New 'Cue in Town
My expectations for the new R.U.B. BBQ Pub at Packard and State were not high. Smoked-meat joints opened around Ann Arbor in recent years have proved darn delicious, as well as atmospheric in folksy ways. Biercamp, Satchel's, and Ypsi's Red Rock are already cherished as homespun local venues, and they offer convenient parking.
So when Detroit area offshoot R.U.B. arrived this winter at Ann Arbor's most congested campus area intersection, flickering with the glow of nineteen (!) television screens over seemingly endless bar counters in a location that has changed hands every few years as long as I can remember, well, it was hard to be hopeful for rewarding food and fun. A hectic to-go pickup order early on, an underwhelming and chaotic appetizer sampler on limp lettuce, left me nervous about returning to explore the rest of the vast menu.
I am so happy to have been wrong. R.U.B.--the initials stand for "real urban barbecue"--serves its newest city with a lively lineup of rubbed, smoked, and smartly sassy entrees. Chicken, beef, and pork sizzle to perfection in a giant smoker, emerging well spiced, crusty-edged when promised, and surprisingly moist inside.