple of art galleries in a renovated, historic building on downtown’s Ross Street.
Hopefully, this is all the start of some interesting, affordable dining in this Alberta cow town of 100,000 folks.
Red Boar Smokery
104, 4916 50 Street, Red Deer, Alberta
Monday to Thursday 8 am-midnight, Friday-Saturday 11 am-midnight, Sunday 11 am-3 pm