Las Vegas loves BBQ. Many busy places serve it. Not all are good. For some of the best, drive up to a desolate corner of North Las Vegas to John Mull’s Meats. Since 1954, it has been a butcher shop and deer processing center for hunters. It has since become the Roadkill Grill, serving the best beef ribs in town.
Service is steam-table style, everything ready to be spooned into a plastic tray. As opposed to getting one’s meat cut to order, straight from the pit, this method of serving BBQ is efficient. But as it lolls on the steam table, meat loses character. Still, there is plenty of it per serving; and the trays are regularly replenished from the smokers outside.
Ribs are boiled before smoking, but that does not diminish their flavor. An amazing spice rub and John Mull’s good sauce would be enough to make a tempeh steak taste like good BBQ. Chicken meat isn’t very smoky — most of the BBQ flavor stays on its skin. Hot links are served in a huge scoop, chopped and simmered in sauce. These do not have the smoke penetration and muscle of good Texas links, but they are enjoyable in a cocktail-weenie sort of way. The most important thing is “coyote bait” BBQ sauce — one of the very best BBQ sauces we’ve ever had. Get the spicy.
The one meat that really slaps our mouths is beef ribs. They cost more, aren’t available on combos, and require twenty minutes to finish on the grill. It’s all worth it for that pink smoke ring and the lingering smoke breath of true BBQ. The tenderness and smokiness of the beef becomes heavenly with a lashing of the spicy BBQ sauce. If Las Vegas does have great BBQ, it is these ribs.
Other notable bites: sweet cornbread, which has the texture and appearance of a muffin top; mac n cheese with thick casserole-like consistency; and peach cobbler served warm with with a touch of baking spices.
If you seek good BBQ, don’t waste appetite on casino ribs. Make the trip up here.