Saturday, August 2, 2014

4 Rivers Smokehouse

Last night, we met some of our international students, and their host families & parents at 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park.  They wanted an American dining experience, and I thought you can't get much more American than barbeque.  

The 4 Rivers location in Winter Park, which is a fast-casual restaurant, often has a line around the building, but when we arrived at 5:00, we were able to order right away.  

This was not our first time dining at 4 Rivers, but armed with some recommendations from my blog readers, I decided to expand my horizons and try some new things.  

When I asked for the Six Shooter minus the slaw and jalapenos, the employee helping me suggested I order the pulled pork sandwich, subbing baked cheese grits for the bun, then I would have the option of getting two sides.  Tonight, I chose my favorite smokehouse corn, and sweet potato casserole for my sides.  The corn was as amazing as it always is, and I enjoyed the sweet potato casserole, but it was a tad sweet for me.  The sweet potato pineapple casserole I make at home contains no sugar.   

Here's a close up of the pulled pork they piled on top of a square of baked cheese grits.  Even though I had a huge lunch at Outback, and wasn't the slightest bit hungry, I ate every single bite!  I have a hard time resisting cheese grits, and I love the pulled pork and brisket at 4 Rivers.  Next time, I plan on ordering this with their signature Angus brisket on top.  

My husband and daughters ordered brisket with french fries and baked beans, which is another gluten free side.  The baked beans at 4 Rivers are the best baked beans I have ever had.  I usually like to eat them right on top of my meat.  The french fries are not safe because of possible cross contamination issues in the fryer.  The only thing I am not crazy about at 4 Rivers is their BBQ sauce, which isn't as sweet or thick as I prefer, but I grew up eating a different kind of BBQ sauce up north.  We do use their brisket rub on all of the barbeque we make at home, but I am addicted to Guy Fieri's Bourbon Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce.

All of the sauces and dressings, as well as most of the proteins and sides at 4 Rivers Smokehouse are gluten free.  You can view their allergen and gluten menu here.  They also have a copy in the restaurant for you to look at.

I was impressed that when I mentioned I had celiac and was worried about cross contamination when they opened my pack of grits with previously used gloves, every single employee on the line changed their gloves and I was given a new square of baked cheese grits.

August 13, 2014 Update

We had dinner tonight at 4 Rivers to celebrate the successful completion of week 1 of school.  I ordered a brisket sandwich on baked cheese grits instead of a bun, with sides of baked beans and smokehouse corn.  I added baked beans to each bite of my brisket & cheese grits.  All I can say is wow!  I must caution you though, to not only make sure the employees change their gloves, but also tell them not to put your meat anywhere they place bread.  I saw my meat slid onto an area of the cutting board where bread had been sitting earlier, so I mentioned it to one of the servers, and he got me a new order of meat and grits.

April 28, 2015 Update

The baked cheese grits are now marked as containing gluten on 4 Rivers' allergens list.  4 Rivers posted this statement on my Facebook page - "Recently, we made a change to one of our ingredients in the cheese grits and it contains trace amount of gluten.  We changed our allergen list to reflect this.  We're currently in the process of switching back to the gluten-free product we originally had.  We are hoping this change will be reflected at all of our Smokehouse locations by the end of May, and we will update our allergen list as soon as the product is back in place."

September 16, 2015 Update 

I just checked 4 Rivers' allergens & gluten list, and the baked cheese grits no longer contain gluten.  Great news!  

4 Rivers currently has locations in Winter Park, Winter Garden, Longwood, East Orlando near UCF, Orange Park, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tampa, and Tallahassee.  You can read more about 4 Rivers Smokehouse on their website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at 4 Rivers Smokehouse?


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