The T House | Wine | Salt Lake City Weekly

The T House 

Q4U’s barbecue master brings his familiar flavors to a spacious new location.

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n n Food Matters
Fans of Bangkok Thai will be happy to know that the restaurant has reopened at 3142 S. Highland Drive with the new name Bangkok Thai Talay. I’m told that the new menu includes Thai “tapas,” complete meals for as little as $6.99, sandwiches at lunch time, and that the place has a more casual atmosphere and feel than before. Phone 582-8424 for reservations.

Wine lovers take note: On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Lugäno Restaurant will play host to Harry Peterson-Nedry—the founder, winemaker and managing partner of Chehalem Wines—for a six-course wine dinner presented by Lugäno’s chef/owner Greg Neville and his staff. I’ve long been a fan of the fine Chehalem wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley; their Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are all terrific. I’ve become especially fond lately of Chehalem’s INOX Chardonnay. The cost for the Chehalem wine dinner at Lugäno is $55 per person with $35 for the optional wine pairings. Lugäno is located at 3364 S. 2300 East. Phone 412-9994 for reservations.

City Weekly readers undoubtedly are already hip. If not, you should know that, thanks to Burger King, you can get Simpsonized. As a tie-in with The Simpsons Movie you can upload a photo onto the Website and give yourself a makeover: Marge’s blue hair, Lisa’s pearl necklace, Homer’s 5 o’clock shadow and more. When you’re finished, you can even create a Simpsonized version of you as a screensaver and/or wallpaper. Awesome, dude!

A final reminder: Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Utah takes places Sunday, Aug. 5 at Solitude Mountain Resort. Check out this issue’s 24-Seven column for more details.

Quote of the week: The South excelled in two things which the French deem essential to civilization: a code of manners and a native cuisine. —John Peale Bishop

Send Food Matters information to Hear Ted over the airwaves on Sound Bites, Thursdays on KSL NewsRadio 1160 AM and 102.7 FM. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 10 years, but that’s how long since Q4U’s doors first opened back in the summer of ’97. Before that, Q4U’s owners “T” and Becci Brown had been selling barbecue at fairs and festivals from a trailer painted magenta, white and teal. If you were around back then, you might remember the license plate frame on the rig. It read, “When I grow up, I want to be a restaurant.”

Well, not only did T’s trailer grow up to be a restaurant, but the original Q4U barbecue palace outgrew its clientele. So, a few months ago, T and Becci packed up and moved into new digs in Kearns. You’ll also find Q4U operating from the south end zone at University of Utah Utes football home games beginning this month and there’s a Q4U restaurant now in St. George. And, as if they weren’t busy enough already, T and Becci are also franchising Q4U. It’s a marvelous story of success that couldn’t have happened to better folks. There are probably people on this planet who are kinder and more hospitable than T and Becci, but I’ve yet to meet them. They are known nearly as much for their charitable work and generosity as for their famous barbecue.

The new Q4U restaurant is simply sprawling compared to the original. Yes, it has a bit of a cookie-cutter look to it—not surprising, since if memory serves the space was formerly a J.B.’s restaurant. But J.B.’s wouldn’t have had BB King, Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters’ music playing throughout the dining rooms. “Is it too loud? I can turn it down,” said T when I commented on his good choice of tunes. “Hell no,” I said. “Turn it up! ”

The nearly generic visual appeal of Q4U actually seems appropriate. After all, there’s real barbecue being served here. So it’s refreshing that T’s new digs don’t feel or look like a down-South theme park. I suppose he could have outfitted his servers in kitschy coveralls or something like that. Instead, they’re just decked out in cool black Q4U T-shirts. Anyway, thanks to the large space Q4U now occupies, customers won’t have to wait in line for a table—even on a Friday night.

That’s when T roasts his pig: on Fridays. You see some of the same faces every Friday at dinner. They’re the hog aficionados who’ve come for Q4U’s famous “pig from the rig.” T spends all day Friday slow-roasting an entire pig on his rig out in the restaurant’s parking lot, and by suppertime the pigskin is a beautiful burnt-orange/brown sugar color, and as crispy as cracklins. A plateful ($11.99) of tender, porky pig in chunks and shreds comes to your table with a choice of two side dishes and as much or as little of T’s homemade sauces as you’d like. T is known to his followers as “The Sultan of Sauce,” so Q4U always has plenty of T’s Famous Spicy Sauce on hand, as well as his Bold & Bangy sauce and the milder Regular House Blend. You can even buy bottles to go at the restaurant. And if you’re so inclined, T might whip up a zingy vinegar-based, Carolina-style sauce for you from scratch. That’s just the sort of extra-mile brand of service he and the Q4U staff provide.

About those side dishes though: Don’t be a ding-a-ling and fail to order the hushpuppies. Yes, they’re deep-fried. But, if there’s ever an excuse to indulge in deep-fried anything, T’s hushpuppies are it. The golden orbs are somehow slightly sweet, salty and spicy simultaneously. And I could eat a dozen if I didn’t have to get back to my meat. Besides, there are other sides at Q4U to savor nearly as much as those pups: black-eyed peas, collard greens, sweet yams, barbecued beans, spiced potato salad and all the rest of the standard fixin’s. And you surely don’t want to miss Q4U’s Cajun-seasoned French fries ($3.59), washed down with the tastiest fresh-squeezed lemonade ($2.29) I’ve ever encountered.

Since I’ve sung the praises of Q4U’s barbecued goods in the past, suffice it to say that the ’cue has only gotten better and more consistent over the years. The 14-hour smoked pulled pork is a real treat, just like the tender, juicy baby back ribs ($19.99/full slab) and spare ribs. The popular Q ’Holic sampler platter is a smart way to go if you’re looking to sample a little bit of a lot: It includes a barbecued chicken leg, two baby-back ribs, a hot-link sausage, two spare ribs and a choice of two side dishes for $19.95. Still, one of my favorite go-to meals at Q4U isn’t about barbecue at all. It’s the plate of fried catfish ($10.99) that I can never seem to replicate at home. Q4U uses peanut oil for all their deep-frying and I’m too cheap for that, so that probably explains the extra flavor. And chicken lovers will be cheerfully clucking now that Q4U serves Southern fried chicken daily. It’s definitely not the Colonel’s.

n{::INSERTAD::}Although I’m not really a “dessert person,” I can never seem to resist Becci’s homemade sweet potato pie ($3) or her peach cobbler ($3.29). But on my last visit to Q4U I became a dessert person, thanks to Becci’s bodacious banana-bread pudding, topped with a rich vanilla sauce and secret ingredient that I’m not privy to reveal. Talk about top banana!

When it comes to the quest for great barbecue, Q4U’s original motto holds up at the new Q4U digs just like the old: Call the dogs in, put the fire out, the hunt’s over.

Q4U 3951 W. 5400 South, Kearns, Lunch & dinner, Monday-Saturday, 955-8858,

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