I understand that you should certainly manage your expectations when sampling BBQ in certain settings. You are not going to find A+ meats at the marching band fund raiser in the high school parking lot. Those are also certainly not going to be the types of places that I am going to review.
However, like New Zion in Huntsville, West Tabernacle Church operates a full functioning restaurant during the week, and therefore, I am going to treat it as such.
I have driven by this church for years, noticing the attention-grabbing “BBQ” flags flying out front along with the signs advertising lunch. I have heard good reviews of their catfish (and their unbeatable prices) but I could not find anyone that had ever actually tried the BBQ. After several years, I finally took it upon myself to sample the 'cue.
I received some of the most un-natural looking meats I have ever encountered. Additionally, these meats were smothered in a thick layer of warmed Kraft Hickory BBQ Sauce.
The undercooked brisket was the worst I have ever seen and it tasted even worse. This was not just bad according to my lofty Texas BBQ scale, it would be offensive to anyone with tastebuds. The meat went gray on the edge to pink in the center, signalling that this meat in no way had been prepared properly. The rubbery meat was cold and dry from sitting on the cutting board. There obviously was not a lick of smoke on the meat.
The pork ribs were also terrible. Like the brisket, the rib had not encountered any smoke in its lifetime. The meat itself fell from of the bone as the thin black skin flaked away.
The meats swam in the Kraft Hickory sauce and oddly, as repulsive as I find that sauce, it was by far the best thing on the plate. It was obvious that these people thought that covering a meat in sauce made it "barbecue."
Though advertised as barbecue, the meats offered here had no similarity to actual barbecue. Beyond that fact, this meat was some of the worst food I have ever tasted. Most of it went in the trash along with the Styrofoam plate it was served on.
Years ago, Franklin BBQ made me re-evaluate my BBQ rating scale. It set a new standard for how amazingly good Texas BBQ can be. I am afraid that this meal had the same effect on me, making me realize how nauseatingly bad these cuts of meat could get.
It is important to note that as a church, West Tabernacle does deliver a powerful sermon with their BBQ. This meat alone proves we live in a fallen and sinful world.