In this age of takeout, sometimes I feel like I could be writing reviews based on how awesome my car smells during and after transporting my meal. In the case of The Pit Stop in Sterling, where all service is still curbside, I would give the aroma five stars.
Luckily, once I got it home, the food rose to the level of the meaty, cheesy bouquet. The dominant odor, not surprisingly, was of smoke, courtesy of the ribs. The taste of fire penetrated the meat to the bone, meaning a deeply smoky flavor, just on the cusp of too much, but never quite arriving at overkill. The tender flesh gently clung to the bone rather than falling from it. The mild dry rub was enough to imbue the pork with plenty of flavor, but I was grateful to have the tangy dipping sauce to add some variety to my bites.
Though the chicken wings weren’t smoked, sitting with the ribs made them taste like they were. Imagine a juicy, well-fried drumette with just a lick of smoky aroma and you’ll get the idea. They were about as close to perfection as a wing can be. For chicken to take over focus from ribs on a barbecue plate is a feat. These performed it.
Even more difficult? Distracting me from animal protein altogether in favor of sides. The lightly sweet, (admittedly bacon-enhanced) braised kale was hard to put down. But the mac and cheese might have won the most bites of the whole meal. Pungent with cheddar, the creamy noodles had a crisp, baked-on crust that survived the car ride from Sterling. It was so satisfying, it was hard to believe there was no meat in it. And my kitchen still smells just a little bit like smoke. // 46230 Cranston St., Sterling
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