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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Canton Ohio's Angry BBQ brings the attitude and effort

There is no doubt that Angry BBQ in Canton, Ohio has enough attitude to back up its name. The first thing you see when walking in is a large snarling pig looking back at you through the window.

The face of the restaurant, part of the company's logo, also appears on the walls inside and is accompanied by a couple dozen snarky signs that will make you think.

For example, this question had never occurred to me -- "Can fat people go skinny dipping?"

According to new executive manager William Boyd, the "angry" concept may be going away soon, in favor of something more down home. But we hope that he doesn't change his approach to the food too much. During a recent visit to Canton, we twice visited Angry BBQ, located in strip mall at 4640 Belden Village St., NW.

BBQ Fried Baked Chicken with Kennebec fries
While there are limits to what results you can get from a Southern Pride smoker, we found the pulled pork to be moist and flavorful. The chicken could have used more of a smoke ring, but it had nice taste. We did not try the barbecued ribs.

I tried something unique, the "BBQ Fried Baked Chicken." They place the chicken in the smoker for about 40 minutes, then cut it into pieces and batter fry it. 

The food is sauced near the end, but can be requested on the side. Appropriately, the place offers three sauces – “Sweet,” “Angry” and “Mad as Hell,” which offer a range of spiciness. 

One area where Angry Barbecue excels is the sides. The baked beans had an unexpected spicy kick along with molasses and some pork cooked in. The slaw was creamy and the macaroni and cheese was genuinely cheesy. 

Pulled pork and baked beans
The fresh cut French fries also were a cut above. Boyd told me that he uses Kennebec potatoes, which have become a fashionable spud at many finer restaurants.

You’ll rarely see Kennebec potatoes in grocery stores. The light tan, thin-skinned has a minimal water quantity, which enables restaurateurs to provide a firm, french fry that browns beautifully and retains more of a potato flavor. Thankfully for me, I got an entire basket with my meal. 

Also on the menu are wings, a catfish fillet served on top of jambalaya and the “Devil Dog” hot dog.

Within the last month, Angry BBQ went through an ownership change and Boyd, who has more than 20 years of cooking and management experience, previously was director of food service for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. 

According to a new release, the Canton native previously was at The Tangier in nearby Akron, Flip Side, an upscale burger place in Columbus and GuckenheimerFood Services’ Nourish CafĂ©. He has often featured fresh and unprocessed foods.

Chicken and cole slaw
“We are confident William will lead Angry Barbeque in a manner that meets with our expectations,” Rob Johnston, partner of Angry Barbeque, said in the release. “We are in the process of a facelift for the in-house experience, while at the same time increasing our focus on catering.”

Boyd is expected to retain popular recipes from Angry BBQ, while adding new menu items which complement the new concept. 

Canton features more than a half dozen reputable barbecue joints, During our next visit, we hope to try TwoFat Guys Barbecue, Hog Heaven, Flamin’ Pigs and Old Carolina Barbecue Company. If you haven’t seen it, please look at my recent blog post about Kennedy’s BBQ.

Competition is good. It makes everyone get better or out of the way. It will be interesting to see where Boyd takes Angry BBQ next.

Location we visited:
Angry BBQ
4640 Belden Village St., NW.
Canton, Ohio
Angry Barbeque on Urbanspoon

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