McPherson’s BBQ Pub-Mediocrity Shines

IMG_1670McPherson who? I really didn’t have an idea who had been behind this pub, until I almost arrive at the joint. And then, suddenly all clicked. Ah… OK. I don’t understand why blogger would want to open his/her own place. However, that is not my concern anyway; it is not far away from where I live, so it can be big plus if the foods are any good.

Are they? First of all, all the side dishes are more than decent, at least. The best of the bunch was coal slaw. The cabbage is nicely salted, yet still deliver very pleasant crunch. The most glaring issues of slaw is the wateriness stemmed from mismanagement of cooking, either not taking out the moisture fully when salting or keep it too long after tossing with the dressing. It isn’t the case at all with this one. The moisture isn’t excessive, and nice vinegary punch isn’t really watered down as a result. It was one of the best slaws I have eaten.

The french fries are nicely fried, emulating something from McDonald’s in terms of overall dimension and doneness. They are more than decent fries, but I don’t see the sprinkle of their dry rub on top is necessary, with that assertive sweetness at the end. The fries could’ve been better fit for entire meal with being more neutral, without the rub.

And if you like kind of homey Mac & Cheese, the one they offer could be the fit, with mushy macaroni and slightly grainy sauce, with some kick(dried mustard?) at the end. It is not really cooked to my liking, but I understand and enjoy eating somewhat. The Ritz cracker put on top can be better if combined when cooking for the contrast of texture, but I understand it would lose all the crunchiness when cooking in batch and sit until served. If that is the case, how about pre-ground or crush the cracker finer so that the surface can be covered as much as possible when served?

IMG_1671I also ordered Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich with Brunswick Stew as the side to see how this paring would taste. It is good when eaten together. The tanginess of cheese complement the sweetness of the at the end of the stew. However, the crunchiness of the toast can’t really resonate when dipped as the stew as a bit thinner that what I would think as Brunswick ‘Stew’. It isn’t a bad choice with 5,900 KRW.

Now, the meats. you might be able to understand why I look at the sides first. Yes, they are not very good. Before getting into them: you need to understand the nature of the ‘Q’. While it is not the cooking method to keep the moisture of the ingredients and pursue well-done, the outcome shouldn’t be tough at all, with that low and slow nature of the cooking. It breaks down the muscle fiber very slowly, you shouldn’t have hard time chewing.

Well, it is not the case with their meats. Both pulled pork and chicken are drier than what I would think the best outcome of BBQ. That is the reason the sauce is accompanied, to compensate both the moisture and seasoning, but it doesn’t seem enough until you substantially douse the meat with them (they offer three, by the way. All of them are good with distinctive characteristic on each, and my favorite is the spiciest one).  It is OK with pulled pork(relatively), but the chicken isn’t. It is almost completely dried up, and without brining(I don’t detect any evidence that they did, on the contrary to the introduction they have in homepage), they are as tasteless as they are dry, especially the breast. Considering that, I don’t understand why they insist on frying the chicken as the final touch.

Sure, the process imparts subtle but nice sweet touch to the chicken with very crackly exterior, but it exposes chicken to more serious risk of overcooking. I always take the grain of salt when eating Korean chicken as it is almost impossible not to overcook it with the size and the maturity, but it is very close to inedible.

Speaking of inedibility, one more layer is added with the ‘smoke’-is it really the real one? Only the chicken, not pork, has very pronounced smoke, too pronounced to the level that you wouldn’t believe it is from real smoking with wood. I believe there should be some trace of sweetness in the middle but they are too harsh for me. If I venture to guess, I would say it is not.

Overall, I come to think of the context to evaluate the meal in McPherson’t BBQ Pub. If I were to travel in the middle of Deep South, such as regions like Alabama from where the pub claims it roots, and just stop by to quell the hunger caused by long drive, it could be satisfactory. However in the middle of the city where this joint should be a destination simply because it cooks BBQ which almost no one else cooks, it wouldn’t be a very attractive choice. To be honest, I would feel for the expats If they really have to choose this just to fill up the emotional portion of hunger.

That said, there is one scenario this pub can be valuable I can think of: if you live or work in the neighborhood and try to find just a decent place to drink some beer with just enough food, not to the level of satiation, as the side, it could be an option. By Korean terms, “2-cha”. No, it is not that their beer is great. In fact, I opt not to drink after tasting the beer of companion who arrived earlier; not 8,000 KRW material at first sight. I do not think it is the management issue of specific place, but of the landscape.

The OB at the tab still seems to have the potential with 3,000 KRW price tag, but please be noted that it isn’t really spacious to accommodate a lot of people; 30 tops? With that attentive staff(I commend them), it wasn’t unpleasant experience at all, but the food is mediocre in general, with the potential to be upgraded to just decent. All in all, it doesn’t challenge my preconception that the expats have not been contributing to Korean culinary landscape as much as the most would believe and give credits for.

P.S: bread?

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