Adam's Rib Co. not lacking in sauce

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 11:31 p.m.


Adam's Rib Co.

2111 NW 13th St

  • HOURS: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m. to noon and 3-8 p.m. Sunday

Back in the very old days, even before George Bush was a governor, there was a best-selling book, a book that's still in print today.
The book has a story about a guy named Adam, and, the story goes, Adam lived in an incredibly lush, plush garden. I think it was called the Garden of Eatin' because there was lots of good stuff to eat.
One day, Adam was hanging out in the Garden, having a nap, when God came along and took one of his ribs. Some folks figured it was to make barbecue, but the book says it was to make a woman.
Soon afterward, a beautiful woman named Eve showed up in the garden, and, sure enough, that's when the trouble started. There's something about a snake and a forbidden apple, and pretty soon, Adam and Eve get in trouble with God and are banished from the garden.
What the story doesn't make exactly clear, at least to me, is what happened to Adam's rib.
I can tell you this: It did not show up at Adam's Rib Co. on NW 13th Street.
They only serve pork ribs.
Well, I shouldn't say "only" because Adam's Rib Co. has plenty of stuff besides ribs.
I have a good friend who thinks those pork ribs must have come from heaven, or at least from the Garden of Eatin'.
I have to agree that they're tender, tasty and succulent. But heaven sent? I don't think so.
There must be just about as many styles of barbecue as there are barbecue chefs, and what Adam's Rib Co. serves might do it for you, but it doesn't do it for me.
I tried the ribs, the chopped pork, the shredded beef brisket and the chicken, too. They're all good, but they're not great.
I knew from the first bite what was missing. It's smoke.
The barbecue here just doesn't taste smoky, but Adam's almost makes up for it with some lip-smacking sauce.
There's a mild sauce that's sweet with flavors of tomatoes and hints of molasses and cider vinegar. And then there's the "X" sauce. It's got the sweet, the tomatoes, the molasses and the cider vinegar going for it along with a kick - a serious kick - the kind that can only come from habanero peppers. Yum. Two mustard-based sauces are not as enticing.
The warm side dishes - green beans, baked beans, collard greens and, to a lesser extent, macaroni and cheese, are outstanding. The cold side dishes, potato salad and coleslaw, are not. Skip them and go with the hot stuff. All the dinners include two side dishes, or get sides a la carte for $1.69, small, and $3.29, large.
The atmosphere is a far cry from that fancy garden that Adam and Eve lived in. We're talking early Formica. If the place seems eerily reminiscent of a donut shop, there's a reason. It was one and you can definitely tell. But servers are cheerful and friendly. Still, a lot of folks carry out rather than eat in. Prices are excellent. Most dinners run $6.25 to $10. A half-slab dinner is $13 and a full-slab dinner is $20. It will take at least two people to finish it, too. Pork and beef sandwiches are $4. There also are burgers, dogs and eggs, omelets and sandwiches for breakfast.
So far, no sightings of Eve have been reported.
David Carlson has been writing about food and wine for more than 15 years. Email him at

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