BBQ Review: Mill Creek Mediocrity

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BBQ Brother Bill from my church heard about the Mill Creek Cattle Company on the radio.  They claim to be a smokehouse and have an intriguing website.  The original restaurant is in Mentone and looks to be one gargantuan operation.  The initial cyber-recon was promising.  Actual research brought disappointing results.

The restaurant has a prevailing cowboy theme, fun and quite fitting for BBQ.  They have two large plasma/LCD screens that had FOX news going (definitely the choice of BBQ enthusiasts … I think).  You walk up to a counter to order and they bring the food to your table.  That’s how I like it: no tipping!  I asked the order taker what kind of wood they used and he didn’t know.  The manager was “pretty sure” they used mesquite and cedar.  C’mon, folks, you gotta have the inside scoop on your ‘que.  None of the meat is smoked on premises.  They bring it in from their Mentone restaurant.  Prices were actually fairly reasonable.  I ordered the “Triple Treat” (three meats, two sides and corn bread) for $9.95.  I added a hot link for just $1.50.

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As the plate was placed before me, I was immediately surprised by the beans.  I was expecting baked or BBQ beans, but there were refried beans sitting there right next to the cole slaw.  It was a really weird sight.  I like refried beans, but this was not your standard BBQ fare.  They were topped with cheese and pico de gallo and, once I got over the weirdness, I thoroughly enjoyed them.  The cole slaw was pretty good, nice and creamy and pleasantly sweet.  The corn bread, with whipped honey butter, was fine.  BBQ Brother Bill was kind enough to share his sweet potato fries with me, and they were excellent!  Their homemade sauce was decent, but a bit sweet for my taste.  I liked it at first, but almost felt like I was going to get a sugar headache.  It got tiresome pretty quick.  They didn’t have any other varieties, which I think is pretty lame.  There should at least be a spicy version.

Most of my meat offerings were sufficiently tender and moist, but they lacked smokiness.  The pulled pork went overboard in the moisture department as it was just swimming in fat.  I’m good with fat, but there’s a line somewhere.  They crossed it when they made pulled pork “soup” and used the rendered pork fat as the broth.  Not pleasant.  Texturally, the brisket was right on.  But it was bland and didn’t have a hint of smoke.  The tri tip had a tiny smoke ring around it and a little bit of smokiness, but no real depth of flavor (garlic, oregano, cumin are nice on tri tip).  The hot link had a bit of a kick, but was a bit on the salty side and, again, not smokey.  Charred, but not smokey.  There’s a difference.  You can char anything in a broiler.  You need wood for smoke.  If you’re okay with yuppy, propane-fired BBQ, you’ll be fine with Mill Creek’s meat.

So, using my new rib scale for rating BBQ joints (1 bone being awful, 5 bones being legendary), here’s the final breakdown:

Ambience/Service: 4 bones

Sides: 4 bones

Sauce: 2 bones

Meat: 2.5 bones

Overall: 3 bones

Mill Creek Cattle Co. on Urbanspoon

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18 comments so far

  1. ed on

    is there any good bbq in the inland empire?

  2. Sylvie on

    You’re looking in the wrong place! You’ve got to get down to south L.A., specifically Phillip’s BBQ! Take out only, but definitely worth it.

  3. jaynepomuceno on

    Ed, so far, only Famous Dave’s. But that’s what I’m here for … research. I’ll find a gem eventually. I’m pretty much on a BarBeQuest to find good ‘que in the 909. It’s gotta be somewhere.

    Sylvie, I’ve read about Phillip’s on a few other food blogs. Pretty much all raves. I need to get down there.

  4. RP3 on

    hey thx 4 the FD card Jay.. i will be doing my own research there very very soon!! lol.. thx again!

  5. RP3 on

    oh.. and thank u Heather.. 4 being such a good card deliverer!! ur passion was AMAZING!!! 🙂

  6. Jane on

    I like the rating system! Very snazzy!

  7. jaynepomuceno on

    Robby, yikes! How exactly did she deliver the card? Wait, maybe I don’t want to know!

  8. heather on

    Thank you robby! i wouldn’t have done it for anybody but you!

  9. jaynepomuceno on

    Oh, my soul….

  10. RP3 on

    *tear* thx heather that means.. alot!!! *tear*

  11. jaynepomuceno on

    And the BarBeQuethMinistry! turns into eHarmony. Great.

  12. S.J. on

    I think I’m gonna puke… *gags*

  13. S.J. on

    I mean c’mon! Robby and Heather being… nnnii… nn…. nnniiii… NICE to each other?! What has this world come to? What, are we all going to start being politically correct now???

  14. urfriend2me on

    heather wats up i leave an u start flirting with all the guys!!!

    Rob i thought we were friends an then u hav 2 go an do this WHATS WRONG WITH YOU???!!!

  15. urfriend2me on

    Dont make me beat you up Robby!!!!

  16. Robb on

    BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! funny joke 2me!!!!!! BAHAHA!!!!!

  17. weepboymnmymn on

    now in my rss reader)))

  18. Anydranty on

    cool sitename man


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