RoRoSundaeSmall.jpg

Photo by Susan Newbold

What: BBQ sundae

Where: Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ, 3620 Stone Way Ave. N., 954-1100

When: Last week, 6 p.m.

Cost: $7.95

Would

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I Ate This: A "BBQ Sundae"

Triumphs of Southern cuisine: the Luther Vandross burger, dead-cat jambalaya, and locally, BBQ Sundae.

RoRoSundaeSmall.jpg

Photo by Susan Newbold

What: BBQ sundae

Where: Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ, 3620 Stone Way Ave. N., 954-1100

When: Last week, 6 p.m.

Cost: $7.95

Would I eat it again? Probably not.

Southern delicacies don't often make it to our neck of the country. That's not a bad thing. I spent about five years in Louisiana and find it a relief not to be tempted by "Heavenly Hamburger," a Mississippi beef/processed-cheese/sour-cream/pasta-shell casserole that fulfills its namesake promise to kick your ass to the hereafter. Ditto for Georgia's Luther Vandross doughnut burger and my New Orleans college roommate's specialty, jambalaya served in pot previously used to boil a dead cat. (He had a penchant for taxidermy. Like a true Southern chef, he would hear no protests.)

Seeing "BBQ Sundae" on the menu of Wallingford's Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ brought back those familiar stomach twinges, something along the line of what you feel watching that woman on Fear Factor tear into a plate of water-buffalo penis. (Best post-game interview ever, by the way.) The tiny, order-at-the-counter Cowgirl is said to have decent BBQ standards such as pulled-pork and hot-link sandwiches, but an itching curiosity got the better of me. What gruesomeness lurked behind that innocent, ice cream-shop moniker? Brisket with hot caramel? A rib in a split banana?

A damn letdown, that's what. The "sundae" turned out to be a clear plastic cup crammed with stuff that was mostly taste-compatible, if you don't mind the components of your dinner all swirled up a la fourth-grade cafeteria cuisine. There's a layer of satiny pulled pork at the bottom of the container, then above it a dollop of sweet baked beans, then your salad portion of coleslaw and sliced pickles. It comes with a cold but moist muffin alloyed with corn kernels.

The BBQ Sundae ain't much to look at. (Certainly nothing like this masterpiece of form.) But it does the job, giving you just enough smokiness and crunch to approximate a good pulled-pork sandwich and its requisite sides. My issue with the dish—other than its homeliness, which is never a cause for point-subtracting in BBQ, anyway—is the tendency for the bean sauce to infect everything with its molasses tang, obliterating the taste of the pork. Oh, and the slaw gets warm and limp if you let it sit for a while, which you probably will because this load of food all but requires an addition to be built onto your stomach.

Insider tips: The hot sauce bar, with what looks to be hundreds of brands, is just silly. The spicy brownie is silly and also painful to eat: Seriously, cops could throw these pepper-drenched desserts at WTO protestors and save the price of Mace. The barely cooked greens are silly. I understand that this is health-obsessed Seattle and that long cooking removes nutrients, but greens need to be boiled to hell to avoid the mouthfeel of parchment paper. On the other hand, the succotash with roasted corn, edamame, and citrus marinade tastes the way healthy cooking should: fresh and flavorful. Order a bucket of it.

 
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