Baby Back Ribs with Grilled Seasonal Veggies at Q Fanatic
photo by TJ Turner
Each month, in our restaurant rumble conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers review two restaurants and pick a winner.
Jason: Every time someone tells me they can’t find good BBQ in Minnesota, I ask, “Have you been to Q Fanatic?” And now you no longer have to head up 169
to Champlin, because Q Fanatic has a second location on the Minneapolis/Richfield border. Proprietor Charlie Johnson is a classically trained chef who brings the same precision of technique to the art of smoke and spice.
Joy: The secret to great barbecue is in its simplicity, and that is a part of what is so hard to replicate. The masters study for years at the altar of the flame to get it just right. Before even crossing Q’s doorway, the aroma promises some good eats.
Jason: Oh, that smell. This is what a barbeque joint should be like: It’s rustic inside, with handmade mason jar light fixtures, and service at the counter. I thought the sink between the window and the soda machine was a little odd, but with just one bathroom and BBQ sauce everywhere, it probably gets a fair amount of use.
Joy: Even though they’re messy, those baby back ribs are just the right combination of tender and chewy for my taste.
Jason: The rub on those ribs is the best I’ve ever had. I’m also still dreaming about the bacon slab. It has great char, and just the right balance of fat and meat. Like all the proteins, you can get it on a sandwich, a platter, or a rice or salad bowl.
Beef Brisket with Baked Beans and a Roll
Photo by TJ Turner
Joy: And I finally found the brisket I’ve been looking for: juicy and tender, with deceptively simple seasoning.
Jason: Also, the beans! The sauce is good, the beans are nice, but the star of this side is a liberal dose of burnt ends. For $3, it’s a meal by itself.
Joy: Those crusty, darkly sweet meat bits are oh so good.
Jason: The mac and cheese side is awesome too. The only thing I can complain about was that on one visit, I got a cold sleeve of French fries. Too bad, because they’re thin-cut wedges with great flavor.
Joy: It might not be perfect, but it’s some tasty ’que. Try it and you’ll finally get what the fanatics have been raving about.
Q Fanatic owner Charlie Johnson
Photo by TJ Turner
Q Fanatic Quick Tips
Busiest Times: The weekday lunch hour and the 5:30 p.m. takeout rush
Best Buy: The deluxe 2 lb. sampler: three meats, a pound of ribs, and three sides for $34
Sauce: Get the hot Pepper Vodka BBQ sauce, and the vinegar-based mustard sauce
August’s restaurant rumble pitted Q Fanatic’s classic ‘cue against Hoban BBQ‘s Korean variation. Find out which restaurant Jason and Joy chose as the winner in the August issue of MnMo.
6009 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-208-1809, qfanatic.com