Since very few of us slaughter pigs with a knife and then devour the giblets over an open flame, eating barbecued ribs is one of the most primitive culinary delights a modern, civilized human being can experience. There’s something caveman-macabre about peeling a rib off the rack with your fingers, gripping the meat with your teeth and then hearing that distinctive hollow ring when you drop the clean bone back onto the plate. Though ribs are typically slathered—there is no other proper adjective—with thick sauce that stains your fingers and gets under your nails, attacking ribs with a knife and fork seems absurdly inappropriate.
Fat Daddy’s, located in the old Tastings in Kihei Kalama Village, sells very good ribs. This, for a barbecue joint that has the word “Smokehouse” in the title, should be mandatory. Fat Daddy’s ribs come barbecued in a Texas sauce that delivers a slight kick that doesn’t overstay its welcome. They come by the rack, half rack or on a plate with a couple side dishes.
There are no stuffed animal heads hanging on the walls (plenty of old 33 album covers, though) or visible slabs of beef dripping into a roaring fire, in Fat Daddy’s, but the place is definitely a carnivore’s dream. You can get pulled pork (the American Southwestern version of Hawai‘i’s kalua pork) in a plate lunch, on a sandwich or even by the pound.
There are also a similar number of options for brisket—which comes sliced thin with plenty of sauce. And then there are the smoked brats—thick sausage links served with mustard or barbecue sauce. Fat Daddy’s is a place that also, unabashedly, offers a bowl of “Toby’s Texas Chili” (Toby refers to Toby Shadle, the owner) topped with Fritos corn chips, sour cream, onions, jalepenos and cheese.
Like any good barbecue joint, Fat Daddy’s offers a lot of side order options. When I first saw the BBQ beans, I thought the server had mistakenly brought me a bowl of chili—no matter, they were good and just spicy enough. There’s also white rice and corn, if you want to be pedestrian.
For those wanting some kind of produce on their plate, there’s plain, reliable cole slaw. But the watercress salad is far more interesting and comes drenched in a tasty shoyu dressing.
The Mac ‘N Cheese, though offering a substantial portion of macaroni, could stand a bit more cheese. As for the cornbread, that’s good enough for dessert.
Fat Daddy’s has a tiny enclosed patio and a bar with a couple beer taps (they also offer Maui Brewing Company beers by the can), which comes in real handy around football time. MTW