4 Rivers Smokehouse

Remember how I mentioned I was looking for some great brisket in Jacksonville a few months back? Well, the arrival of Orlando-based 4 Rivers Smokehouse has answered my prayers.

4 Rivers

4 Rivers

The three locations in the Orlando area are known for their brisket and long lines–upwards of 15,000 pounds of meat are smoked and sold at the original location alone–so a lot of buzz surrounded the June opening of the new Baymeadows location. I was greeted with a 20 minute wait on my first lunchtime visit, which I’d say isn’t much worse than, say, the Town Center Chipotle. I decided to try the Burnt Ends sandwich (1/2 brisket, 1/2 pulled pork smoked in 4R sauce) with Smokehouse Corn and fried pickles, while Mario had the Texas Sausage Sandwich with sweet potato mash and mac & cheese:

Drinks, burnt ends, & brisket

Drinks, burnt ends, & brisket

Texas Sausage Sandwich

Texas Sausage Sandwich

I wasn’t a huge fan of the corn or mac & cheese, but I loved the salty fried pickles and Mario enjoyed his sweet potato mash. The burnt ends sandwich was tasty, but I thought the meat was chopped up too small. It made the sandwich feel more mushy than meaty. 4 Rivers’ house bbq sauce is fantastic (and they bottle and sell it) so it’s hard to complain about a sandwich doused in the stuff. Mario’s sausage sandwich was, indeed, Texas-sized (and quite good), and he was able to save half for later.

On my next visit, I finally wised up and tried the brisket:

Brisket sandwich + sides

Brisket sandwich + sides

The hype is well-deserved. The smoky brisket melts in your mouth–but I guess a fatty piece of meat tends to do that–and the seasoning rub (also available for purchase) is so, so good. I munched on the fried pickles again, and this time substituted in the bacon-wrapped jalapenos, which left me feeling a little more heartburn-y than satisfied :-/

One of the aspects of 4 Rivers I was most excited about: The Sweet Shop. A wide variety of cakes, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, mousses and more are made in-house every day and coolly beckon from both the main checkout register and the Sweet Shop’s bright corner.

Sweet Shop

Sweet Shop

However, I’ve been a little disappointed with my selections thus far. Cupcakes are large and look extremely appetizing, plus come in fun flavors (bourbon maple bacon, cookie dough, Mountain Dew & Doritos [?!]) but I’ve found the cake to be too dense and the frosting too thick (and I LOVE frosting). The cake slice I sampled was slightly better, and bites of a Reese’s mousse and chocolate brownie were both good.

Now that I know to go for the meat and choose wisely on sides and desserts (as it should be, really), 4 Rivers has quickly moved toward the top of my Jacksonville BBQ list. Now if only they were open later….

www.4rsmokehouse.com

4 Rivers Smokehouse on Urbanspoon