This week was an easy call. Partly because, between traveling and eating planet snacks to save money from traveling, I didn’t eat out much this week. But also because Animales serves some of the best barbecue I’ve ever had. I don’t know how much that says — I did not, nor have not travelled to Texas, or Kansas City, or Carolina, etc etc. But I know the food served in the Twin Cities and this ‘cue smokes most of it (jkjk, it is good, but I mainly wanted to make that pun).
We ordered the Meat Pounder (a pound each of the spare ribs, chopped pork shoulder, and “hot guts”), the taco platter, the chili, the slaw and the mac salad. I’m claiming the poundtown as my dish of the week, only because I can cheat that way and talk about all three meats. But don’t sleep on the tacos — they hand-make their own corn tortillas; this modest nom truck isn’t just blowing smoke. (Had to, again.) The rib meat melted off the bone and tasted fantastic. You’ll never believe this, but this smoked meat tasted like… meat. smoked. slowly. lovingly. The chopped pork was a revelation. So tender, but also so crispy with a caramelized crust that managed to find its way into almost every bite. Finally, the hot guts, which we were told simply, “It’s sausage.” I’ve had a lot of sausage that was too chewy, or too mealy, or otherwise just too finicky. But this sucker avoided all those traps. It was tender, flavorful, and colorful (odd description for a sausage, but (stop, drop, and) roll with it). Plus, while the barbecue and mustard sauces that came with the meat seemed at first like an afterthought, I was amazed at how much better the barbecue sauce worked with the snausage, while the mustard sauce worked with the pork. It’s almost like this professional chef knows what he’s doing! Incredible.
If you go: Animales is out back of Able Seedhouse + Brewery. They open at 4pm Thu/Fri, 2pm Sat/Sun and serve until sold out. You can’t go wrong with the meats. The mac salad is decent, but the slaw is forgettable. And don’t forget to grab a delicious Able beer to wash it down!