There are two great signs that you are at a fabulous barbecue joint: a line out the door and an atmosphere that is eclectic. Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbecue is a big win on both counts. This past weekend, two of my children and I were looking for a place to have ribs in the Towson area of Maryland. We were lucky enough to stumble upon Andy Nelson’s place in Cockeysville.
As we drove into the lot for the establishment, my son and daughter both had the same thought, “This is a garage that has been turned into a restaurant.” However, that didn’t seem to be deterring the dozens of people that were standing in line waiting to get into the converted gas stop. As we walked up the ramp to get in line, you already could smell the smokey goodness that was billowing from inside. We waited patiently as the ordering line crept toward the counter. Being our first time here, we studied the chalkboard menu to make our choices.
My children decided to choose a full rack of the Memphis style ribs. Confronted with the option of wet or dry, they chose them to be wet because they believe that ribs need to make a mess if they are going to be any good. I opted for a pulled pork sandwich and was dreaming of getting lots of the barbecue sauce slathered on top of it.
My daughter went and found an open table in the back dinning area. Meanwhile, my son and I put in the order and waited the extremely short time for the order to be ready. As we worked our way through the crowds, we noticed the decor. It would be safe to say that the decor was truly eclectic. Pictures of people making barbecue, old 1950s music groups, and the occasional Elvis print made up the wall art. The other readily apparent decoration was the Baltimore Colts memorabilia, as the namesake of the place is Andy Nelson who played with the Colts in the 1950s.
We made it to the table and immediately started to consume our bounty. Within one bite, my daughter exclaimed, “Wow! This sauce on the ribs is amazing.” My son followed with, “These ribs are softer than melted butter.”
As the meat continued to fall off the bone for them, I knew these were so good I had to steal a rib or two!
The pork barbecue sandwich was a heaping portion, to which I added horseradish and onion. Throwing in some of their signature sauce, I had an extraordinary sandwich. We also enjoyed a few slices of cornbread (homemade and delicious) and some sensational coleslaw. We now understood why the lines were out the door when we drove up.
We consumed our feast as the music played a montage of 1950s music, followed by the Peanuts theme, and then some blues. The eclectic music was a fitting end to a great meal.