Southern girl rising

Are you ready for this? I am about to give you some potentially bad, yet oh-so-delicious advice. Here it comes…

Eat more now! Right now!!

Eat more now! Right now!!

That’s right. I guess if one were being honest, this is not really my advice, but in fact the advice at 4 Rivers Smokehouse, here in Orlando [yes, my first Orlando post. Yay!]. Although before we get to that, let’s start at the very beginning.

So I just moved to Orlando about a month ago. I have had some terrifically mediocre food (I’m talking about you, TGIF’s), some bad food (the burgers at Steak n Shake), and, completely taking me by surprise, some very yummy food. This last has mostly been in the form of barbeque (“BBQ”). The first week I was here, my uncle and I went for a post-orientation dinner to Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ Shack. Yes, that is genuinely what it is called. I bought the T-shirt to prove it. I had a great pulled pork-sandwich; he had ribs that he said were fantastic.

Yay pulled pork and collards. How Southern can you get!

Yay pulled pork and collards. How Southern can you get!

Then school started and I got all caught up. I’m trying to have all the quintessential American experiences (hence why I’ve already invited myself over to a friend’s house for American Thanksgiving), so on Labour Day I toddled on over to while away the day by my friend’s pool. Lo and behold, we (I) got hungry, and so we made a quick(ish) trip to 4 Rivers, a semi-famous local BBQ joint. I made sure to photog lots to capture everything:

The hungry masses, waiting patiently in line.

The hungry masses, waiting patiently in line.

The captivating menu

The menu

There was quite a long line, but they had a fan with a mister outside, so it wasn’t too bad. And most of the sides are served cafeteria-style, so they’re pretty speedy, which is great. Also means that the food is fresh, because they must go through a ton of it! There is a small dessert case at the front, which I thought was it until I saw the mini in-house bakery around the side…dangerous.

All the things one could ever want to accompany a giant plate of meat

All the things one could ever want to accompany a giant plate of meat

I decided to go all-in and ordered the TEXAS DESTROYER: a brisket sandwich with onion rings, jalapenos, and sauce. Being that I’m Canadian, when I see a sandwich called TEXAS DESTROYER, my first though is that this sandwich is going to be as big as my head [and yet I still ordered it…]. However, not so. My only disappointment in this sandwich was its size, shockingly enough: it was the size of a regular sandwich! It destroyed no one! It was damn good though. Not too spicy, not too sweet, just the right amount of meat. Win.

Texas destroyer: brisket, onion rings, jalapenos, cheese

I am drooling

For my sides I chose fried okra, because I love okra and always have, ever since my Mom told me they were little barrels, as well as the cornbread salad, because I had to get something healthy.

Fried okra

My vegetables

The okra were pretty good, if a bit bland: I don’t think this had anything to do with 4 Rivers, just the fact that fried food can sometimes be bland. But some of their signature sauce spiced them up fine. I actually really enjoyed the cornbread salad, despite there not being too much healthy-ness about it; cornbread itself was great, even sans salad! I know this as my friend got just the cornbread and we gobbled it all up.

Saucy sides

Saucy sides

My friend also got the Smokehouse Prime Rib sandwich with extra horseradish; she generally prefers Bubbalou’s but said that this sandwich might make her change her mind. The mac n’ cheese she got as her second side was okay; the pasta was a bit too soft for me, and I think it would have really benefited from a crunchy Ripple-chip topping (in for a penny, right?).

Prime rib sandwich with horseradish sauce, mac n' cheese, cornbread

Mac n’ cheese and cornbread

Horseradish sandwich, with a little bit of meat

Horseradish sandwich, with a little bit of meat

Finally, after all that eating, I decided I really needed something sweet. So on to the bakery we went.

Dessert display case = love

I wanted all of it

Dessert display case = love

See what I mean by dangerous? You can actually see the giant cookie I got: above and to the left of the carrot cupcakes. Yes, that is one (just one!) solid double chocolate cookie.

Dessert display case = love

Now this is just overwhelming

Yes, my head kind of exploded after seeing all of these treats. I chose a “basic” double chocolate chunk cookie, and here the size did NOT disappoint: I had to eat this cookie in small increments over the next few days, but man was it worth it: fudgey cookie bits with marshmallow bits and nuts and crunchy cookie ends. The best! They give me a run for my money :) [I have a picture of the cookie but because of the lighting it bears shocking resemblance to something else, so I will not post it here].

Basically, this is my verdict:

Food quality and taste were great. The size of the orders (although not the sides) were smaller than I expected, and if you’re a big eater you may notice this. However, to be honest, it is easy to see how smaller portions=better quality, and I’m all for that. Besides, who needs to encourage larger portion sizes?? In general, I found it decent value for money, considering the obvious care and quality of the food: my TEXAS DESTROYER was $8 and you can add 2 sides for $2. Other sandwiches range from $7-9, and ribs are $13 for a half-rack. I also liked the restaurant itself: the sitting area was large, there were lots of tables and benches, and the room had an airy, welcoming feel. The servers were very helpful, and also friendly! I LOVE the fact that they have their in-house bakery, the ‘sweet shop’. Such a great idea. Kind of jealous it wasn’t my idea. There are lots of desserts to buy, as well as cakes and things; their sauces and rubs for BBQ are also available to purchase. And, they have lots of old-timey drinks and things available, like birch soda. All in all, I say mad props. I enjoyed. I’ll be going back. Especially since they gave me a free magnet :)

Stay delicious folks ;)

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