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Meat-Cute: A Barbeque Love Story

Industry Beer and BBQ

449 Bayfront Pl, Naples, FL

When it comes to food competition in the US, unlike pizza and bagels, where the discourse can get more heated than a brick oven (food analogy!), there seems to be no more good natured rivalry than regional barbeque. Though there are four main regions of barbeque, it feels feels like every area of the country has their own take, their style, heck, even their own cuts of meat; I bet 25% of you aren't sure what a tri-tip is, yet it's the most popular (and in my opinion, most fun and delicious cuts of meat) barbeque item in California (What? Don't you bring that Socialist meat over here, commie, you probably get the government to pay for that cow!)

Forgive the food lesson, but education (and Google) is power. The four main regional barbeque styles are:

  • Kansas City: Lots of brown sugar based dry rubs and sauces, different types of meat but burnt ends are the signature cut.

  • Memphis: Ribs, ribs and more ribs. Wet or dry, ribs ribs ribs ribs ribs, and pulled pork sandwiches

  • Carolina: whole hog prepping, using "Mop Sauce" which is a vinegar based sauce or spray on the meat while cooking. Can be broken down into other Carolina regions, but way too lazy to go that deep. Vinegar-based sauce but some regions put in some mustard. Best side is a vinegar based slaw with red cabbage. So yeah, this is the acidic region in your bracket.

  • Texas: Ribs, sausage (my favorite) and brisket, brisket, brisket..and not that weird stringy thing my momma used to call Pot Roast.

My own personal experience with barbeque is mostly concentrated in and around the Austin and Memphis regions. Each year at some point during the South by Southwest Music Festival, we'd end up piling into a car and heading out to random towns like Taylor, Lockhart or Driftwood to try some true local meaty deliciousness. Or, one year, me and some buddies drove around in a tour of the south trying to find the best small local barbeque. This lasted about two days before we switched to seafood. The meat sweats are real and they are aggressive.

Armed with this background, after a day of pooling it with our respective kiddos, Builder Mon, the littles and I headed off to Industry Beer and Barbeque.

Industry is owned by the same people who own lowbrow pizza and the Dave Portnoy-enjoyed Industry Slice Shop. Theirs is a style of restaurant that has a hip, modern comfort food vibe; the kind of place that Guy Fieri would be talking dry rub with a thirty-something tattooed pitmaster with an ironic beard and some experience in a major city. I know people are divided about Guy but go look up some of the things he's done for a bunch of various causes and he gets a pass in my book, even if flavortown is populated by bleached blonde goatees.

The food menu is pretty simple. You can either order for two, four, six etc, that comes with an allotted number of sides, or you can go a la cart. The beer list is also impressive.

Two sided broken up by flavor from lighter to heavier. They don't rely much on IPAs which is very nice for someone like me who would rather drink than chew their brew. They also have almost all of them by the tap. Behind the bar there is one of the longest tap set ups I've ever seen. Fun fact: IPAs are the easiest beer to brew. Also fun fact: They aren't very good most of the time.

I've been to Industry a few times before and had one of the best beers I've ever had, the 407 Pilss by Bowigens. They were out of it this time, but if you like crisp, flavorful and refreshing, go find it. Better yet, go find it and send me some. I'll wait here. Moving on, a suitable replacement blonde ale was my choice, with Builder Mon opting for the sweeter coffee porter. The kids had lemonade because we are only slightly irresponsible parents.

For our eats, we opted for the BBQ for four, which is four 1/2 pound meets, plus six sides.

We ordered the carnitas nachos to start, plus brisket, hot links, spare ribs and smoked turkey along with two orders of cornhole, pineapple slaw, beans (on the menu referred to as the Musical Fruit..2 bonus points for a fart joke on the menu), pimento spread, a green salad (don't judge) and of course, the mac and cheese. It also comes with Texas toast and assorted pickled things.

The nachos are great, a little sweet, a little spice with a nice texture to the pork. Those quickly disappeared. For the mains, Industry provides you with four different sauces to compliment the smoked deliciousness.

A standard KC style sweet sauce, a hot horseradish sauce, a nice mustard based spread and..a fourth that I actually don't remember. You guys think I write this stuff down? The sauces are decent. No issue there, but I just wish one of them had some more tang on the front end; more of that Carolina kick that I prefer. Alas, with the toast and the brisket, I'm assuming they are more inspired by the Texas side of things. Not a bad thing, just I love me my vinegar bases.

The good news is that even if you aren't feeling their sauces, the flavors stand on their own unaccompanied. The spare ribs have a fantastic sweet smokiness to them, the meat is soft but not overcooked and stringy and are clearly slow-smoked for a long time, as all good rib joints should; boiling and then cooking just ain't the same thing. I tend to like my ribs with a bit of crunch and chew, vs. the fall off the bone style.

The brisket is spot on too; not too much fat which means they care about their cuts. This one needed a bit more sauce, but really tender, sweetly smoky.

My favorite, the hot links are spot on. Spicy enough to have a kick but mild enough to give you that push of porky flavor, and of course, that perfect sausage snap when you bite into it. The only of the four meats I didn't love was the turkey. It was good, but it didn't have the savory smoke feel that I want from a smoked turkey; definitely the most mild of the meats (as Smooth As Mild Turkey?)

As far as the sides go, the cornhole, which is essentially a cornbread cornbread. Always delicious. The mac and cheese was terrific as evidenced by Builder Mon's son Lil Movado initially stating his dislike for mac and cheese and then burying himself neck deep in it upon initial tasting. Beans, pimento cheese, all solid. I have no comment on the green salad at this time. But as much as we love the sides, barbeque isn't a steakhouse, so the sides don't come nearly as close to the leading role as the meat.

Overall, forget the white tablecloth and bring wetnaps and a wheelbarrow; one to clean your hands and the other to help get your gluttonous tush to the car once the meat coma kicks in. This is the type of no-pretense, high quality joint that everywhere needs, but especially in Naples. Next time you whip out that twenty-year old bottle of vino after drinking your martini, make sure you come here a few days later. Balance is a good thing and no better way to get that than through deliciousness.

This was not a Bud Light.It was a delicious pilsener in an ironic glass.

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