The pork ribs are succulent after three to four hours of cooking, still clinging to the bone but tender and without too much char. Asked about his rub, Sammy Maualuga himself shrugs — just salt, pepper and garlic. Fair enough. The sauce on the table is Ray's, but everyone seems to prefer the sweet chili in the squeeze bottle. Taste the Kalua pulled pork before you touch the sauce — 14 hours on the rotisserie brings out the meat's deep flavors, like the pork roast pan drippings you sneak in the kitchen. (Oh, we see you.) The teriyaki chicken is also the real deal: juicy, nicely charred and well marinated.
Sides are similarly classic. The macaroni salad is the comforting mayo, onion, salt and pepper with paprika on top recipe that you remember from childhood picnics and that nobody will freaking make for you anymore. Ditto the soft, nearly mashed potato salad. Choose one of these and opt for the pineapple slaw for your second side; the chunks of fruit, Napa cabbage and cilantro are a refreshing balance to the meat.
Get a table out back on the "boatyard seating" deck if it's sunny and enjoy a view of weathered boats in the inlet. No wonder the Maualuga family (yes, that Maualuga family
) eats out there almost every week when the place closes for Sunday dinner.
Barbecue has gotten a little esoteric. At once secretive and boastful, the macho hype surrounding the grill can make you long for the simple sweetness of pork cooked low and slow without all the fuss. This is a good time to swing into King Salmon for hole-in-the-wall Polynesian barbecue at Sammy's BBQ & Catering (1125 King Salmon Ave.). Two meats and two sides will run you $12.