11520 Northup Way
Bellevue WA 98004
Have you met "The Man" at Dixie's?
By: Steve G
I've met the man.
And I got a scorched tongue and bumper sticker to prove it.
Dixie's BBQ is one of the best known, hard to find places in Puget Sound. Located in a converted Auto Shop, it's almost impossible to find with its very small non-descript sign simply saying "Dixie's." In fact, if you didn't know where it was you would probably drive past it several times.
As you go through the front door, a doorway to the right leads into the dining area. Straight ahead is the area where you order your food. They have the register and all different types of meats ready to go and cooked fresh that day. Gene Porter, the ornery owner of Dixie's BBQ, always welcomes every guest as they come through the door. Some might be a little intimidated from his opposing stature and personality, but that's part of the charm of eating here. Gene Porter has a way of instantly nicknaming people as he greets them. Being from L.A., I sealed my fate with the nickname "California." Grant was dubbed simply "Oregon", and Bryan was merely scoffed at for being a local. He then gave us a pin to put on the map to mark what city we were from. It was filled with tons of pins, and I was reasonably impressed until I took a big step back and looked up at the ceiling of the entire dining room.
Maps. Several of them hanging from the wall. Each one completely covered with pins.
It made me realize the scope of popularity that Dixie's has built up over the years. Craziest thing about it is that the Porter family has never done any mass marketing. Taking a page out of the Starbucks playbook, It's all been through word of mouth.
We opted for the Dinner Special that came with beef ribs, pork ribs, hot links, beef brisket, and chicken. The portions are huge and even with all of that for $20, it also comes with a heaping side of corn bread and container chili! Needless to say, we opted to share one dinner special and headed over to the dining area. Tender is the key term for Dixie's bbq. Every piece of meat simply slid off of the bone, while the sauce gave it a sweet honey like that was lightly smoky.
The seating area isn't particularly noteworthy. Tons of picnic tables and folding chairs are available for customers and a water jug sitting in the fridge for those who need to quench their thirst.
Of course, the biggest draw is the notorious hot sauce known as "The Man". Made in a small pot whose pitch black contents look like peering into the depths of hell itself, Gene is always quick to make you "sample" some of it on your plate.
As Gene approached me with the cauldron of fiery heat, he muttered, "Have you met the man?" I replied, "Yeah, I have." I've had it twice before and can recollect with great clarity the deep burning sensation that resided in my mouth for several minutes. That was something that I didn't want to do again.
Unfortunately for me, Gene didn't see it that way and made me meet him again. Thankfully, he directed me to the peanuts to soothe the pain but proceeded to chuckle at my weakness for spicy food. I took a mental note to order take-out next time I visit Dixie's so I can avoid the man. Discounting the "The Man" experience, Dixie's BBQ is one of the best options for barbeque in the Puget Sound area. Tender meat, huge portions, and cheap prices result in making a must visit.