Fox Brothers - The sometimes terrific, but highly inconsistent ITP BBQ spot. I have to say I've had some pretty incredible meals at Fox Bros but I've also had some of the most disappointing. Their inconsistencies are really the only thing they have going against them and my last two visits were certainly on the better end of great. My only other gripe, aside from the consistency (and that's a huge one), is that the new menu is nearly impossible to read. They tried to make it all "Old-West," but it's entirely too jumbled. It took me 5 minutes to find the baby-back combo that I planned on ordering.
The unique and highly enticing factor, and why I still rate Fox Brothers as highly as I do, is that they really do serve different and unique Q. It's not cookie cutter in preparation or taste. Their seasonings and smokey flavorings are significantly different than any other barbeque places in the area (perhaps the state?). Seasonings are more intense - a heavier reliance on spice and sometimes sweetness - you can definitely taste a lot of brown sugar on the ribs. Most BBQ places are trying to mimic each other, but Fox Bros really cooks to the beat of its own smoker, and that gets 4 stars from me.
They have a lot of wacky appetizers that usually incorporate fried goodness (tots, taquito wrappers, egg roll wrappers) with savory smoked meat. However, I usually skip these because they just aren't any better than their entrees with a fried side. Also, the fried goodness usually takes away from, or overcooks the meat.
Beef Short Rib - Only served on Thursdays and Saturdays, this brontosaurus rib will knock you out. Literally. The ginormous bone is enough for two and the amount of fat rendered from it is obnoxiously flavorful. Add to that a beautifully rubbed crust and you will consistently find barbeque perfection in this special. Seriously look at that picture above and tell me you don't get turned on.
The Ribs - Probably the most inconsistent item I've had. Sometimes they're tender and sometimes they're dry and crispy. The rub application is always different. I've had it go from Cajun-black to light brown colored. I went last night and the ribs fell in the center of the spectrum - firm but tender (a plus in my book - fall of the bone isn't good if it's mush) with a heavy, but not overbearing application of the rub.
Pulled Pork - This is their most consistent and possibly best meat. They do it right every time and I enjoy a sandwich here more than anywhere else. It's always served with a fair amount of lean meat, fatty meat, and bark.
Brisket - I recommend it sliced. They always seem to serve a fattier cut than elsewhere. Had this last night and there was no real smoky definition. It was still good but nothing compared to Community Q.
Wings - When they are on, they're the best in the bidness. They carry a heavy smoked flavor that you can't get anywhere else and the spicier sauce they're tossed in is perfect. I'd say 3 out of 5 times they've been awesome with one of the other not-so-good times being inedible.
Chicken - I've only tried it once, and that was a while ago, but it was some of the better smoked bird I've had. From memory, it was very juicy without being soggy.
Fries-Good+ rating from me. I usually skip them for more unique sides, but they've always been good.
Onion rings - Very good, but again, kind of an easy one to avoid.
Mac and Cheese - Different than other places. Less creamy and more reliant on ricotta-like consistency. Also it's not macaroni at all, but rather shells. A pretty good take on a classic BBQ side and I usually end up getting it, but I'd take Carver's or the Colonnade's rendition over it any day.
Brunswick stew - One of the best. Consistency and flavors are always perfect. Nice ingredients. Not overly meaty like some takes on it.
Brisket Chili - Another really good and unique side. It's unlike other chili you've had and most likely, better. I don't care for the raw onions however.
Tater tots - Run-of-the-mill.
Fox-a-roni - A side special mixing their mac and cheese and brunswick stew. A very wise choice - it's like getting two sides in one. Amazingly, the two sides stay separate in the one dish for the most part and are easy to distinguish from one another.
So, along with Community Q, this is your best ITP BBQ spot. If you go to Community Q stick with the beef (short rib and brisket) and if you choose Fox, pork or chicken (ribs, pulled pork, and wings). Inconsistency has kept me away, but I can't help myself from going back and hoping it's not one of their off nights.