Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ
Both my husband Jimmy and I had read about Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue in Cave Creek online. We were eager to try it. I had driven past it a couple of times without seeing it, so I thought it was down one of the streets in Cave Creek where the bars, dining, and shops are on North Cave Creek Rd.
We had visited Carefree Desert Gardens and were on our way home when we finally found it - right on Cave Creek Rd - and were excited to go in. As we drove down Cave Creek Rd on a Sunday afternoon, the bars were packed. I will admit that we tried The Grotto first but there was a long line outside and no one was distancing. We then went to El Encanto but there was an hour wait - we were hungry! That's when we remembered and looked up Bryan's Barbecue.
We were expecting to have to stand in line but there were only a couple of tables filled - 2 inside and one outside. We always prefer dining outside, especially during the pandemic, so we chose to sit there after placing our order. It was a little too chilly out as it was late afternoon and the outside eating area was in the shade. So we went back inside, which was fine since there were so few people.
It was a cute and clean-looking restaurant and as the photo shows above, you place your order and pay and you get a number, and the food is either called out or delivered to your table. I ordered ribs and brisket with potato salad and cowboy beans. Jimmy had ribs with Bryan's "famous olive coleslaw" and the cowboy beans.
I don't consider myself a picky eater, but I do know that barbecue sauce, like pasta sauce, can be very personal. I don't like spicy food, and the sauce was a bit too spicy for me. It had spice but not much other flavor. I've also learned that whatever barbecue sauce is used in a restaurant is usually the same sauce in the baked beans, and it was the same at Bryan's. Because I didn't like the sauce, and it was too spicy for me, I took a few bites and was finished.
My Mom made potato salad with a slightly sweet mayo mix (with hard-boiled eggs, celery, and a little sugar). That is my preference and I also know different restaurants have different ways of making potato salad and coleslaw. I took a couple of bites of the potato salad and I can't describe the taste - it almost tasted like a mix of mayo and sour cream, with more emphasis on the sour cream. I like sour cream, but I didn't like this, and this is the first time I only took a few bites of food and left the rest.
On a good note, the ribs were very meaty with a good texture, and I scraped off as much sauce as I could, and the brisket was also pretty good. There was also a good portion of food.
I didn't know if I was going to write any kind of negative review of a local restaurant in Cave Creek, but this isn't a completely bad review, and I feel this is just a case of my tastebuds. The reason we wanted to eat here was because we both had read good reviews.
Jimmy had a different experience. He liked it and he would go back. He loves spicy food and puts hot sauce or red pepper flakes on everything, although I don't think he felt it was as spicy as I did. I tried the famous olive coleslaw that he ordered and once again - nope! I couldn't win here. But he loved it and he had a big doggy bag with both of our leftovers, and I hardly had any of mine.
Everyone is different and we all have different tastebuds. But on a Sunday where most other establishments were packed, the fact that this Cave Creek restaurant was the only place without a wait, and with few people dining there, is it just me, or do others have similar feelings?
You'll have to try it yourself to see if you're more like me - or if you're like Jimmy, who loved it and will return (not with me).
Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue
6130 E CAVE CREEK RD,
CAVE CREEK, AZ
Open Wed-Sun from 11-8