What: BBQ Sundae
Where: Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ, 3620 Stone Way N., 954-1100, www.rowdycowgirl.com. FREMONT
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, and pasta shell casserole that fulfills its namesake promise to kick your ass to the hereafter.
Seeing “BBQ Sundae” on the menu of Wallingford’s Rowdy Cowgirl BBQ brought back those familiar stomach twinges, something along the lines of what you feel watching someone on Fear Factor tear into a plate of water-buffalo penis. The tiny, order-at-the-counter Cowgirl is said to have decent barbecue 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 à 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. But it does the job, giving you just enough smokiness and crunch to approximate a good pulled-pork sandwich plus its requisite sides. My issue with the dish—other than its homeliness, which is never a cause for point-subtracting in barbecue, 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 this pepper-drenched dessert 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 tastes the way healthy cooking should: fresh and flavorful. Order a bucket of it.