Let me introduce you to Tony Brown of the Tank House BBQ and Bar in Sacramento.
My limited experience with barbecue in California had not been positive, and I didn’t plan on eating any barbecue while we were in Sacramento. While Nancy and I were on our 10k state capital walk, we passed this lovely sight in front of the Tank House. Actually, when we walked by, it was even lovelier: the grill was smoking.
Why not? We marked the location and decided to come back for dinner, after the temperature got down from 107 to 100 or lower. We relaxed for a while and when the temperature hit 99, we walked the half mile to the Tank House, darting from shade to shade.
The first thing I noticed was that the Tank House is well air conditioned. Heaven. It’s also a nice, homey place with a friendly staff.
Nancy ordered house salad, and asked if she could get it topped with smoked turkey. That was not a menu option, but it was not a problem..
It was a nice salad: fresh lettuce, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and feta. Nancy really liked the smoked turkey.
I ordered somewhat more ambitiously — a brisket sandwich (no sauce, please), with greens and tater tots. And, what the heck, a $3 pork slider (a Happy Hour option). I also ordered a Lagunitas IPA.
The brisket — which the waitress told me had been cooked by Tony Brown –was delicious. It was tender. It was moist. It was smoky. Well done, Mr. Brown. Alas, he wasn’t there when we were eating, but my hat’s off to him.
The pork slider came with a lot of pork, slaw, and a sweet and tangy sauce. The pork was about as good as you’re going to get in an offset smoker. Again tender and with a good smoke flavor.
The tater tots were excellent. They were crisp but not greasy, and the center was … fluffy. They tasted great.
The greens were kale. I should have asked. They had been cooked with sausages, but they were still kale. I took two bites, and then stopped.
But set aside the kale, as I did. The Tank House is a great place. You don’t get brisket that good very often, and the rest of the food, like the service, was very good.
As I was eating, I noticed that everyone else seemed to be ordering a draft Pliny the Elder Double IPA. (Everyone, irritatingly, was pronouncing it with a long i, Ply-nee, rather than a short i, Plih-nee, as I learned in my classical education in Alabama when referring to the Roman polymath. I know I’m being pedantic, but, sheesh. Why?) I initially passed it over because it was just too hot for a double IPA: they tend to be very heavy. There was a lot of enthusiasm for Pliny the Elder IPA at the 4th Annual Beer Snob Pig Picking, so I decided to order one (using the classical pronunciation to the confusion of the staff).
Pronounce it as you will, the Pliny the Elder was delicious. It’s classed as an Imperial IPA by its producers, but it is not excessively hopped, and has the citrus flavor of a regular West Coast IPA — Sculpin, say. It was just really, really good.
Between the brisket and the Pliny the Elder, you really need to go to the Tank House.
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