Well-kept secret

The name refers to the sauce, not the location, though it's easy to see why you'd make that mistake. It's a Secret is tucked away behind a gas station near the intersection of Curry Ford Road and Bumby Avenue. (It's the old Hungry Howie's location, if you know your way around the area.) There's no sign outside to help you navigate, just an inconspicuous notice on the door that you're there.

It's worth the trouble, though. On a recent visit I tried the barbecued chicken (half $3.69, whole $6.49) and the pork ribs (half slab $9, full slab $16). Both were tender, moist and suffused with the smoky flavor that makes or breaks a barbecue joint. The ribs deserve special mention for their juicy, sloppy goodness.

The sauce shouldn't be a secret, because everything is smothered in it (you can get it on the side, but why?). I ordered it hot; it came out only mildly spicy, but I'm a fan anyway. Many barbecue sauces are too sweet or too heavy on the liquid smoke; this one had a proper balance of these two essential elements. Very nice.

Sides include sweet potato pie, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and baked beans. It's old-school barbecue comfort food in unassuming surroundings at reasonable prices. It's a Secret is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, if you can find it.

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