Monday, July 1, 2013

City Barbeque

While my daughter was still at camp, hubby and I took our son out for dinner at City Barbecue. We have wanted to go for a while, but driving to Carmel during rush hour always seems daunting (and the other locations are even further). But we sucked it up and made the drive one night. 

We had eaten at City BBQ in Columbus, Ohio once while visiting hubby’s parents and really liked it, but it had been quite awhile. We were excited when we heard this one was opening.  It hasn’t been open too long in Carmel, and I had heard there were pretty big crowds. On the night we were there (a Tuesday) it wasn’t too bad. You wait in line to place your order and they call your name when it’s ready (unfortunately hardly anyone there seems to be of age, so if you order a beer, you have to wait for a manager to bring it to you, which took longer than getting the food).

They have a pretty extensive menu and a ton of sides.  Hubby and I made negotiations and ended up with a pulled chicken sandwich (me) ($7.49+ $2.99 for 2 sides) and a sampler platter of a mini pulled pork sandwich, a mini brisket sandwich and smoked sausage (hubby) ($13.99+ $2.99 for 2 sides).  My son got the kids meal with mac and cheese, a side of baked beans and a drink ($3.99).

I had read about the pulled chicken online which is what inspired me to get it (that and the fact that I am pretty sure my in laws had it that time I ate it at their house).  They smoke the chicken and then pull it and simmer it in what they call their “white” BBQ sauce that has a bunch of things in it like cayenne, vinegar and horseradish.  This is easily one of the most tender pulled chicken sandwiches I have had. Honestly, you barely need BBQ sauce because the meat is so tender and flavorful, but they have a selection of sauces on the table for you to dress your BBQ as you wish. I tried the mustard sauce first because I tend to like mustard sauces, but this one was a little too pure yellow mustard for me. I ended up settling on their original sauce, which is your typical red BBQ sauce. It was nice and smoky with a hint of heat (they also have a pure sweet and a hot version).

Hubby’s pulled pork was also delicious—just as tender as the chicken, but with the richness you are only going to get from pork.  We both loved it.  I am not a huge fan of brisket—just a little dry to me, even with the sauce on top.  My son however was excited that his baked beans contained bits of the brisket and he really liked it. He ended up finishing up hubby’s mini brisket sandwich.  I didn’t try the sausage but hubby said it was good, just not as good as the pulled chicken and pork.

There are so many sides it is hard to decide which ones to get.  Since my son got the mac and cheese as his main dish, I knew I could try his and got something else. I remembered the potato salad being good and I also ordered the corn pudding.  I do like the potato salad even if it isn’t overly flavorful.  It is kind of an old school version with celery, egg, and mayo.  Reminds me of my Grandma’s.  I liked a bite of it with a bit of the BBQ. I also enjoyed the corn pudding—it was sort of like a softer, buttery cornbread with bits of whole corn in it. Sweet, but not sickly sweet.  The baked beans were good. There are pieces of the brisket cooked into it, which is what made my son decide he really liked the brisket.  We also had an order of the hush puppies—they are corn meal balls that are battered and deep-fried. The batter was decent, but the inside of the hushpuppies didn’t really have any seasoning. I would pass on these next time.

All in all, I quite liked this place—especially the pulled pork and chicken.  I would totally stop and get a pound of this carry out. I also liked their house bbq sauce and while none of the sides completely blew me away, I enjoyed the potato salad and the corn pudding. The mac and cheese, while pretty straightforward, was decent as well. Even though it’s a chain, it’s a darn good option.  And hubby is looking forward to trying the ribs next time.

City Barbecue
1356 Rangeline Road (and other Indy locations)
Carmel, IN 46032

City Barbecue on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm loving having an Indy location that is closer to home (relatively speaking, it is still a good 20+ min to Carmel). I have been very happy with everything I've tried, although my wife's mac & cheese was a bit disappointing and from-a-box-ish. Beyond what I've tasted, most everything I've seen makes me want to order my way through the menu.

  2. I hadn't even heard about this place. I've always wondered why there weren't more bbq places in Hamilton Co. I'll have to get over there and try this one. Also, regarding pulled chicken I think I had some of the best I've ever had from a small vendor at the Noblesville Farmers Market.

  3. I prefer City BBQ to Famous Dave's or Smokey Bones, probably because of the Panera style service. They have an off-the-menu pulled rib sandwich where they pull the meat off of like 3 or 4 rib bones and put it on a bun with some slaw. It's the best of both worlds: Ribs without the mess.

    I like the Cucumbers and Onions side. It's not as sweet and Grandma's. The beans and the corn pudding are nice too. Their banana pudding is amazing.

    BTW: I think the alcohol delivery is a liquor license thing - they have to serve you rather than you picking it up. I guess that's the difference between a restaurant and a bar (which requires 21+)? I don't know, the whole deal with alcohol laws is asinine.

  4. Brent, let me know what you think! And I am intrigued by the Noblesville Farmers market pulled chicken now....

  5. Joe, thanks for the tip on the pulled rib sandwich sounds good. As does the banana pudding...

    agree about the alcohol laws.

  6. Jessica SabermanJuly 1, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    I've been making the drive to the Avon location for a few months now, so am thrilled to have one closer to home. They're the best I've found in town so far (other than my own, but I'm biased).

    I really like their brisket, but I've learned to ask for the "fatty cuts," since that's where the flavor and moisture is. Apparently some people don't like those bits and get mad if they see too much fat in their meat, according to some managers with whom I've spoken. Silly people, you're eating barbecue, this is not health food!

    My husband loves their pulled pork. We both like the sides of greens, fries and green beans. For sauce, I tend to squirt a mix of both their spicy and their sweet, so I can get a bit of both in one bite.

  7. I've been to the Southside location several times. Their barbecue is outstanding.

  8. Erin -

    We tried this last night and it was delicious! On your recommendation and a couple ahead of us in line, I ordered the pulled chicken. My husband ordered the brisket naked (no bun). Unfortunately the chicken was full of onions - which I can't have. The great (though young) staff was wonderful about switching it out. I had tasted a bite of the brisket and had to have it for myself! We really enjoyed our food. The brisket melts in your mouth and you wouldn't really need barbecue sauce on that either!

    Another surprise was when we added cheese & bacon to the fries. Nothing anywhere tells you that it is zesty, and I mean ZESTY, cheese. Yummy but spicy and I couldn't help but think some people would not be pleasantly surprised. We also had a slight delay on beer delivery - and then it was delivered still with the cap on. My husband made the server go open it.

    It was truly a delicious meal and I loved the young wait staff who were on top of their game. We will be back and I too can see myself picking up a pound of brisket for carry out.

    Love your blog. Thanks for all the reviews and ideas of new places to try!


  9. Hi,
    I just found and started following your blog and I'm really enjoying reading through reviews about lots of our local restaurants. Your post about blaze pizza led me on a search to read what you thought about City BBQ, also one of my not-local favorites on the south side. This location opened when my youngest was just starting to eat table foods. We found ourselves there on a weekly basis because of the quick counter-style service with sit-down style food. Our 10 month old chowed down on the green beans, baked beans, cornbread/corn pudding, (seasonal) sweet potato cass, and my favorite thing there I've tried - the smoked turkey!! I love it. I can't order anything else as my main entree but my husband switches between the pulled chicken and pork (we both order ours with no bun). We still love going but don't go there once a week anymore. My kids are 3 and 4 and they like eating there because of the sides and sitting outside.