This past Saturday afternoon, in order to get limbered up for the hilarious Jim Gaffigan concert at the Paramount, a half-dozen friends and I enjoyed a tour and tasting at the Sky River Meadery in Sultan. For those of you unfamiliar with Viking liquor literature, mead is a medieval elixir enjoyed by pioneers, sages, and monarchs in the days of yore. It is akin to wine, only instead of grapes, mead manufacturers use honey, touted by many a greenie as the most ethical of foods.
After the mead sampling, we dispatched to Bubba's Roadhouse, a fine, shopworn Highway 2 establishment whose only downside was a surprisingly spendy digital jukebox where many songs were a buck a play. Here, we wolfed down pitchers of Kona porter and noshed on Bubba's "Mountain Man Sampler," a carnivorous orgy of ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken. When queried by a native Floridian and BBQ enthusiast as to the source of Bubba's cookin', the chef replied that the meats were alder-smoked.
We had no reason not to believe him until we happened across Mountain Man BBQ a couple blocks away on Main Street. After we informed this hole-in-the-wall's proprietor that Bubba's claimed to alder-smoke its meat, he called bullshit and hustled back to his kitchen to show us what real alder-smoked brisket tasted like. It was heavenly, as was his pulled pork and cornbread. Hence, we'll give Mountain Man BBQ the nod for food quality, while giving Bubba's a major nod for atmosphere and versatility. Any way you slice it, Sultan residents are awash in a sea of smoky flavor -- and mead. I wonder how much a two-bedroom house costs over that way?