I finally made it to a barbecue joint I have known about, and have even driven by, on a number of occasions over the past few years. I got to give Bam Bam’s BBQ on State Street in Orem (it seems to me that it ought to be in Provo since it’s so far south – but that’s ok). Bam Bam’s claim is that they produce authentic Central Texas barbecue. And as one who has eaten at more Central Texas BBQ joints than I can count, I can absolutely confirm that claim. Bam Bam’s BBQ is the real deal. The only real difference is that they don’t truck in post oak from central Texas to Utah. Instead, they use locally sourced white oak, which according to my tastebuds, is working really well. Everything else is spot on — from the picnic tables to the pink butcher paper, etc. We had a group with us, so there were a good number of things I got to try. I of course had to try their moist brisket and their pork ribs. We also had some of their massive Swatchos and a couple pulled pork sandwiches. And for sides we had to go with two Texas traditions – the coleslaw and potato salad.
- Brisket – The fatty brisket had a great smoky flavor, with a very tasty bark. The fat was well trimmed and very nicely rendered – not too much and not too little. Some may look at the pictures and see that there isn’t much of a smoke ring. However, the truth is that a smoke ring is not necessarily a great indicator of smokiness. There’s a whole long explanation for how the smoke ring forms that I won’t bore anyone with today. The brisket was excellent.
- Pork ribs – The St Louis style pork ribs were very nicely done. The rub was excellent – not overpowering the flavor of the meat. It was moist and juicy, and well smoked, but not overcooked. It took just the right of a tug with my teeth to get the meat away from the bone. Great ribs!
- Pulled pork sandwich – I got to try my wife’s pulled pork sandwich and it was excellent as well. I especially loved that we watched them pull it right in front of us. That’s how fresh the pulled pork was. Excellent flavor and a solid bun to hold it.
- Brisket swatchos – The chopped brisket “swatchos” (they looked a lot like nachos to me 🙂 – but I love the name) were very good. The quantity of food that you get is tremendous. And the chopped brisket was not just scraps and cuttings. It was straight-up solid brisket.
- Sides – Both the potato salad and the coleslaw were good, and the portions were HUGE! The potato salad had a good mix of mayo and mustard and a great flavor and mouth feel. The coleslaw was mayo-based and had good flavor as well.
- Barbecue sauce – They offer both a regular and a spicy barbecue sauce. Both are tasty on their own and are a good complements to their outstanding smoked meats.
I was bummed that I missed the opportunity to visit with Cameron Treu, the owner and pitmaster. It was the last day before a multi-day shutdown, so he had already headed out. I would have loved to learn more about where and how we learned my favorite style of barbecue in the world, talked more about his methods, rubs, etc. But maybe next time. I was glad to get a quick tour of the pitroom. They’ve got two Ole Hickory gas-assist rotisserie cabinet pits that they keep very busy. The feel is very reminiscent of many pitrooms I’ve had the opportunity to visit back in Texas. I’ll definitely be back to visit Bam Bam’s BBQ again. They really do deliver on the promise of central Texas-style barbecue. It really tastes and feels like you could be in eating some great ‘cue in Giddings or Luling or Lockhart or any small central Texas town.