When it comes to food, nothing is more subjective than barbecue. It varies from region to region, state to state, and even different regions within a state. Everyone has their favorite style, and most places have a signature style to their BBQ. Arkansas, unfortunately, doesn’t have a defining style of BBQ. We have to get by with styles from other places, and one place in particular that does Texas-style mesquite barbecue quite well is Roland’s Barbecue in Hot Springs.
Hot Springs has many BBQ restaurants, dives and roadside trailers. But Roland’s brings the taste of Texas to the citizens of Hot Springs. When you enter the place, the smell is definitely different than it’s hickory-smoking peers. The sauce, a tangy tomato based sauce, can be bought in spicy or mild versions. On my last visit, I went for a sampling of everything with the combo plate, which consists of three sides and three mesquite smoked meats: ribs, brisket, and of course Roland’s own in house made black pepper sausage. The ribs were tender and flavorful, as was the brisket, but the star of my meal was the sausage. This sausage is a cracked black pepper smoked sausage made in house, and it’s juicy and full of serious flavor, with a casing has that “snap” that a sausage should have. I ordered the meal with beans and potato salad, with mixed results. The potato salad was creamy with a few tender chunks of potato, with onions and celery and a mayo base. I have to be honest, the beans fell short for me. Not being a fan of pork and beans being used to make barbecue beans, these left me wanting a different side to go with my meal. Like I said, barbecue is very subjective.
Overall Roland’s BBQ is a tasty option for those who want something different than the hickory smoked menu that other Hot Springs BBQ places offer. Give them a try and see the difference for yourself.