Bib's Downtown (Winston-Salem, NC)

Since starting this blog, I've made a list of local BBQ establishments to visit and reveiw. After hearing so much positive feedback from the patrons of Twin City Ribfest, Bib's Downtown instantly went to the top of the list. The hometown establishment took home the People's Choice award, beating out several other outstanding BBQ teams.

Bib's is located in the downtown area of Winston-Salem, just a long foul ball (a couple blocks) away from the newly opened BB&T Ballpark. The building was formerly a Firestone Auto Care and still maintains the same structure and character of the vintage tire dealership. Bib's has a spacious dining area with both table and booth seating. The entire menu is scrawled on a giant chalkboard situated behind the ordering counter.

Before I get to the actual food, I have to mention the exceptional service we received. The entire staff working Saturday evening (July 10th) was friendly, prompt, and attentive. Being newbies to Bib's, we had plenty of questions about the menu. The counter attendant was very patient and helpful. The servers brought the food quickly and repeatedly checked in to refill our drinks and make sure that we were satisfied. I was thoroughly impressed with the overall service experience. Were I in the business of rating customer service, I would give the staff at Bib's a well earned 5 stars.

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd had BBQ so I was counting on Bib's for a much needed fix. I decided on the Rib Triple to get a sampling of the what Bib's had to offer. I chose beef brisket and 1/4 chicken to accompany my ribs. The plates at Bib's come with hush puppies, red or white slaw, texas toast, and one additional side.

Bib's scored big points with me as soon as the food was delivered. The portions were incredibly generous, especially considering the modest prices. My three meat tray looked like a BBQ feast should. The masses of meat were matched by hefty portions of beans and slaw.

It's hard to classify the BBQ style of Bib's. Though, not a traditional Carolina joint, there are certainly Carolina influences. The red and white slaw offered at Bib's are Carolina staples. Their original sauce, though thin and vinegar based, is much sweeter than you'll find in most joints in Piedmont region of the state. They also offer a spicy and mustard sauce options that I did not try.

All the meats were freshly basted with sauce before being served. The brisket was incredibly flavorful. The fat had nearly melted off completely. The meat featured a nice dark crust and the hickory smoke created a deep, red smoke ring. The hickory flavor was also quite evident in the chicken. The vinegar sauce was perfect compliment to the light meat. The ribs were thick, meaty spare ribs with rich hickory aroma and flavor. All of the meat was mouth watering and the sauce really accented it well.

The one gripe I had about the BBQ at Bib's was that it was actually a bit too tender. The ribs and chicken nearly fell apart when picked up. I'm guessing this is the result of sitting for hours in a warming oven before being served. This is really the only thing keeping me from giving the meat very high marks. I would love to have tried the meat right off the smoker. I have a feeling it would have been perfect.

Bib's Downtown definitely satisfied my BBQ craving. I can always get down with a place that serves up large helpings of real deal BBQ with a smile. I look forward to many return visits. There are dozens more menu items to sample and intriguing weekly specials. Recent specials include BBQ meatloaf, lamb chops, and BBQ eggrolls.

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