Janet Katz’s husband Gregory Maassen is a big fan of Fat Pete’s. Janet is our Senior South African Correspondent, and she persuaded me to take another look at it. I had not been favorably impressed in my first visit, to put it mildly.
I ordered the two-meat plate — pulled pork and sliced brisket — with collard greens and their vinegar cole slaw as my two sides. (Fat Pete’s also has a creamy cole slaw. I went for the diet option.)
(We were discussing South African braai and I was late taking the picture.)
Fat Pete’s continues to cook that rarest of foods, flavorless pork. You will notice the absence of both a smoke ring and bark. Their North Carolina-style vinegar-based sauce added some flavor, but even that sauce was seriously deficient in pepper, and curiously sweet. The sliced brisket did have some smoke and beef flavor, but not a lot. It was mainly dry. The bark was on a layer of fat rather than on the meat, and it tasted like carbon. Their hot sauce helped some, but it was a sorry excuse for brisket.
The vinegar cole slaw appeared not to have been dressed. I added some of Fat Pete’s vinegar sauce. It still tasted like raw cabbage, and I hardly ate any of it. Worse, the collards were actually … vegetarian. They had used onions and a sweetener of some sort to substitute for the fatback. What were they thinking? Janet liked hers, but I was too offended by the unbridled effrontery of the substitution to take more than a couple of bites. And I paid $17.99 plus tax and tip for that plate, all for my readers.
Janet had a smoked turkey sandwich. The turkey wasn’t nearly as moist and fresh as smoked turnkey usually is, and that Fat Pete’s was at my initial visit.
Gregory grew up in the Netherlands, and he is an expert in cheese and, especially, Belgian beer. Like billions of people around the world, he’s had little experience with barbecue, and the DC area certainly is no place to learn about properly cooked barbecue. Janet has been looking for some real barbecue within 100 miles of Washington, but without success. And, alas, Gregory is back in South Africa and will miss my July 4 barbecue. Gregory will have to wait, but he has a revelation, a Damascene moment, in store when he goes back to the Netherlands for a visit and has a chance to go to Pendergast Smokehouse in Amsterdam. And there’s always braai.