Pittsburgh's barbecue scene is often considered to be lacking among other similarly sized cities. We have many joints in the region serving up barbecue, but little to none of them have the fanfare and almost cult-like following like you see in other spots around the country.
That is, except for Two Brothers Bar-B-Q in Presto, PA.
Simple, To the Point Barbecue
When it comes to good barbecue, I don't need much fanfare. A beautiful restaurant, strategic location, and flashy menu combinations do little to entice me to visit. In fact, the places that are the opposite are the most encouraging because they know on what is most important: the barbecue.
Two Brothers Bar-B-Q is about as no frills as you can get. Their simple trailer has smokers attached to it at the back and next to it is a massive wood pit that is ample enough to keep them running for quite some time. Ignore the two or three mobile food and catering trucks parked in the same lot, and all that is left is a handful of picnic tables for hungry patrons who cannot bear to take the food to go.
When it comes to simple barbecue, this is about as minimalist as you can get- and the fans crave it.
Staples and Unusual Menu Items Abound
Half of the menu at Two Brothers Bar-B-Q follows your typical barbecue spread. There are ribs, chicken, brisket, pulled pork, and other staple meats served straight up or in sandwich form.
The menu does take a bit of an unusual turn with options such as pulled pork nachos, crawfish po boys, and more. We decided to split the difference in our first visit and try one of each: ribs for the traditionalist menu, and pulled pork nachos for the more unusual. For good measure we made the ribs a dinner and tossed on a side of macaroni and cheese as well as a cornbread muffin.
The half rack of ribs came six to an order and had no shortage of meat on the bones. I would not say that they were fall off the bone tender, but they are about as close as you can get which is the next best thing. The bark was rather light, as was the smoke flavor, making them a solid rib for all tastes as these can be overbearing if not done right. The mild barbecue sauce was also quite mellow and the hot iteration had a kick, but wasn't enough to be off-putting to those who are heat averse.
Overall, I'll call that a solid rib albeit being a bit straightforward. It could certainly push the boundaries more for barbecue nuts, but for attracting a wide fan base it will satisfy most all cravings. In our city's barbecue scene, there is something to be said for that.
The nachos, on the other hand, are anything but straight forward. These take your traditional nachos with melted cheese covered chips and includes a mound of pulled pork amply tossed in barbecue sauce.
The nachos themselves are a big enough meal to satisfy two hungry visitors, and has the perfect balance of meat, cheese, and chips such that it is unlikely you'll run out of any one ingredient before you finish the dish. The pork was quite tender and, much like the ribs, only had a minimal smoke ring such that they were neither too smokey nor completely devoid of smoke flavor as well.
The only downside to our meal, if you can call it that, was the sides. The cornbread and mac and cheese was tasty, there is no arguing that, but they also were rather run-of-the-mill. Good accompaniments if you're in the mood for them, but not some we'd be dying to have again on a return visit.
While we fully intended to have left overs, our massive meal at Two Brothers Bar-B-Q (which ran just under $30), disappeared rather quickly. The more unusual nachos were a standout, giving us interest in returning for the more unusual creations of the menu. At the same time, the ribs were decent iterations for the local barbecue scene that I'd gladly eat any time I'm up for barbecue.
Overall, Two Brothers Bar-B-Q should be on your radar for a special journey, and those who take a chance on some of the more adventurous options will likely be rewarded more than playing it safe. As far as local barbecue is concerned, we'll call that a win.
Two Brothers Bar-B-Q is locoated at 5228 Thoms Run Road in Presto, PA and is open seasonally.
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