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Southern hospitality complements the down home fare at Sides To Go! BBQ: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

August 10, 2018

Southern hospitality complements the down home fare at Sides To Go! BBQ: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

MACEDONIA, Ohio -- “Just Southern country people” is what you encounter when you walk through the door of Sides To Go! BBQ in Macedonia. The food made by chef Claude Booker -- also the inspiration behind the business -- reflects his Southern and Cajun heritages.

His oversized smile and boisterous “Hey!” greets everyone who walks through the door. His smile grows even wider when he sees you enjoying the food, mostly family recipes he learned in the Louisiana kitchen of his grandmother.

“My greatest pleasure is to see anyone belly up to the table and enjoy a good meal made with love,” Booker said.

Sides To Go! BBQ is one of 20 finalists in Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest. Each establishment was nominated, and then voted into the finals, by our readers. You may vote for your favorite BBQ joint once daily here. The poll resets each morning at 9 a.m.

Booker’s cuisine was enjoyed by the 1,000-plus delegates and staff of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016. Since then, Booker and business partner Johnny Hutton have opened their brick and mortar stores in Macedonia, Maple Heights and at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Cleveland’s Best team visited Sides To Go! BBQ on Aug. 1. Scroll down to see our taste test review of its foods.

Sides to Go! BBQ

Address: 9828 Valley View Road, Macedonia

Phone: 330-908-0322

Website: www.sidestogobbq.com

Social media

Facebook: facebook.com/sidestogobbq/

Twitter: @SidestoGoCLE

Instagram: @sidestogobbq

How many different kinds of BBQ are on the menu? Eight: Carolina Pulled Pork and Chicken, Bayou Rib Tips, Smoked Turkey Ribs, Bourbon Glazed Wings, St. Louis Ribs, Beef Brsiket and Vegan Pulled “Pork.”

How many sauce options? Three: Sweet Carolina Gold, Honey and Bourbon Sriracha.

Best Sellers: Brisket and pulled pork.

Most unique item on the menu: Crawfish Etouffee and Vegan Pulled “Pork.”

Cleveland’s Best reporters Yadi Rodriguez, Brenda Cain and Kristen Davis, along with celebrity host/comedian Mike Polk, visited Sides To Go! BBQ on Aug. 1.

At each of the finalist restaurants, we’re sampling all kinds of barbecue, including ribs, pulled pork, brisket and chicken -- as well as many sides and a dish the restaurant felt was its best or most unique offering.

Taste Test Review

Pork Ribs: “Charred nicely so it gives a good crunch. The meat just pulls away from the bone,” said Cain.

“Nicely seasoned with a good, unpretentious flavor,” said Polk.

Pulled Pork: “Tender, a good mix of tender meat and charred ends,” Davis said.

“Moist and smoky. Delicious with the Carolina Mustard sauce,” said Cain.

Brisket: “This is a really solid, traditional brisket. I liked the texture and the au jus,” said Polk.

“Nice thick cuts of meat with a mild flavor,” said Davis.

Chicken: “The wings had a great ratio of sauce, which was deliciously sweet, yet didn’t overpower the meat,” said Rodriguez.

“Cooked well. Loved the sauce,” Davis said.

Turkey wing: “Really unique and quite good. I don’t know why more people don’t serve them,” said Polk.

“Good wing, a good option for poultry fans,” said Rodriguez.

Rib Tips: “This rib had a great rub on it and had a great crunch,” Rodriguez said.

“Tender and tasty, with a great meat-to-sauce ratio,” Cain said.

Vegan Pulled “Pork,” which is made with jackfruit: “Cool concept. It was sweet, but still had a smoky taste,” said Davis.

“If I have learned anything, it is that I am a carnivore. This wasn’t bad, but had a weird consistency for my taste,” Cain said.

Sides:

Red Beans and Rice: “A truly hearty side. The beans are firm, not soggy,” said Davis.

“Delicious, with nicely-seasoned beans that had a good smoke flavor, but I would have liked a little more rice,” Cain said.

Mac & Cheese: “Tastes very homemade, creamy and gooey,” said Polk

“Lots of melty cheese throughout, which made it heavy, but so worth it,” said Davis.

Sweet Potatoes: “Great consistency. Lots of delicious pecan and marshmallow toppings,” said Cain.

“Not a fan of sweet potatoes, but these were sweet and buttery and nicely spiced,” Davis said.

Collard Greens: “These were really solid. Crisp, not soggy. Comforting,” said Polk.

“Flavorful and not overcooked,” Davis said.

Fried Green Tomatoes: “These were a true taste of my childhood -- made just the way my mom made them back on our farm. Crispy and perfectly seasoned,” said Cain.

“These were nothing sort of fantastic. Crisp on the outside, not greasy, with fleshy and tender tomatoes inside. Perfect,” Polk said.

Cornbread: “Moist and fluffy,” said Rodriguez.

“Very traditional. Light, not heavy,” Cain said.

Peach Cobbler: “This was amazing. Lots of layers, textures and flavors,” said Davis.

“I liked that the crust was still crunchy with plenty of sweet peaches and spice. Warm and comforting,” Cain said.

Sauces:

Carolina Gold: “One of my favorite sauces we have tried so far. It was as cool as a breeze on a hot summer’s day,” Polk said.

“True to its Carolina roots, mustardy but with a gentle kick,” said Cain.

Bourbon Demi-Glaze: “Sweet and sticky and delicious,” said Cain.

“Had a bit of a kick to it, but not too much” said Rodriguez.

Honey Sriracha: “This was just outstanding. Sweetness with a nice slow burn,” Cain said.

“Unique and well balanced,” said Polk.

Why not join us in our quest to find the Best Barbecue in Greater Cleveland. The schedule for our visits is posted here.

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