Mike’s Four Star BBQ

Written by on August 25, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(mikesfourstarbbq.com) – Port Gamble, Washington

How I heard of this place: At the beginning of June, I made my way to the small town where our wedding would be celebrated. While in Port Gamble, after having toured the oneblock that makes up the the town itself, we made our way out and around to leave the village, when we came upon Mike’s. Parking in their lot, after ordering espresso beverages at the drive-through shop just ahead of the BBQ joint, I made my way in to talk to Mike & Stephanie (the owners). It seemed the perfect place for our Rehearsal Dinner, where friends and family could enjoy a bite together before our Big Day. Right then and there, I booked it.

Type of cuisine: “Mike’s Four Star BBQ, located at 4719 NE State HWY 104, is the old service station in historic Port Gamble. The building is now a roadhouse that serves authentic Carolina Style Pit BBQ. Enjoy pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, chicken, handmade sausage, burgers and more.” The more includes sweet potato fries, potato skins, crispy onion rings, coleslaw, smokey BBQ beans, pickle chips, wings, salad, giant cheeseburgers, a smoked chicken quesadilla and about as many platters as you can think up!

Ambiance: The light blue paint with white trim along the exterior easily emphasizes the red and white logo that is Mike’s Four Star BBQ. With only three, small windows along the street-facing side of the establishment, even during daylight hours, a dim, true BBQ joint feel emanates from the inside. A casual dining area just outside includes round picnic tables and benches, set underneath large umbrellas to shade patrons from the intense heat and sunshine of an early Pacific Northwest August eve. The gravel flooring meets a paved, concrete sidewalk, leading into the large door of the restaurants interior. The expansive space feels even more grand with its high ceilings and one room, opening out from the kitchen area, blocked only by a counter for the cash register and ample space to pick up orders and select your beverage from the soda fountain. A chalkboard overhead spells out the details of the menu, which seems small, but leaves no room for going home hungry. The dark interior, with waxed concrete floor, rustic, heavy-duty picnic tables inside for parties of four to twenty mark the perfect way to introduce and unite two families.

What I ordered: I selected the Potato Skins ($8.50) with smoked chicken, topped with cheese, sour cream, green onions and Mike’s Four Star BBQ sauce. Chris went with the Full Rack of Ribs ($25), which included “bean and slaw”. Others in our party selected everything from Mike’s Giant Cheeseburger ($10) with 1/2 pound Angus beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and Mike’s house dressing, to French Fries ($3.95) with the skin on, seasoned Mike’s way, and beer battered Onion Rings ($4.50). We had the Smokey BBQ Beans ($3.95), slow smoked and seasoned with Mike’s secret spices, Caroline Cole Slaw ($3.95), sweet and tangy, without mayo! We saw other  enjoying the Smoked Chicken Quesadilla ($7.95) with pulled chicken, jack cheese, sour cream, green onions and Mike’s Four Star BBQ sauce, Smoked 1/4 Chicken ($6.50 a la carte; $8.50 plate), large smoked dark meat leg and thigh piece, skin on. Two people enjoyed the Cheeseburger Salad ($10.50 each) with 1/2 pound of Angus beef, American cheese, tomato, pickles, onions and Mike’s House Sauce served on Romaine lettuce, a couple of people also partaking of the Walker-Ames House Salad ($8.95 each) with Romaine lettuce, bacon, tomato, green onions and croutons. Rib plates ($9.95 each), Pulled Pork and Pulled Chicken (dark meat) Sandwiches ($6.95 a la carte; $8.95 plate) with dry rubbed, slow smoked pork shoulder served between two, thick slices of yellow (potato?) bread. Unlimited soda refills helped to wash down the plethora of foods at our ten-plus tables, with over thirty of our favorite family members and friends!

What I loved: The food was amazingly delicious, flavorful and juicy. The ribs tender and dry-covered with BBQ sauce. The potato skins filling and tasty. The smoked chicken juicy and tender, falling off the bone as I went to take an offered sample from friend. The burger, one of the best, most pure, all-American burgers I have had in a while. The beans full of smoky goodness and the coleslaw tangy and pungent.

Why I loved it: The staff, Mike, his wife, Stephanie and the young’uns who took our orders made for a perfect, at home-meal feel in an unfamiliar town. Even while recounting the memories of her niece’s wedding at the Hood Canal Vista Pavilion just three weeks prior, Stephanie’s eyes began welling up as she held back tears thinking of the beautiful day Chris and I would share tomorrow.

Cost: Low to high ($6.50 – $38 for meals serving one to five people)

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