Las Vegas: TOP NOTCH BARBECUE…Like the Name Says

You can't beat this guy's meat!
You can't beat this guy's meat!

By John Curtas | Eating Las Vegas

As you might know, ELV is no fan of food trucks. They’re just a trendy way to eat cheap (and standing up) whilst feeling good about doing so. Ya gotta hand it to the people behind these traveling taco circuses though, they’ve figured out a way to get office workers eating something other than Subway, so for that we are thankful.

But we also expect them to turn up any day now on the website: Stuff White People Like. Because essentially food trucks are simply white people eating the way Mexican day laborers have for decades. And for decades white people felt sorry for all those poor working stiffs who had to eat food standing up…out of a truck.

But we don’t anymore….feel sorry for them or mind eating out of truck…so that’s a good thing. Right?

Righteous ribs and spicy beans

Regardless of his general feelings about these rolling “restaurants,” ELV specifically found the ‘cue being put out by James “Jimmy” Cole from his Top Notch Barbecue truck to be all that its name promised.

It scored points right off the bat by not being made by white people. Good, meaty beef ribs, properly smoked, tender (but not too tender) with a nice rub and a nice bite to them. Cole’s homemade sauce is a not-too-sweet-tomato-based-winner too. As were his spicy baked beans and the very sweet sweet potato casserole. (Just the way ELV’s mammy used to make it.)

As good as those were, though, it was his $6 pulled pork sandwich topped with Cincinnati chili that grabbed our attention. This slightly spicy meat bomb might be the apotheosis of protein, and is worth seeking out for its quirkiness as well as its flavor.

FYI: Our barbecue trail led us from the parking lot of Plant World on West Charleston (where Top Notch parked) to downtown to sample another recent entry into Vegas’ barbecue sweepstakes. It was no contest. The recently-opened downtown joint (which shall remain nameless) was so bad, ELV and his ‘cue companion were speechless. Tough, undercooked and un-seasoned ribs, were only half the problem. The pulled pork had not a hint of smoke to it, and could’ve been steamed for all it looked and tasted of.

But Cole’s meat is so good we didn’t mind a bit eating out of the back of Bruce “Barbecue Boy” Bloch’s SUV, and we plan on finding Jimmy for some more Cincinnati-style ‘cue no matter where he’s parked…or where we have to stand.

BBBB picked up the tab…but we’re guessing it ran around $20 for all of the above food + a couple of sodas.


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