Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BBTuesday - Andy Nelson's

One of the things I like best about Baltimore is Andy Nelson's Barbecue. The place has the authentic look, feel and taste of one of those old roadside joints I remember as a kid.

Located in north suburban Cockeysville, Andy's occupies two old, unassuming buildings. When you walk into the main shack, the wall to your right is lined with bottles of barbecue sauces and hot sauces. The rest of the walls in the place are decorated with homages to pigs, Elvis and the owner's career with the old Baltimore Colts of the '50s and '60s.

Andy was a defensive back for the great Johnny Unitas-led Colts teams, playing in Baltimore from 1957 to 1963. He was pretty good, too, making the Pro Bowl in 1960. He played a final season in 1964 for the New York Giants before returning to Baltimore to open up his restaurant.

The food and atmosphere are heavy on Alabama, where Andy grew up, and Memphis, where he went to college. The meats are slowly smoked over hickory fires, then simmered in a spicy sauce that was adapted from an old family recipe. I prefer the pulled pork, but there's also beef brisket, pit beef (this is Maryland, after all), pulled turkey and chicken breast sandwiches; Memphis-style ribs, whole or sectioned chickens; Dixie wings; and a hearty selection of sides, including slaw, bbq beans, potato salad and my favorite, greens.

There is a triumvirate of sauces available. My favorite (big surprise) is the tangy vinegar-based Pig Dip. The peppery Bama BBQ Sauce and spicy Carolina Mustard Sauce are also good. I usually wind up squeezing a lot of each on whatever's on my plate. The sauces, along with a house salad dressing and rub mix are available online.

Part of the fun of going to Andy's is that it's somewhat of a shrine to Elvis, whom Andy says he and his wife used to see around town during their Memphis days. There's lots of memorabilia on the walls of the various rambling rooms throughout the main shack.

I heartily recommend this place to anybody visiting Baltimore or even locals who've never been. The food is terrific and the dining experience is like walking through a portal to a place and time that seems so far, far away anymore.


Here's one Andy would approve of. Elvis Presley doing "Hound Dog."


1 comment:

Flannery said...

wow! look at those moves!