QN4U BBQ: Finally A Decent Meal

I ate at QN4U last Friday night and finally, finally had a good meal.  Several years ago when they opened I was eagerly anticipating my first meal there.  The owner is an umpteen time BBQ champion and is a well-respected in the BBQ world.  Back in the day when he first was starting out in Clovis (from what I understand he was catering prior), he was everywhere.  His sauce was launching in stores, he was cooking in street fairs, and he was featured on local TV shows.  Man I thought I was going to have a massive BBQ high after eating his food.  I was sadly disappointed.

It turns out that being a champion on the BBQ circuit wasn’t helping to translate into good restaurant food.  The first meal I had the side dishes were terrible. The ribs and brisket was fatty and certainly not even close to trophy material.  On my second visit, which was a few months later and early in the week, the ribs were almost certainly day old.  I was so disappointed.  I felt like there was no hope finding good BBQ in Fresno.  At the time, Ruben’s Rib Shack and Smoked Them Bones weren’t open and there wasn’t even a Famous Dave’s!!!  I swore I would never go back.

Until…..

Have you even had one of those conversations about where to eat when everyone is starving and no one can think of anything that sounds good?  You’ve already eaten at the same places so many times and you just can’t stand the thought of another meal even though it’s good food.  Well, long story short I blurted out in frustration, “Let’s just go to QN4U.  If it sucks again, than that’s three strikes and I’ll really never go back!”  It was settled and off we went.

So how was the food?  I am happy to report that the food was actually good.  The ribs were smoked nicely with the appropriate amount of sauce.  The sauce is very sweet.  Competition sauce is generally sweet and they’re probably using the same stuff in the restaurant.  The mac-n-cheese had a nice tangy cheese incorporated with perfectly cooked noodles.  Even the cornbread muffin was enjoyable.  This was such a change from a few years ago.

Ribs and Mac. Better than tots.

My dining partners were also happy with the pulled pork.  I tried it and found it to be nice and moist.  The portion sizes are humongous so guaranteed you will not leave hungry.

Pulled Pork and Cole Slaw.

Qn4u on Urbanspoon

So far so good.  For now, QN4U is slowly making its way back into the circle of trust and I will probably go back again to verify consistency.  Give them a try next time you’re in the barnyard shopping center.  Does that shopping center name bother anyone else?

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12 Responses to QN4U BBQ: Finally A Decent Meal

  1. Donna says:

    The ribs and mac photo is making my mouth water, my weakness, just need a Blue Moon to go along with it. :)

  2. Delaine Zody says:

    As for that Barnyard name…the center was built back in the day when the Barnyard Shopping Center in Carmel was very popular. The idea was to be upscale with an ag touch. Unfortunately, the center never hit the upscale target that the Carmel center did.

  3. I heard mixed things about QN4U as well, so thanks for going in with 2 strikes and 2 outs in the bottom half. I might wait for your follow up though before I step up to the plate. Thanks for letting us know it’s on the sweet side of BBQ.

    With the recent buzz about Los Banos, I might hit BBQ there first.

  4. Les Ciapponi says:

    I was at a family event last summer that QN4U catered and it was quite good. They did the whole pig thing.

  5. Oliver says:

    QN4U has always been mediocre and inconsistent for me. I give ‘em a try every few months. The staff always seems disinterested, and at least during lunch it’s always a ghost town in there. The pulled pork is consistently good (not great), and everything else varies.

    I’m guessing you landed there on a “good” night…

    • fresnobites says:

      Yeah probably. That’s why I noted my last experience was early in the week. I think Fri-Sat nights are the best times to go. That’s when the meat will be freshest.

  6. Robert says:

    QN4U is hit & miss. Everything depends what day u go and who is helping. Not good. Like I have said before, u can’t serve comoetition BBQ in a restaurant. Too expensive. Famous Dave’s doesn’t do it. Imo, they suck. Also, I just don’t care much for sauce. If it’s sweet, worse.

    Hot City BBQ in Los Banos is pretty good. Get there early, because when they qre out, that’s it. They close.

  7. cambriana says:

    Since there are now so many GOOD BBQ places in Fresno, why bother with this place? They may be able to win trophies, but they can’t run a restaurant..I’ve given this place too many shots, and they’ve failed every time with their cold/lukewarm meats and their miniscule portions and high prices… they should stick to contests and leave the BBQ to Watts, Beckie’s, and that family who sells their stuff on the street over near Van Ness and Bremer (best BBQ EVER!) when you can find em…..

  8. Borbality says:

    Had two out of three awful experiences here, one decent, not going back. As Cambriana mentioned, why bother when there are other consistently good places?

    Everything was just so loaded with fat I couldn’t believe it. I’m glad to see they do serve a decent meal at times, and I hope they get their act together and stay open and successful, but I’m not taking my chances.

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