I have been living in our state's capitol city for about a year and a half now. To my shame, I've only had BBQ at three establishments. All of them have been great, but I've only had beans at two of them. The last post being the first, and this post being the second. I am fortunate that so many rooms in the metro area are hosting live music and I was able to catch a show at ShortE's BBQ in January of 2022. We had been having pretty great winter weather down here. Warmer than I'm used to, and certainly mild. Only a couple of measurable snowfalls. However, this day, it was brutal cold. The kind of cold that makes having "auto start" mandatory. The kind of cold that requires you to use that "auto start" more than once before you head out to your vehicle. Something I absolutely would not have gone out in, save needing to go to work. Upon setting up, I was happy to see a few familiar faces that came to the show on purpose. That's been happening lately, and I can't hardly believe it. It was less common in the smaller towns of northwest Iowa where I had been living previous to this. Though, maybe I've just gotten better. A week before this show I was back in one of those towns playing a set at a nice little festival with Boone County's second tallest guitar player, Matt Woods. That sound check went smoothly, as did the show. However, after sound check we ran across the street and grabbed dinner before the show. Upon returning to the venue and preparing to start playing, I discovered that the battery in my guitar's pick up had gone dead. Even in this small town, we were some distance from any place that would be open this time of night and sell batteries. Being the consummate professional that he is, Mr. Woods retrieved a used, but functioning, 9 volt battery from one of the pedals on his board. A pedal he wasn't going to use, or so he said. I slipped it in my guitar and we were ready to go. Disaster averted. Now, I'm back at ShortE's. All plugged in and getting ready to sound check. Twenty minutes to show time and what happens? My borrowed battery fails me and I'm hung out to dry. Despite the cold, I run to the nearest gas station and buy a supply of 9 volt batteries so this won't happen again, and returned to the show. I had learned my lesson. I keep that first, spent 9 volt in my guitar case as a reminder.
A reminder that you're here for beans. Not boring stories.
Part of my compensation for the evenings show is a meal from ShortE's BBQ. By the time I am finished, I'm delighted to learn that they still have burnt ends left and I had to have baked beans as a side, of course. I took this order to go and the crew at ShortE's provided me with 4 different sauces to try. Without me even asking. Going above and beyond. Naturally, this side was served in a Styrofoam to-go cup and they were still warm by the time I got home. For a side, this was a healthy portion. There were at least two different types of beans in this dish and they were all cooked up perfectly. They were served up in plenty of sauce. Not too dry and stew-like, as many places are. The sauce. Oh, the sauce. It was a delicious smoky sauce with a pronounced vinegar kick. A smoke flavor that is so often missed in BBQ baked beans. There was a mild brown sugar sweetness to bring the sauce back towards "balanced", but they weren't overly sweet. These beans had to have been made from scratch. In addition to the perfectly cooked beans and the delicious sauce, these were served with large chunks of diced white onions, cooked to perfection. They were also cooked with hunks of beef. Brisket, I assume. The white onion, brisket, and beans were all provided a variety of mouthfeel that kept the side dish interesting.
Ratings (On a scale of 1-5)
Total Score: 13
For what it's worth,
Matt Woods: 5