Posted May 10, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Reviews

Restaurant Review: Spanky's BBQ

Spanky's BBQ

After hearing rave reviews of Spanky’s BBQ, I conviced the wife to walk down there and taste test the menu with me. It wasn’t that far of a trek from our midtown location and on Saturday evening most of the tourists are at the theatre anyways. Plus, after dieting all week long, both the wife and I were dying for some real food.

Spanky's BBQ NYC Never judge a book by it’s cover, right? The outside of Spanky’s looks inviting, almost too inviting. I would assume it’s because of the location right near Times Square, but I tend to avoid places that look like a tourist trap. Any BBQ place that I’ve ever been to has always been smoke ridden and the buildings look like they are about to fall over, but I won’t hold that against Spanky’s.
Spanky's BBQ NYC - Inside Look
The interior of Spanky’s got me excited. They have one wall that it literally covered with gallon jugs of Tabasco. The pillars are circled with hot sauce as you can see. While we were waiting for a table, I picked up the specials menu and discovered “Spanky’s Challenge” – It was an appetizer menu consisting of fiery foods. I almost had the wife convinced enough to try the Rocky Mountain Oysters, until she wised up and asked the hostess what they were. Then I got slapped. Business as usual 🙂 But one item on the special challenge menu did catch my eye for good, the Caliente Lager. Since Spanky’s is a branch of Heartland Brewery, they took a Heartland Brew and paired it with Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally Hot Sauce. This surprised the hell out of me since the heat rating of Smack My Ass is over 700,000 Scoville Units. People have to agree to a disclaimer before buying anything over 100,000 from us.

So we were seated in the basement, which was a little to dark to take any pictures, but trust me it was nice and cozy down there. The waitress was prompt and friendly and the wife and I ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes to start with and my Caliente Lager. The beer arrived first, in a tall frosty mug. But instead of a frothy head, I could see specks of red death floating around in it. Now, it’s important to note that the waitress did not warn me of the heat level of this demon brew, nor was a warning available on the menu. That surprised the hell out of me, just because of the sheer heat value of the sauce.

First sip was fine, no burning so of course I had the wife take a sip. She was fine for about 2 seconds until her lips started burning like wildfire. Mine started burning not much longer after hers did. You see, when drinking out of a mug, you must touch your lips to the brew. Now with a sauce as hot as Smack My Ass, you don’t want it to touch any sensitive parts. I drank another sip and prayed for the Fried Green Tomatoes to arrive as quickly as possible, before my lips fell off (And I hate Tomatoes). By the time the appetizer arrived, I had only drank down about an inch of the Caliente Lager.

The Fried Green Tomatoes were delicious, even to me. They were a first for both the wife and me, so Spanky’s may have set the bar pretty high. The fried green tomatoes were topped with a Jack Daniels Cream Sauce and small pieces of chicken. Now, after eating the appetizer and taking another sip, I concluded that I was as high as a kite. Not because of any illegal drugs, but because of the heat in the beer. We’re all familiar with the euphoric feeling that’s occurs after eating something extremely hot, but I’ve never experienced it quite like this. It must have been because I could no longer feel anything but my lips slowly burning off my face.

By the time my food arrived, I was still only 1/2 way through the Caliente Lager. It this point I declared the brew my Everest and took another swig. Since I’m on a diet 6 days a week, I splurged and ordered the “Full House Place” & the wife went for the Smoked Pork Loin.

The Full House
1/4 chicken, 3 pork ribs, sliced brisket and pulled pork with choice of 2 sides
Smoked Maple Cured Pork Loin
with mango BBQ sauce and candied sweet potatoes

For my two sides I went for the Cheesy Grits & Sweet Potatoes. My plate arrived and it was a monstrous mound of meat. The sides were delicious and I dug into the Cheesy Grits right away, trying to salvage what was left of the feeling in my lips. I went after the pulled pork first, since it required the least amount of work to eat. It was a little dry, but the pork was tender with a nice flavor. The brisket had an excellent smoke ring as did the ribs. Both were delicious. Now 1/2 way through the meal I decided it was time to finish the beer.

It’s important to note that since the beer had been sitting for quite some time (it never takes me over 45 minutes to finish one beer) all the hot sauce had begun settling to the bottom of the mug. Half a beer is normally not a problem to chug, but try doing it without letting your lips touch the brew. That was me, trying my hardest to keep my lips away from the liquid death and still manage to get it down. Now the final sip contained the most amount of hot sauce and almost made me lose my dinner. I had to stop eating and concentrate on keeping the brew down for a few minutes before I could continue the dinner. But thankfully I kept everything down and found the meal to be most enjoyable.

The wife asked the waitress how many people had ever finished the Caliente Lager and the waitress didn’t know. Apparently they had just started the Spanky’s Challenge and I was the first person she had served the brew to.

Would I go back to Spanky’s? Hell yes.
Would I order the Caliente Lager again? Hell no. Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally is an extremely hot hot sauce and it really messed with the flavor of the beer. I would suggest that Spanky’s replace the Smack My Ass with something like Pure Cap or a Blair’s Reserve so that the flavor of the beer is not compromised. And they should also warn people before they order it. And a straw to drink it with wouldn’t hurt either.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the WhiteTrash BBQ Blog Review of Spanky’s as well.

Spanky’s BBQ
127 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036


Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog