NOTE: Bender's BBQ Pit is closed as of September 2011
I'm not the sort of guy that goes out to lunch very often. Most of the time I bring my lunch, however mediocre it may be, to cut costs from my personal budget. Also, while my office is in a very high traffic area it is an area dominated by typical fast food places. Not that I have any problem with that, but it does get old. That is why I was so happy to hear about a new independent takeout BBQ place that opened up just North of where I work on 96th and Masters next to the Blue Crew. That place is Bender's BBQ Pit.
According to IndianapolisEater at Would I Buy It Again it has been open for over a month now, but it is tucked into the strip mall in such a way that I didn't even notice it despite the fact that I drive by there twice a day. It was a good thing I found out about it though because it makes a perfect candidate for a review on this blog. When I walked in I noticed two things immediately. First thing I noticed was the smell. The smell of sweet bbq smoke hung in the air so I knew right then they were at least doing something right (Don't oven roast something and tell me it's bbq dammit!). Secondly, I noticed that this is a business just getting off the grand and the interior was spartan. The drinks are served in cans since the soda fountain is not yet set up, and the menu is written on two whiteboards. Personally, I love that about a bbq joint. BBQ is the people's food. Nothing about a bbq restaurant needs to impress you except the food.
As far as the food goes I decided to go with the day's special...a pulled pork sandwich (personal fave), 1 side and a drink for $6. I was given 3 sauce options: sweet, mild, and hot. Normally I go for the middle level, but that day I decided on sweet and I was glad I did. It was definitely made in house and was not cloying like some sweet sauces could be. Perfect compliment to the meat. As far as the meat goes I will blatantly rip off Lucky Charms and call it magically delicious. It was moist, well flavored by the smoke, had a nice texture (not chopped or shredded), and had those wonderful pink "smoke ring" and charred bits included. The size of this sandwich was also larger than I was expecting. Quite a lunch. The coleslaw was quite good as well. Nothing mind blowing, but it was exactly what I want in a coleslaw. Nothing weird just do it right.
I really only have one minor minor complaint and it really had nothing to do with the food or service. When my sandwich and coleslaw were boxed up they were put into one container with two parts. As I took my sandwich back to the office the dressing from the slaw sloshed around quite a bit. A lot of it ended up in the sandwich compartment and in the bag. This made the bottom of the bun quite soggy so I had to eat it with my spork. I was okay with that and personally I love the bbq pork/coleslaw flavor combo, but some others may not. My suggestion would be a separate container with lid for the coleslaw.
Taste 8.5/10 It's bad news that this place opened up so close to my office. I'll probably be going in there waaay more than I probably should. There will be no regrets with I'm chowing down on smoked portions of Babe or Wilbur though.
Value 10/10 Only 6 bucks for a big pulled pork sandwich, healthy portion of coleslaw and a drink? Yes please! I don't know if that special will always be there, but damn it's hard to beat. They also have a 10 for 5 Groupon out right now if you're interested.
The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at methodicaldudereallythinksalotaboutthefoodhesgoingtoeat.blogspot.com