Let me start by saying my name is Brandon, I am 30 years old, and I know what the hell I’m talking about. I’ve eaten BBQ all around the Twin Cities area. The Food Bros have made a trip to Kansas City MO, to taste BBQ from some of the best and most famous BBQ joints in the country. The Bros own a smoker and have been known to make some authentic BBQ from time to time. So consider us qualified to provide an accurate review of BBQ served in the Twin Cities area.
We ordered the Deluxe Sampler which supposedly feeds 3…But you know how that goes. Brad and I had no issues killing this meal with dare I say…ease…(Food Bro Fist Bump and Wham! Belly Bump!). The deluxe sampler comes with 1lb of Spare Ribs, 1/3lb each of Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Pulled Chicken. It also comes with 3 sides…This is when I need to repeat my mantra “My name is Brandon, I’m 30 years old and I know what I’m talking about.” I had told Brad previously that I have no interest in sides but Brad wanted the sampler so we went with it… and I suppose it’s good considering we do review these places and people are always interested in sides (When will they learn?). Sides never are any good and this was no exception. Seriously go back right now and look at the picture…I’ll wait…Look! See that coleslaw! That’s no good, you can tell by looking that they are bland and who the hell has a good coleslaw and goes “that’s too creamy, can you cut the cabbage larger and make it dry?”. The potato salad claims to have egg in it but there sure wasn’t any in ours. The beans had large chunks of pork in it but that’s where it stops. They were bland, almost like refried beans with pork chunks. Bottom line…avoid the sides. Seriously nobody is going to judge you for having an extra serving of meat and no sides. You’ll be much happier in life with this decision, I promise.
The meat was where Q Fanatic shines. Our Spare ribs were served dry and had a fairly strong smoke flavor. The meat was that perfect mix of tender yet kept it’s form when eating. Don’t buy into that whole notion that because it falls off of the bone it must be good. Good BBQ Ribs keep their form! They served our sauces on the side. The honey BBQ sauce was the best of the bunch. The chipotle BBQ was decent but I’ve had better. The espresso BBQ sauce was a bit of a novelty to me, sort of like bacon Ice cream, It’s fun to try but you know damn well that next time you order an ice cream cone you’re not going to complain that Cold Stone Creamery doesn’t carry bacon flavor. The pulled pork was fantastic. It had a very strong Hickory flavor to it. The pulled chicken was just as good only slightly dry only do to the fact that chicken doesn’t have as much fat to keep moist so a little sauce was needed. My favorite by far was the beef brisket. The smoke flavor was strong and the meat was tender. I didn’t notice much of a smoke ring, but I know the brisket is warmed up in its own juices before it’s served which gives the brisket a more of a dark brown look. Either way…Yum!
Overall, Champlin has a legit BBQ joint on their hands and if you’re in the area it’s a must have. The meat is very flavorful and provides some of the best smoke flavor in all of the Twin Cities. Skip the sides, order a couple more bones of ribs and you’ll be set.
Disclaimer: After we leave a restaurant we do our reviews independent of each other and do not read the others until they are going to be posted. So there may be some repeated themes/ideas in our reviews.
Good barbecue is something we always in search of and seldom found in Minnesota, much less so in the burbs. I saw Q Fanatic on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a while ago and wanted to go ever since but never had a chance as it’s at least a 45min drive from home. After an hour long drive in traffic we are greeted with the amazing smell of their 2 smokers that are just outside the building and I am already salivating.
Since we wanted to try a few of their meats we ordered the Deluxe Sampler; 1lb of spare ribs, 1/3lb each of brisket, pulled chicken and pulled pork, three sides, four rolls and two sauces. All their sauces are house made and if you dine in they have their Honey BBQ sauce on the tables, so we tried the espresso and chipotle as well. The chipotle was ok and did have a little chipotle heat and flavor, but the honey and the espresso were great, the espresso works surprisingly well with smoked meat, both of these should be bottled and sold in every grocery store in the state. The ribs came dry and had a nice amount of a tasty rub on the top but almost nothing on the bottom, now this didn’t really effect much as there isn’t much meat to speak of on the bottom. They were cooked very well, tender but meaty at the same time the way ribs should be cooked and I love when they are finished on a grill like these were, these may be some of the best ribs in Minnesota. The brisket is smoked allowed to cool then warmed up in some meat drippings, making it kind of wet which isn’t something you usually find at a BBQ joint. I have yet to find a brisket that I have really liked in Minnesota; I guess the search will continue. Both the pulled pork and chicken were really moist and had a lot of smoke flavor, both of these I would definitely order again and highly recommend them.
We chose baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad for our sides. I continue to be disappointed with sides that BBQ restaurants continue to churn out, the beans were the only tolerable one we ordered and that only because it had a lot of big chunks of meat in it other than that they were doctored up store bought can beans. While the potato salad was creamy; the potatoes were left in really big chunks and I didn’t find one piece of egg. The cabbage used in the coleslaw was also not cut up very well and it made it hard to eat and the dressing had a weird tang to it from whatever vinegar they use. The rolls were soft and garlicky so I guess they win for best side we tried. Brandon has been saying it for a while now and I may finally be on board with his skip the sides policy.
Q Fanatic has some of the best ribs, pulled chicken and pork in Minnesota and could hold its own with some of the BBQ we have had in Kansas City or anywhere else.