(Her) If you are looking for a really nice article on the genesis of Parker John’s and it’s owners other ventures, you can read one from Sheboygan Press. If you are looking for a chubby girl’s honest opinion with a little less hyperbole and a whole lot of sarcasm….you came to the right place! First of all, congratulations you found yourself in Kiel, Wisconsin. Did you miss your turn on the way home from Milwaukee? You were trying to get to Chilton and went a little too far? You thought this was the way to the Little Farmer? It’s okay. You’ll be fine. I’ve heard that Kiel has one of the best organized St. Vincent DePaul stores ever and it’s got this Parker John’s place going for it.
Upon entry, PJ’s will remind you a little bit of Texas Roadhouse and Famous Daves all rolled into one. The fast and friendly servers will seat you at a picnic table complete with red checked table cloth and buckets of peanuts to munch on, and then proceed to fill you up with as much diet Pepsi as you can muster. This was one of those rare occasions where once I looked at the menu there were several things that I wanted to try. (always a good sign right?). There is a little something for everyone including full racks of ribs and other meat plates, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, burgers stacked with meats, appetizers, and desserts (meatless). Obviously, their specialty is BBQ so without a whole lot of hesitation I ordered sliders so I could try a trio of turkey, pork, and brisket. We also ordered deep fried pickles because like I said above…”chubby.”
The pickles were good. They had a good homemade/deli taste to them and the batter was of a cornmeal texture with a bit of heat in it caused by it’s seasonings. Cayenne? Black pepper? who knows. The sliders were served on a telera/ bolillo style roll that was a perfect compliment for holding various meats and acoutrements. I ordered haystack onions to go with my meal and I’m pretty sure I got an entire onion’s worth. I actually wish that I would have gotten the fries as soon as I saw them at the couple’s table next to me. The rolls were probably the best thing on the plate. None of the meats tasted smoked and I wouldn’t have said any of them were well seasoned. The brisket still held much of it’s fat, which is supposed to melt into the meat when cooked if done right. Or you can just cut it off. As soon as I saw all that fat, I knew my hubby would secretly (and then publicly on a blog) freak.
The issue for me may be that a LOT of people do barbeque especially if you’ve travelled south at all, and I’ve had a LOT of good BBQ. So forgive me if I am wrong and being overly harsh, but if your THING is BBQ, then your meat should be so good that you don’t even want to grab a sauce. That’s just my opinion of course. I was hoping to counteract this departure from Flavortown with one of the 3 sauces available at the table: Kansas style, Louisiana heat, and Memphis Sweet, but alas the sauces were a disappointment as well. I deferred to the Louisiana heat sauce in order to get some moist to my meat, but all 3 sauces were slight variations of the same thing and all 3 were way too sweet for my liking. I know. You can’t please everyone especially us food snobs. The food was good overall. I’m not trying to be overly harsh, just critically honest. The value was what made the meal really shine. We were able to get 2 drinks plus like 8 refills, an appetizer and 2 full meals for $28. All of the portions were quite large so definitely bonus points were earned there. I appreciate a BBQ joint in general because it’s not your typical fare and it beats any chain restaurant out there for sure.
That have real good Iced Tea…Real Good. They got old seed bags and farmer type stuff on the walls. They have a tiny bar. They share a parking lot with a family restaurant and they flaunt their full joint.
I’m sure she has given the history of the night. She has given the Who of the night. I give you the remains according HIM. The Fried Pickles and Cheese Curds were tasty. The pickles brought just the right amount of heat and the curds had a cornmeal coating. I had the mac and cheese and it was creamy and delicious. Being a BBQ joint the star should have been the meat or at least the sauce and neither kicked proverbial ass but they did not. They were fine. I had sliders which were three small sandwiches featuring the brisket, smoked turkey and pulled pork. Well…the buns/rolls were flippin awesome.
So what does that say? What am I saying?
Go for the appetizers and the iced tea. That’s a damn good recommendation because you know…this is Kiel and all.