A friend of mine was raving to me about Chili Head Barbeque for a long time before I actually had the chance to try it out. I’m a person that is constantly looking for good barbecue around Massachusetts and Rhode Island because the simple truth is that the local area is hurting for genuinely good BBQ. That’s one reason I was really exited to try Chili Head to see if it could deliver. Around the time of my birthday, I finally got a chance to try out the restaurant when a different friend agreed to meet me out for dinner and treated me to the barbecue meal as a birthday gift.
Chili Head BBQ Co.
320 W Center Street
West Bridgewater, MA 02379
Service and Atmosphere
Getting to Chili Head is relatively easy and off the highway, but even so the area around it feels very rural. That gave the restaurant a more rustic feel before we even went inside. Once we got inside, I noticed that Chili Head had two sections of the restaurant. The first is the bar area to the left and the second is the dining room to the right. My friend and I ended up sitting in the bar area because the restaurant was relatively full at the time.
I, personally, found the service to be very friendly and I enjoyed that the owner stopped by our table to see how we were doing. He highly recommended that we try the smoked wings, which we ended up getting as an appetizer. My friend was turned off by the fact that our server seemed a little flustered and kept forgetting to bring us things like silverware, menus, or to take our order when we were ready. It was a busy night and I was enjoying the evening, so I wasn’t too irritated, but I could see my friend’s point.
Since it was our first time at Chili Head, my friend and I decided to go all out and try a little bit of everything. That meant getting the recommended smoked wings, trying the Chili Head Brew, and getting two different combination plates featuring four different meats! At our table, our server brought over a few bottles of different types of barbecue sauces that ranged from sweet to relatively spicy.
Smoked Wings with Mesquite Seasoning and Tequila Barbecue Sauce on the Side – I was really excited to try these wings considering that they are supposedly smoked for four and a half hours before getting fried. I will say that these wings were noticeably smoky in a good way, but I think we made a mistake getting them with the mesquite seasoning. After the good smoke taste, the overpowering burn of extremely salty seasoning just overwhelmed everything. We regretted the seasoning, but I found the side of tequila barbecue sauce that we ordered with the wings was pretty interesting. I could really taste the tequila in the sauce, which I thought was impressive even if the sauce itself was a little too watery. I would recommend these wings plain or tossed lightly in a barbecue sauce though.
Chili Head Beer – I’m not sure what to say about this beer except that it basically just tasted like a Bud Light. Usually, I would say that there’s nothing wrong with Bud Light if you specifically want a Bud Light (which I totally do on occasion!). Nonetheless, for a restaurant to slap its name on a beer that is supposedly brewed especially for the restaurant, wouldn’t you want it to at least be a good beer? I wasn’t expecting such a light beer when I ordered, so I can’t say that I enjoyed it very much, but if you know what you’re getting, then it’s probably fine. They do have a bunch of craft beers on tap though that change from time to time, so I would suggest trying one of those instead.
Combo 1: Pulled Pork and Brisket – I ordered a two meat combination that had the pulled pork and brisket. Overall, I thought the flavors were pretty good, but the textures were a little off. The pulled pork was really dry, so I found myself dousing it in watery barbecue sauces to get some moisture into the meat. The brisket on the other hand was fatty and a little chewy. I found it hard to cut a lot of the time, but it did taste good with some of the barbecue sauces on the table.
Combo 2: Pork Spare Ribs and Sausage – My friend ordered the ribs and sausage combo plate. The ribs weren’t bad and had some good flavor with a nice outside char, but were a little dry. The piece of rib that I ate also had a ton of cartilage in it, but that’s probably just a poor piece and didn’t really have much to do with the restaurant. As for the sausage, I was pretty disappointed because it tasted just like any Italian Sausage you could make at home. It was charred all over on the outside and a little dry, but otherwise, it was just a normal sausage. I didn’t notice any special treatment like smoking or anything.
Baked Beans and Coleslaw Sides – The two side dishes that I ordered were the baked beans and the coleslaw. I thought both dishes tasted pretty good and complimented the bbq really well. The coleslaw wasn’t overly dressed, but had the right crunch and tangy-ness. The baked beans were tender and mildly sweet as they should be. The sides were solid without any frills, but that’s what I like in a good side at any barbecue restaurant.
“Corn Bread” – I’m not sure what to say about this cornbread other than that this was the worst piece of corn bread I’ve ever had. Both my friend and I absolutely love it when a barbecue joint includes a side of cornbread with an entree because we really look forward to it. We were really excited about the cornbread once we realized our dishes came with some. When our plates arrived, the cornbread was in some kind of plastic sleeve, which made me wonder whether or not Chili Head makes their own cornbread or buys it from somewhere else. If they are buying it from somewhere, they should just find another supplier. If they make it themselves, they need a new recipe. This was like eating a piece of almost flavorless, but still really sweet, soft, corn cake. Neither my friend or I even tried to finish our corn bread.
I was really rooting for Chili Head to blow my mind, but it didn’t really come through. The food is pretty average overall and the general theme of the food was dry meats that required the addition of overly watery barbecue sauces. The most disappointing thing is that I could tell a lot of effort goes into the food, but it just didn’t translate onto the plate. I would only recommend Chili Head if you were just really desperate for some barbecue and you were in the immediate area. The restaurant seems to have a pretty loyal following of people who do love it though, so try it out for yourself.