Capital City BBQ
J and I first moved to Michigan in the spring of 2008 when she got a job in Lansing. We hadn’t been dating that long, but I was tired of my job in Peoria, needed a change, and I knew where things were going with J. It was a no-brainer for me to move with her.
Seeing as I didn’t have a job when I moved, I had a lot of time that I used to write a food blog I started and to work on my cooking as I made dinner for the two of us every night.
I had always hoped I could turn that food blog in to something profitable, but alas, eight years later, I’m still writing and still bringing in exactly $0 every month. It’s ok, though, because really, I just like eating and the adventures finding new restaurants takes us on.
For over a year, I’ve been complaining about the lack of BBQ in Lansing.
Or this one.
I’ve been complaining about there being no good BBQ in this area since we moved here. This was good, authentic BBQ. We never would have found this place on our own, but now we have a place to stop on the way home from MIS!
Or this one.
On one hand, I think it’s sad that Lansing’s only BBQ joint isn’t the creation of a family recipe, but on the other hand, I’m glad there’s at least one place that takes the time to do BBQ right. It’s a good thing we don’t live closer to Lansing Township. I could literally eat every meal there and be happy.
And yet another.
Since we’ve been here, I’ve been asking people where the good BBQ joints are. No one has given me an answer.
We always found something passable, but two of those were food trucks that didn’t last long, one was a chain, and one was in Jackson.
We moved from Lansing to Kalamazoo in the fall of 2009 and man, how things of changed in the Lansing BBQ scene since then.
I’ve blogged about two of the new places in the past and both of them were delicious. Meat in Old Town is insanely delicious as is Saddleback BBQ in REO Town as long as you aren’t offended by music that contains adult content.
I’ve been told about a couple of others, but they haven’t been on my radar when I’m Lansing. I’m usually there at night and most of these places close while I’m still working.
This past week, I had an opportunity for dinner like a normal person before I made the trek back to Grand Rapids. I was tired and hungry, so I was heading back to Saginaw Highway from downtown to find something quick along the way.
I wasn’t even looking for it, but when I got to the corner of Saginaw Street and Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, I noticed a sign for BBQ. It was one of the places I have been told about in the past and since it was on the way to where I was heading, I decided to pull in.
Capital City BBQ has been open about a year in a small building on the corner of two busy streets. It’s a combination of BBQ, Vietnamese food, and a cell phone shop right next door to the Lansing location of El Azteco. The building was a cell phone store first then they added in the restaurant in the back of the small space. Surprisingly, there is enough room for a handful of tables and all were filled the night I was there.
The menu at Capital City BBQ is quite large. They have a large number of sandwich and burger options in addition to the typical BBQ meats….add on to that, a handful of Vietnamese dishes including Bahn Mi which several people were enjoying while I was in the shop.
A lot of the burgers looked really, really good, but I wanted something that would hold up pretty well for the drive back to Grand Rapids. I had time for dinner, but not really time to sit and eat. I would need to get back and eat at my desk.
Ordering is done at a counter with a menu board overhead. I grabbed a paper menu off the counter so I could read it a little better and eventually, decided on the 1/2 lb. Rib Tip Dinner with french fries. I also really wanted to try the brisket, so I ordered a 1/2 lb of that as well with no side option.
The total for the two meats, fries, and a can of Mt. Dew came out to a little under $18. There was a pretty big back log of orders in front of me, so it took about fifteen minutes for my meal to be bagged up. I couldn’t really decide on what kind of BBQ sauce I wanted, so the lady working the kitchen threw all of them into a bag for me.
Part of this meal I could eat in the car and I had every intention of doing so. I started with the french fries which were packed in with the rib tips. I’m a real big fan of any place that puts a little thought in to their fries and Capital City BBQ does that.
The fries are fresh cut, skin-on potatoes that are just a little greasy and dusted with salt and pepper. I really love this kind of fry that comes out crispy on the outside and soft and flaky in the middle. That little bit of greasiness is an added bonus for me as I like the texture it gives the fries. It’s the way a lot of the good places in Chicago make fries and that’s always been my favorite.
The brisket was next and while I thought I could eat it in the car, I didn’t plan on it being so tender and juicy that it fell apart when I picked it up. The brisket was amazingly good. You can always tell which places inject their brisket with something that will break it down in the smoker. I know a lot of the competitors use a meat enhancer to do this…not saying this (or any other place that I know of) uses this, but they definitely have something to make that meat super juicy, super tender, and super flavorful.
I had to wait until I got back to the office in Grand Rapids to get in to the rib tips. They were way to messy to eat in the car. Heck, they were way to messy to even eat in the office. I went and hid so no one could see my BBQ stained face.
The tender pieces of pork were swimming in a thick, sweet BBQ sauce. The surprising thing to me was that there were no bones in any of the pieces of meat. All of the small bits of pork fell apart as I tried to pick them up and I kept expecting to find something hard, but never did. The only flavor present was the BBQ sauce. I didn’t get any smokiness or anything else and that was fine. The sauce was very tasty and the tender hunks of meat were a perfect delivery vehicle.
Capital City BBQ is legit. It’s a little odd in that it’s a southern BBQ restaurant and a Vietnamese restaurant..those two things don’t usually go together, but it works well here. I talked to a couple people in the restaurant at the time who rave about the Bahn Mi and I could rave all day about the BBQ.