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Healthy dining at a barbecue joint? It’s possible

A kitchen sink salad with a side of pulled pork at Community Q

A kitchen sink salad with a side of pulled pork at Community Q

I have one rule in regards to healthy dining. When I’m grabbing a meal in a restaurant out of convenience, then I make myself choose the best, lowest-carb or healthy-carb option available. Even if it’s a good restaurant with delicious carb-freak food.

The other day I took a break from working at a coffee shop and wandered over to Community Q BBQ in Decatur for lunch. Sure, I could have had a pork sandwich with a side of the insanely cheesy macaroni. But since this was a meal of convenience, I ended up with this salad made with all kinds of fresh, local vegetables. Lady peas, green beans, tomatoes, pattypan squash, potatoes, cukes and lettuce made for a bodacious bowlful of greenery. Truth be told, it was a bit hard to eat — what with all those huge, honking lettuce leaves and tiny bits of bean and pea — and it needed a stronger vinaigrette to tie together all the disparate pieces. But I ended up adding the pork to the bowl with a few shots of the hot vinegar sauce, and I chopped it all up.

Not bad, and I didn’t feel like a stuffed piggy walking out of there.

Does anyone else play by this rule?

25 comments Add your comment

Sue

July 27th, 2010
12:35 pm

That looks like a lot of ruffage in one sitting? But yes, I do make it a standard practice to order the healthiest item on the menu, but then pick at my family’s goodies!

Monica Ricci

July 27th, 2010
12:47 pm

Man that looks delicious! I will often order healthy, but sometimes not! Just depends where I am and what I’m in the mood for. I eat really healthy at home, so I don’t mind splurging on a house specialty when I’m out.

Reds

July 27th, 2010
12:48 pm

If it’s for convenience, yes. If it’s “Free Day” (once a week) nope. :)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajcdinecritic and Tex Blair, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Healthy dining at a barbecue joint? It’s possible http://bit.ly/9bfWhh [...]

Drew

July 27th, 2010
1:37 pm

John, Have you had their Beef Rib (yes, 1 rib)?

Just wondering your thoughts on it?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by annie kara, Jan Hayes. Jan Hayes said: Healthy dining at a barbecue joint? It's possible: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)… then I make myself choos… http://bit.ly/aa9b6F [...]

Baltisraul

July 27th, 2010
1:53 pm

Stevie B…you ain’t from around here, are you boy? Your Mama should have washed your mouth out with soap years ago before it became malignant.

Jim

July 27th, 2010
2:01 pm

Everything in moderation will get you very far. That, and a good statin!

Deanna

July 27th, 2010
2:11 pm

What that on top of the salad in the middle. Beets? :P

Deanna

July 27th, 2010
2:12 pm

That was supposed to be an “icky face” emoticon, not a smiley.

mike d

July 27th, 2010
2:19 pm

GA BBQ should come with a shot of Ipacac so you not only can forget it but get rid of it. All good BBQ comes from NC or KS.

Bippy

July 27th, 2010
2:34 pm

That salad look yummy. I love salads, just don’t eat as many as I should.

Off topic (sorta)..Finally had a chance to eat at Buckners over the weekend.. I’ve seen their name in a few food topics, so was glad to be able to try it..We really enjoyed it.. The kids (8 yr.olds) thought it was great and wanted to know if they could go back the next day..

TC

July 27th, 2010
2:37 pm

You mean KC not KS, right?

Kar

July 27th, 2010
2:43 pm

I’m surprised that they even has salad. Most barbecue places I’ve seen have scarcely any veggies and even the celery for the buffalo wings look/taste ancient.

cas

July 27th, 2010
2:57 pm

It’s all a matter of taste, Mike D. I had lunch today at Dave Poe’s in Marietta. My favorite, and they have a banner up proclaiming that ZAGAT’s rated them #1, so maybe somebody agrees with me.

John Kessler

July 27th, 2010
3:48 pm

Beets, yes. :)
It was a lot of roughage. I’d recommend next time sharing for two and sneaking in a little homemade vinaigrette.
Have never had the beef rib, but I hear it’s really good. It’s hard for me not to order pork in a barbecue restaurant.

Atlanta Native

July 27th, 2010
3:50 pm

I try my best to order healthy. Only eat the fries if they are fabulous. Otherwise it’s just more slop in the trough. The funny thing to me is that, to get a healthy meal with a reasonable portion size for lunch, you generally have to spend over $7.50. If you spend much less, you’re get too much food, and likely its unhealthy to boot. (Yes, I know there are exceptions)

Bippy

July 27th, 2010
4:13 pm

@TC..Maybe he means Kansas (KS)..Saw on Food Network a couple of weekends ago a BBQ place that is ranked on of the best..

regularfoodie

July 27th, 2010
4:25 pm

I agree that it is hard not to order pork at a BBQ place but the beef rob at Community Q is excellent. It is one rib…but one really huge rib! Like a yummy smoked shortrib with a Flintstones sized bone in it. Also, their smoked sausage is excellent.

Community Q does a great job of using fresh ingredients and local produce.

regularfoodie

July 27th, 2010
4:25 pm

Beef rib. sorry about that

Fred

July 27th, 2010
5:35 pm

I walked past the Community Q one time. It was closed but I looked at the menu. It seemed kind of high. My barber mentioned it this saturday when I got my hair cut. Of course he’s just an 70 year old redneck from Alabama so he don’t know nuffin about BBQ or mac and cheese. He couldn’t believe the mac and cheese. Said it was this twisty weird sort of noodle and was only about 20% cheese. Not creamy at all like mac and cheese is supposed to be he described it to me. He didn’t care for it too much.

I keep hearing about their wonderful mac and Cheese, but I trust Neil. Did he just get a bad bunch or is it really how he described it to me? I had really been wanting to try it until he told me that……….

Fox Brothers has that “big rib” too. Is it not called a SHORT rib? I emphasize the word short, because one is definately enough to feed a family on almost lol.

Reds

July 28th, 2010
8:38 am

Fred… the mac and cheese is a gooey heap of sinfull goodness. I highly recommend it. It’s not stouffers though, that’s for sure. I’ve made it at home from the recipe the ajc printed. It’s cheese, heavy cream and noodles. There might be osme butter in there too if i recall correctly. It is good though.

We can have this discussion 100 times, and we’ll always get the “so and so’s bbq is the best” but really, there isn’t much bbq that isn’t good in my opinion. Some just have varying levels of goodness.

Fred

July 28th, 2010
2:10 pm

Thanks Reds, I guess I’ll have to try it. He must have caught an off day. Everyone else describes just like you did.

Sydney

July 28th, 2010
4:33 pm

I’ve tried their mac & cheese. It was rigatoni-ish pasta mixed with cheddar cheese and I assume butter and cream. Plenty yummy! Just not the classic southern runny-saucy-elbow-macaroni coating kind of creamy. Slightly different variety of mac n’ cheese goodness.

Perfect to eat with vegetables or a salad to balance healthy/unhealthy.

John Kessler

August 1st, 2010
9:40 am

Think there’s a fair amount of parmesan in the mac and cheese, as well.