Every Thanksgiving our children, grandchildren and a few close friends gather at our home for a holiday dinner. In years past, my wife did all of the cooking but now, she gets offerings from our daughters. As in many homes, the menu does not change from year to year and each person has his or her favorite dish that is absolutely mandatory. My personal highlight is when the green-bean casserole with a circle of fried onions is passed around. But that’s another story.
Stephanie, our granddaughter, requests, nay, insists on a corn pudding from a local restaurant; we order two huge trays and it is quickly devoured. The restaurant is Hot Rods, a unique establishment with what can only be called an eclectic menu. How else would one describe a menu that offers an appetizer of smoked bat or “Red Neck Prime Rib”, grilled Spam slices with a spicy glaze!
At first appearance, Hot Rod’s does not appear impressive. The small building looks like an old fashioned general store, slightly tumbledown and ramshackle. Inside the décor is simply over the top, it has been described as a combination of a southern attic and a storage shed owned by a crazy hoarder. Many of the articles are for sale. But one goes to Hot Rod’s for the food, and it is very, very good.
While there are salads on the menu (called “swamp salad” of course), the main reason for coming is the meat. On the many occasions we have visited, I have enjoyed many of the offerings. Foremost in my memory is the meatloaf dinner. This pedestrian choice is grilled and then oven-baked, slathered with the house barbecue sauce. For the same price ($6.99), the pulled pork dinner is another favorite.
What’s a barbecue joint without great ribs? Hot Rod’s offers two versions of a half slab of ribs, Cajun or “Wosie Mild”. My wife orders the milder ribs and I go for the spicier. Both are delicious and so tender they literally fall of the bone. Most of the time, however, I go for one of Rod’s steaks.
The showcase steak is a two-inch rib eye; there are smaller steaks, a T-Bone and a New York Strip. All of Rod’s steaks are grilled over oak and orange wood, providing a unique taste. The steaks are “”plugged” with roasted garlic and then seasoned with crushed garlic and fresh cracked pepper. All the steaks are cooked to a warm red center, sort of between rare and medium rare. The price of the steaks are in the $15.00 range. Hint: add blue cheese to the steak!
If a crowd is expected, with a day’s advance notice, Hot Rod’s will serve a 10 pound burger, served on a 16 inch bun, that will easily serve a bunch of really hungry folks. After it is dressed with cheese, onions and such, this monster weighs in at close to 15 pounds! There is, also, a “regular” hamburger that weighs almost two pounds – regular?
All meals come with side dishes, among which is the corn pudding that my granddaughter craves, and coleslaw. She is not alone; the casserole is simply out of the world. The coleslaw has a tang to it and I always pick the slaw and corn.
There are desserts and more but we have never been able to stuff anything in our bellies after our regular meal.
Oh yes, the smoked and barbecued bat. Once a person gets over the idea of such an unconventional item, it is really tasty, a bit more gamey than some foul and, true, somewhat like chicken.
Hot Rod’s does not have a license to sell beer or wine or any alcoholic drink. However, the convenience store across the street sells beer and wine; one may bring a reasonable amount into the restaurant and glassware will be provided.