My kid had an all day sports camp in Cedar Rapids, IA, so I decided to spend some time (and money) at The Grill Works for smoker supplies and rubs. Also on my agenda was to find a BBQ joint to sample some of the local flavors.

One person pointed me to The Blind Pig, but upon sitting down and opening the menu, the only thing that resembled BBQ on the menu was a pulled pork sandwich. I declined to order and went out in search of a more authentic stop.

I found QDogs, and gave them a shot. I'm very thankful I did.

This is an authentic BBQ joint. Upon sitting down, I noticed a KCBS sign hanging on the wall, but didn't observe any trophies (I don't think they compete). The beer selection was outstanding, with several top-notch Iowa breweries represented (Several Toppling Goliath on tap, Exile, Backpocket and Great River just to name a few). Unfortunately, I had to continue a road trip later, so I couldn't indulge.

Anyhow, the menu is typical BBQ scaffolding with all the expectations of a BBQ joint. Of course, I had to have the BBQ sampler, which consisted of three meats, some garlic bread and one side. I chose the brisket, pulled pork and ribs. The waitress returned from the kitchen and said that they don't have any sampler-sized ribs during the afternoon, but gave me several other choices, from which I switched to bacon-wrapped sausage.

5 minute wait. Food arrived.

Overall: You could definitely tell that this was really smoked stuff, although the smoke permeation wasn't as high as I personally would have liked. There was definitely bark and ring on it though, so I know it was real. In fact, in both my brisket and pulled pork servings, the bark was appropriately proportioned to the meat (I hate paying for bark-less portions!!!!)

Brisket: Excellent. My slices appear to have come from the flat, but it was still moist. Great flavor. One of the better briskets I've had in Iowa.

Pulled pork: Okay. Like I said, the bark was represented well, but there really wasn't a lot of flavor to it; pork, rub or otherwise.

Bacon-wrapped Sausage: This was a surprise winner on my plate, as I'm normally a brisket/rib/pulled pork guy. I'm not crazy about sausage, but this took me to a whole different level. Very happy with this.

Side: I chose the cheesy potatoes. Nothing to really write home about here (sorry QDogs!). Tastes like cheesy hashbrowns my wife makes in the crock pot at home -- which is great, by the way. But, if I'm out at a BBQ restaurant, give me something to raise my eyebrows at, will ya? Maybe smoke it heavy for a couple hours? Make it special. Maybe mix in some diced leftover brisket or sausage? Take it to the next level.

Sauces available table-side: House, Hot, Vinegar, Mustard. I tried all four, and with all my meats. I tried all four on all three meats, and decided that they really didn't enhance the meal -- which is a great sign of good food. I'm a glutten for BBQ mustard, and really liked it in combination with the sausage, but I have to say that all three of these meats stand much better on their own naked. That's a compliment right there.

Funny story: As I'm looking over the menu, a family is seated a couple tables away. I hear the mother ask the waitress if they could heat up some of the kid's food because it had gotten cold. "Could you throw this in the microwave for a little bit to heat it up?" The waitress then apologized genuinely and said that the restaurant doesn't have a microwave. I FRIGGIN LOVE IT!!!!!!!! Bravo to the owners on that one.

I'd definitely recommend this restaurant in Cedar Rapids if you're looking for Que.