By Father Leo Patalinghug
When Mission Barbecue owners William Kraus and Steve Newton traveled the country in search of the best barbecue, they realized they had an even bigger mission: to bring it back to the Baltimore area and to share their blessings.
Operating partner, Herb Frederick says Mission Barbecue, which opened in September 2011, strives to serve fresh and flavorful barbecue with a “mom-service-philosophy” – as if serving one’s own mother, with the attention and kindness of Southern hospitality.
Mission’s energetic staff proudly proclaims a microwave- and freezer-free establishment – indicating only the freshest foods cooked naturally in two huge smokers that operate 24 hours – affectionately named “Annabelle and Beverly” in honor of both owners’ mothers.
They have very affordable prices with many ordering options and convenient parking. The relaxed, clean dining area is peppered with memorabilia commemorating local schools, police, fire departments and the military – and there’s even a foot-pedal operated hand washing station, providing a colorful and energetic atmosphere for family dining.
Outdoor seating next to a military-styled, traveling smoker called “BAM BAM”(Big And Mobile Barbecue Assault Machine) gives a sense of eating this “all-American food” with patriotic pride. Philosophically, the food is filling (with generous portions) and fulfilling, as a portion of their own proceeds go to charity. They donated over $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project last year!
Travis Murphy, “pit master,” gave me a taste of the newest recipe and technique for cooking the signature pulled pork – moist, with a smoky sweetness and saltiness that makes your lips smack, served with an attentively-toasted soft bun, topped with a fresh crunchy slaw. Succulent, fall-off-the-bone baby back rib meat, ordered individually, has a juicy finger-licking finish. The meat-on-meat menu offers familiar flavors of smoky season-crusted brisket, turkey, chicken and a unique jalapeno cheddar sausage. The restaurant recently added southern-fried chicken for dinner (only).
Unabashedly dry-rubbed inspired, Mission gives wet barbecue lovers the option of 6 tableside homemade sauces highlighting different barbecue-famed regions in America – including an original “Bay-B-Cue” for proud Marylanders.
Patrons rave about generous and fresh-made side dishes such as in-house smoked baked beans (savory and sweet), Mac and Cheese (a bit bland, but gooey), a cream corn (sweet and slightly too thick), and potato salad (creamy, flavorful and fresh), along with a corn-bread square (a bit dry, but complementary).
The busy lunch and dinner crowds, with names on order getting called out, can make it difficult for intimate conversations. While the waiting area uncomfortably congests, the kitchen staff’s efficient and friendly approach makes it a bearable speed bump before the meal. Avoid the wait: call ahead for carry out or come between 2-4 p.m. weekdays and weekend evenings.
If you’re seeking fresh, tasty, affordable family friendly food and a meaningful meal, consider this newest addition to the Baltimore area barbecue scene, “Mission” accomplished!
Copyright (c) Aug. 10, 2012 CatholicReview.org