by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
Brent Walton took up barbecuing as a hobby ten years ago to help him recover from his first heart attack. In April, another attack ended his life, but his legacy lives on at the QN4U BBQ House in Clovis.
This place is serious Q, people! You can tell it by the trophies, ribbons, and awards in the display cases and above the booths and bar.
My favorite starter for the evening is a platter of sweet potato fries, crispy on the outside and succulent on the interior. Dip them in “Qpotle,” a chipotle sauce that is not hot enough to burn your tongue, but that will definitely tenderize your palate for the main event. The biggest problem you’ll face is what to choose. You can go with ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, or…!
The ribs are why every table comes with a roll of paper towels. They are messy, meaty, juicy, and delicious. The pulled pork has been pulled into microfibers, so tender that a person with sesame seeds stuck under their denture plate would feel no discomfort. The brisket clings to the sauce for dear life because it knows how good they are together. A friend had his first QN4U experience with a half chicken that left him amazed. He is an eating machine, but this is the first place I’ve seen him take home leftovers.
The “Fully Loaded” Baked Potato comes in three flavors: brisket, turkey, and pulled pork. The potato could be hollowed out and used as a canoe, and after you chop up the potato flesh, mix in the meat, and add the butter, sour cream, chives, and BBQ sauce, you have a terrific meal…or two…and maybe a midnight snack, as well. Turkey is featured on the open-faced “Hot Sandy,” covered with a cheese sauce, bacon, and tomato over French bread; it’s my wife’s favorite. The “Best Burger Ever” is a half-pound of chuck with bleu cheese, beef bacon, and Qpotle, which will stay with you for quite a while, then linger on as a treasured memory.
There is a dangerous New York Steak Sandwich on the menu, but I have to tell you about the “Texas Tommie.” Start with a foot-long hot-dog bun, slice open a mammoth hot dog that will stick out several inches beyond the bread, stuff it with sharp cheddar and jalapeños, wrap it in bacon…and deep-fry it! If that doesn’t raise your cholesterol level, just reading about it, you aren’t alive.
The side dishes are scrumptious! The mac and cheese is nothing like a store-bought mix, with a thick cheese sauce bubbling in whiteness around thick tubes of macaroni. I love the grilled vegetables, wedges of zucchini that do everything but dance around your plate, crooning “Taste me! Taste me!” The chunky coleslaw showcases golden raisins. There are black beans studding the BBQ beans. The dirty rice is nice. The potato salad is a drool-maker, and they offer “Real Fries.”
Desserts! They’ve got desserts! Fried pies, cheesecake, pecan pie, and a raisiny bread pudding drizzled with a raspberry sauce.
Although Brent is gone, his wife, Kim Walton, is keeping the doors open…to the glee of tummies in the Valley. Bring your friends!
A scholarship fund has been established. Donations can be sent to: Brent Walton Memorial BBQ Scholarship Fund, 1414 Clovis Ave, Clovis, CA, 93612.
QN4U BBQ House is at 1414 Clovis Avenue in Clovis, part of the Barnyard Center between Shaw Avenue and Barstow Avenue, opening at 11 a.m. seven days a week. There is also QN4U BBQ & Spirits at 3874 Blackstone Avenue in Fresno, south of Ashlan Avenue, site of the former Rep’s. Like them on Facebook.