Couch’s Barbecue - “Their Southern Went Flat”

Sunday, October 28, 2012 - by Willie Mae
Couch's Barbecue is at 8307 Old Lee Highway in Ooltewah
Couch's Barbecue is at 8307 Old Lee Highway in Ooltewah

 Even though I am not fond of a lot of fried foods or having good old timey Southern cooking each day, when I want a good Southern-based meal I want it to be re-e-a-a-l Southern!

On the occasion that I let myself have fried okra, I want it to be hand breaded (and fried in a cast iron skillet if possible). When I want barbecue, I want it so moist and tender it falls off the bone.

With all the good food we have in Chattanooga and small business owners creating unique touches, I also like a choice of homemade sauces for my barbecue.

And can’t you just see a good ol’ buttermilk corn muffin on the side?

When I went into Couch’s Barbecue, I expected a Southern BBQ meal. I had several friends tell me how much they loved this place and it had been around for years! I already had in mind that I was going to love it!

The place was all decorated in Coke paraphernalia and it gave you a cozy feeling. It was busy and it seemed this was a pretty popular place. A cute little waitress wearing a kerchief on her head came to take my order.

I was delighted to try this charming little place that was family owned. I even snickered at the pig with wings that appeared to be flying on the pull string of a ceiling fan.

I read over the menu and ordered a BBQ pork plate that came with three sides and a roll for 8.99. I chose coleslaw, fried okra and mashed potatoes.

There was a menu-like thing on the table that had trivia questions of all sorts for patrons to have fun with while they waited. It also told of their history, being owned by Will and Agnes Couch in 1946, along with local advertisements.

I liked everything about this place but when the food arrived… well, this one was of those ‘to each his own’ moments. From my beginning description of how I anticipated a good ol’ Southern BBQ dinner to taste – I was a bit disappointed.

The pork was not pulled – it was shaved and a little dry. There was only one barbecue sauce in a bottle on the table along with a small bottle of an off-brand, store-bought hot sauce.

The slaw was grated very fine and was runny with a strong onion-y taste. The okra looked like it came from a package and or what you would get on one of those food bars and a chain restaurant. The potatoes were ‘just okay’ with a little saw mill gravy on top and I was brought some rolls that looked like they also came from a package and thrown on the griddle made to be flat with a bit of shimmer of some type of butter or grease on top.

I hate to say that I was not impressed with the food because I really did like the place. So I am just going to say that it was not the BBQ meal I expect when I am hankering for good ol’ barbecue of the South.

To me, the rolls were not the only thing flat about this meal. Sorry.

 

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