Utensils? They’re optional. What are we talking about, barbecue of course. In the DVC Duo house, barbecue is a family passion and we’ll say a sensitive and often debated subject. Every family has a certain dish or meal that no restaurant can do better, in their minds. For us, it’s barbecue. Every time we head over to the Animal Kingdom the smoke pits of Flame Tree Barbecue captures our attention, but we’ve held back out of sheer stubbornness. After years of both DVC and non-DVC members recommending we give it a try, we sat down on the patio for a plate of Flame Tree Barbecue.
Some say location is everything for a restaurant, others say people will seek out great food no matter where it is. Either way, the location of Flame Tree Barbecue is perfect in many ways. Located on Discovery Island, right outside of Dinoland, the quick serve location has ample seating with dizzying views of an ominous mountain in the distance (Everest).
All of the seating is outdoors, with the majority shaded by either the trees or open air awnings. The part we enjoyed most was how peaceful it was, definitely a great place to escape and recharge a bit while in the Animal Kingdom.
Why We’re Here
We’re here for the smoke ring, the good stuff, obviously. Situated just behind the front counter were the smokers, beautiful wood-burning smokers. We were off to a good start with a sight like that. We ordered the ribs, chicken and pulled pork sampler – go big or go home! The platter was served with a side of baked beans and coleslaw of course, how else would you serve barbecue? Sadly, no white sandwich bread, but we’ll let it slide.
The ribs were smoked to perfection. They were tender, juicy and did not fall right off the bone. There was a sweet/smoky but not cloying sauce as well that was applied perfectly. Too often we find ribs are over smoked to a point where all the meat falls off the bone when you try to pick them up. That’s a no no in our world. Not these, they were perfectly tender to the point where the meat would pull easily away from the bone, but not fall off when you picked them up.
On to the pulled pork, a Nate favorite. Much to our delight this was a great representation of pulled pork. The pulled pork is served either by itself or on a sandwich, with the sauce on the side. The sauce of the side is nice touch, as it gives you an opportunity to fix it the way you like. For us, we go for the meat, no sauce thank you. This porky goodness was soft and velvety in texture while still holding its shred shape. It was well smoked and seasoned simply. The only thing missing for us was the crunchy bark, as our portion didn’t include any.
Last was the chicken. One of the most underrated and challenging barbecue options. It is so easy to overcook and dry out chicken. Well, we’re happy to say that Flame Tree Barbecue did not disappoint. We would almost say the chicken stole the show. It was so juicy and well seasoned with simple garlic, salt, pepper (and we’re sure a few other spices) which didn’t overpower the chicken.
With barbecue the sides are just as important as the meats. For us, the baked beans were pretty decent, not overcooked, nice sauce. Fairly standard but very solid. The coleslaw was a classic simply dressed slaw that worked well with the pulled pork. Not overdressed which can be a real drag.
Passholder Insight: Flame Tree Barbecue tends to have longer lines to order. When we went, we ordered via mobile ordering and it worked flawlessly. By the time we found a table our food was ready. Give it a try, worst case you can enjoy the views while you wait.
Washing It All Down
There are a variety of drinks options, but on this day we went simple with a Diet Coke. Flame Tree Barbecue does offer beer and wine, and previously we’ve had the Safari Amber. If you’re looking for fuller beer with a carmel malty finish, then say no more.
The big question is did we get over our barbecue stubbornness? We’ve excited to say, yes! Flame Tree Barbecue is definitely serving up some good food. If you’re in the mood for barbecue we would recommend it. The most impressive thing is how they prepare such quantities of barbecue, done pretty close to the right way, in the middle of the Animal Kingdom. We’ll definitely be “herding” back sooner than later! Save us some napkins!