7042 Folsom Blvd • Sacramento
“Love takes time,” says Tyler Monk. But he isn’t trying to offer you love advice or find the next sellout title for a romance novel—he is talking about slow-cooked barbecued ribs. And to find true love in slow-cooked, smoked meats takes patience… a lot of it. Eight to 12 hours at 250 degrees, to be exact.
But you don’t have to grill in the 110-degree Sacramento heat for 10 hours, sweating with your “Kiss the Cook” apron on, to find your true ‘cue love. You can head over to Folsom Boulevard, near the back of Sacramento State, to find the new and cozy Fahrenheit 250 barbecue joint that is bringing the love of smoked meats and Southern-inspired dishes to the city of Sacramento.
The local demand for slow-cooked pork, beef and chicken is at an all-time high, and local costumers have already out-eaten the joint’s daily smoker supply. According to Monk, the restaurant’s director of service, there has been a person outside the restaurant smoking meats 24 hours a day on their 3,000-pound smoker since their grand opening in March, 2014.
The luring smell of smoked meat and the sound of happy, chatty eaters greet guests upon entry, as does the sign touting that their beef is 100 percent natural, their chicken is free range, and the pork is pasture raised.
The atmosphere brings a comfortable yet upscale barbecue dining experience. From the décor on the walls to the red mismatched chairs, the majority of the items inside Fahrenheit 250 were upcycled from Fringe, a Sacramento vintage and consignment store. While helping to decorate the interior of the restaurant, Monk kept three ideas very close in mind: “cool, comfortable and classy.”
The walls are lined with various wood panels originally from an old barn in Auburn, the red chairs are tucked into wooden tables that are topped with mason jars for water, the bar back and silverware “cabinet” is an old printing press. There are vintage benches from Harlow’s and large pieces of a metal windmill that hang on a few walls. The décor makes it feel as if you were eating in someone’s old farm house, making it welcoming and cozy.
The menu features traditional barbecue plates from fried green tomatoes to pulled pork, as well as a variety of specialty cocktails, appetizers, smoked meats, Southern-inspired side dishes, sandwiches and salads. Barbecue plates with two sides range from $15 to $24.
My colossal meal for the evening included refreshing drinks, shrimp and grits as an appetizer, brisket, ribs, seasonal vegetables, mac and cheese, corn bread, coleslaw and The Oinker for dessert. When the order arrived there wasn’t a single inch of table space left. But when it comes to barbecue, the phrase “portion control” shouldn’t be spoken at the table.
The epic meal started off with three drinks; lemonade, sweet tea and a Kentucky Buck. Served in a mason jar, the house juiced lemonade was incredibly sour—the overpowering lemon juice made my lips pucker up. The cold-brewed tea was very sweet upon first gulp, but it left a slight aftertaste of cinnamon. And for a cocktail, The Kentucky Buck is a house-made strawberry bourbon drink with lemon juice, vanilla bitters and ginger beer. This dangerous-but-delicious drink came with no trace of liquor to be found; it only tasted like sweet carbonated strawberry juice, making it the perfect cure for a Sacramento heat wave.
For an appetizer, I couldn’t pass up the classic shrimp and grits. The plate was served with a small mound of grits in the middle, surrounded by tender shrimp that was drowned in creamy, zesty sauce.
Every slow-cooked meat I tried was so tender that I barely needed a knife or teeth to rip it apart. The brisket was served in thin-cut slices of six and each slice was thoroughly smoked around the outer edges. It even came with the choice of a lean or fatty cut. The tri-tip is cut to order and cooked slow and low for 10 hours. The St. Louis style pork ribs were juicy and ‘cued to perfection; the crisp edges gave it a small crunch. The meat from the ribs slid off the bone with very minimal effort. With four house-made barbecue sauces to choose from, my favorite for the night was the spicy sauce that gave my ribs a whole new flavor.
For every great barbecue meat there is a barbecue side dish. The cornbread muffins were warm, dense and golden brown around the edges. It was paired with a house-made honey butter that added the perfect amount of creamy sweetness to the muffin. The mac and cheese, one of my favorite, had small spiral noodles that were topped with bread crumbs—with every bite there were hidden creamy cheese pockets inside each spiral. The seasonal vegetables resembled more of a warm bowl of chili with corn, peppers and beans instead of a side salad, but I wasn’t complaining. And the coleslaw was cold and crunchy.
To finally top off my truly American meal, for dessert was The Oinker. This Paula Deen portioned, four-layered whipped cream and chocolate mousse dessert was served in a glass bowl with two spatulas that can be used for serving or as a personal spoon. Monk created this delectable dessert, making sure that the brownie hidden in the middle of this mousse pie could not be missed. This dessert can most likely serve everyone in your party and maybe the table next to you. It gives “pigging out” a whole new meaning.
After three drinks, two plates of meat, four side dishes, two pieces of cornbread, dessert, and three hours, my epic barbecue journey was near an end. My check arrived in a small tin bucket with to-go floss as a parting gift. Fahrenheit 250 offers tender meats, buttery sides and a relaxed atmosphere that puts the Capital City on the map for best barbecue.
Get your slow-cooked ‘cue on at 7042 Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento. Fahrenheit 250 is open Tuesday–Friday 11 a.m – 10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 8 p.m. For more info, visit Fahrenheitbbq.com or call (916) 476-4508.