Tuesday, November 8, 2011

(Counter Service Cuisine: Flame Tree BBQ)

I can't tell you how many times I would walk past Flame Tree Barbecue without a care, until I saw a Food Network Special on this magnificent spot in the Animal Kingdom. Cast members wake up at unheard of hours in the morning to start the process of cooking the ribs, pork and chicken served here - that was the point that they stressed in the TV special. So, armed with my new knowledge of what is supposed to be one of Disney's best bets, we made our first visit in May of 2009.

Let me first start by saying that I'm not a really big meat eater. I don't dislike it, but given the choice between meat and vegetables, the veggies almost always win. There is something about the amazing smells that come from Flame Tree Barbecue, however, that make you want to have just a taste. For $10.49 (current 2011 prices), you can get a rack of St. Louis ribs served with baked beans and a corn muffin. We typically split the meal, and grab a french fries basket to go along with it. The meal is not complete without a cup of coleslaw.

Like I said, I'm no meat expert, but I like the ribs here. They are a dry-rub as opposed to a sauce, and the meat is perfectly tender. I typically eat about two ribs and let J chow down on the rest, but the baked beans are all mine! Lines here get very long; clearly, many people agree with my assessment of the food. My suggestion would be to skip breakfast on your Animal Kingdom day and hop in line right at 11am when Flame Tree opens. You will avoid the manic crowds and score a great seat! There are seats surrounding the restaurant, but don't settle for those - take your tray of food and walk down towards the water, where you will find a fantastic little pavilion with a picture-perfect view of Expedition Everest.

If you ask me, Flame Tree Barbecue really delivers. It's not the best counter service restaurant in Disney by any means, but it generally lives up to its hype and has something for everyone in the family. Other offerings here include a pulled pork sandwich (which looks super yum), 1/2 chicken, and a barbecue chicken salad for those wanting a lighter offering. Give it a try - I think it really adds something to the Animal Kingdom experience.

By the way, that makes me wonder...what is the best counter service restaurant in Walt Disney World? Tell me what you think!

Happy Eating!

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