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If you are looking for barbecue in Topeka, Boss Hawg's would be a good place to start. In Kansas barbecue is very popular and everyone has their preference. I have yet to find mine, but Boss Hawg's was, like I said, a good place to start.
The restaurant is also a bar, known as Pig Skins, so you can choose to sit in the bar or restaurant, like a lot of places. The booths are round and they also have bar stools and tables to sit at, with huge TVs on the walls. I chose to sit in the bar so I could watch TV.
I ordered the wings as an appetizer because they are smoked, and it's hard to find smoked wings in Topeka - maybe I'm not looking in the right places. The smoky flavor was immediately apparent and I think much better than other wings that aren't smoked.
They serve them in three flavors, barbecue, naked or buffalo-style and with a choice of sauces ranch, bleu cheese or prairie fire dipping sauce. I chose to go half and half, with buffalo and barbecue with ranch dressing. The ranch was ranch, and the wings were special because they were smoked.
I decided to order something that would allow me to taste various items because I wanted to do a thorough review of their barbecue items - and they have a lot. I ordered the Hawg Heaven, which has a lot of meat. A quarter rack of ribs, a quarter smoked chicken, smoked sausage and a quarter pound of any of our shredded smoked meats and a choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked ham or smoked turkey served with baby back ribs or with spareribs. I got the baby back ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket for my choices.
The smoked sausage was my favorite. It had cheese in it, too and the smoke was there but not overpowering. The chicken was also tasty - with a crackly-smoked skin and juicy, smoky meat inside. I had to remind myself I had other meat to try so I wouldn't get full on the chicken alone.
The ribs were tender and fell right off the bone. They serve them without sauce but they have sauce on the table, which is good because I like my ribs with sauce - although these didn't necessarily need it.
The pulled pork was a little too tender for me - I felt like it kind of melted in my mouth. I want chocolate to melt in my mouth, not pork. I would have liked to see more chunks of meat and for it not to have been so shredded.
I absolutely loved the French fries. I know they are just frozen and bought-in, but they were lovely. They look like house-cut steak fries but they are a little thinner. They were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and not soggy at all - I despise soggy fries.
The brisket was my second favorite after the chicken. It was chunked up and with the addition of their spicy barbecue sauce it was tender, flavorful and just a little spicy.
I loved the coleslaw and it's the best slaw I have had in this town. It was creamy and fresh, the slaw was crunchy, not soggy, so you could tell they make it in house. It was a nice addition to the plate of meat that I ordered.
Overall, I enjoyed my experience. If you aren't much for barbecue they also have a menu that features sandwiches, tacos, fajitas and other food like that. I want to return and try their chimichanga - I love those.
I look forward to returning and trying other items on their menu. They have lunch specials as well as family-sized meals that will feed five to six people, these are called "beast feasts".
Pricing is a little high, I must say. None of their sandwiches are under $9.50 and their appetizers are all over $8 except for their fried pickles, which are priced at $6.99. Their lunch specials have some items priced around $7, but not many of them.
The service was okay. The waitress started off strong, bringing us our drinks quickly and our appetizer and food. Then our friends met us a little later and they didn't get as good of service. I didn't have a bad experience, but my friend had to wait on his beer and he wasn't happy with that.
The website for Boss Hawg's is currently under construction but if you Google search the restaurant, you can find a link to their menu.