About 9 years ago I was reading an Mpls St. Paul magazine which listed the Twin Cities best BBQ joints. In it Cap’s Grille was ranked in the top 10 of the BBQ rib category. Without hesitation I began week after week going to these top 10 BBQ restaurants. I can’t remember them all off the top of my head, and I can’t exactly remember what I liked about each one. I only remember that I liked certain places and a few of the places were just “blah”. Cap’s Grille was one of the ones I remember liking. Here we are 9 years later, 9 years smarter, and about 500 bones more experienced in BBQ. This is the tale of Brandon’s return to Cap’s Grille.
I remember 9 years ago being so curious about their “famous” pork chop but sticking with BBQ ribs because our goal was to try all of the ribs on the aforementioned top 10 list. No longer on the mission to only try BBQ ribs, the option is wide open for me to order that long coveted pork chop. What do you think I decided to order? BBQ ribs of course. I went with a half rack of ribs which comes with two sides and toast. The ribs were St. Louis cut spare ribs that were slow smoked over apple wood and then finished on the grill. The texture of these ribs was about perfect. The way the grill firms them up to the point where you can take a bite and the entire rib doesn’t fall off the bone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…RIBS THAT FALL OF THE BONE ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY GOOD! Cap’s is one the places that understands this and makes their ribs correctly. The sauce was light and sweet and didn’t over power the meat at all. With that being said…the last 9 years of what I’m calling “BBQ training” has taught me a few things. The main topic I want to touch on with Cap’s is smoke flavor. The ribs had very little smoke flavor and absolutely no smoke ring. The smoke ring is not such a big deal. Personally I think ribs can have a great smoky flavor and not have any kind of smoke ring. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t hurt, but I just feel it’s not absolutely necessary. The way it stands, these ribs tasted like any old oven made ribs that are finished on grill. That’s not a terrible thing, but certainly not what I was expecting out of a “slow smoked” award winning rib. The sides I chose were homemade baked beans and coleslaw. The beans were a pretty standard. They were sweet and savory, and definitely hit the spot. The coleslaw was a nice change for me. It seems every restaurant lately has been serving this dry, leafy, bitter slaw that has no place on any menu ever. Cap’s serves a classic creamy and sweet slaw that goes perfectly with BBQ.
Overall, I wouldn’t call Cap’s a true BBQ joint. They do serve some BBQ items but ultimately they hang their hat on their ability to grill your food. I will be back (hopefully not 9 years from now), but will be straying away from their BBQ offerings. As we waited for our order, many burgers, pork chops, and sandwiches made their way past our table and they all looked good enough to warrant a future trip to Cap’s Grille.
I never heard of Cap’s Grille before, but recently I was spending a lot of time in the area and had driven by it regularly. So when I asked my fellow Food Bro if he knew anything about it he proceeded to tell me he had had it years ago and remembering liking it. Well that’s enough for me to give it a try.
With Brandon ordering the ribs I decided to look elsewhere and ended up trying the Chop and Chicken Combo with steak fries and beans. Why a pork chop at a barbeque place? Well it apparently has been listed as “Best Pork Chop in the Twin Cities” before and if you state that on your menu of course I am going to be intrigued. So I am expecting a perfectly cooked and well-seasoned juicy pork chop. I didn’t get that; it came sauced and didn’t seem to have much seasoning other than that, the very middle was the only part that was tender as the edges were overdone and dry. Not best pork chop in the Twin Cities quality at all. The chicken is smoked then finished on the grill with a bit of sauce. It was well cooked and had a hint of smoke flavor, so it was good but nothing special here. I liked the beans, they are like what you hope that can on the shelf at the grocery store is going to taste like but just disappoint every time but you keep buying them anyway hoping one day you will find that one magical can that actually lives up to your expectations…. or is that just me? The steak fries weren’t anything special or out of the ordinary, they served their purpose to taste Cap’s tasty sauce and thats about it.
Looking around while we waited for our food it seemed everyone else was eating large sandwiches of pulled pork or burgers. Guess I made a mistake ordering the pork chop. The pulled pork sandwiches looked so good I may go back just to try them, but I will stay away from the chop.
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