Richmond’s Alamo BBQ

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RICHMOND, Va. — It even pleases herbivores.

My date to Alamo BBQ last Sunday is a vegetarian. She has eaten meat recently, but it was by accident and possibly non-consensual. One time she was just lied to. The menu said “Veggie Dog.” It probably wasn’t. Another time there was drinking involved, and no one told her there would be ham. But in general, she is committed to vegetarianism — not counting fish and sea-dwelling insects like lobsters, crabs and shrimp.

Despite specializing in meats, Alamo BBQ — a roadside stand in Church Hill resembling the Texas landmark Ozzy Osbourne once peed on — has a vegetarian option: the BBQ Portobello, spelled “Portabello” on Alamo’s website menu. It is a smoked-mushroom sandwich and is, according to the vegetarian, quite good. I tried a small piece but am unfit to judge. Mostly, I think mushrooms, like black beans, taste of dirt, even smoked.

I had pulled pork (there is brisket and chicken, too). It continues to be the best barbecue I’ve eaten in Richmond — better than Buz and Ned’s and better than Q, now vaguely famous because the owner does reality television.

Alamo BBQ smells of smoke and hipster, the former more prominent. There is only outdoor seating under an awning. The staff can be spacey, there are flies, and sometimes the umbrellas blow over — it’s ambiance.

And the barbecue is that good.

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There is ample bark and the pull is haphazard. There is a light, complementary saucing, with more sauce — there are barbecue and taco versions — arranged in a wooden caddy below the pickup window. The standout side dish is the jalapeno macaroni and cheese, although the yams and cornbread are adequate.

I endorsed Alamo BBQ in a previous post. I still endorse it, and now, so does the vegetarian.


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