When it comes to smoking hot barbecue, Bombers BBQ continues to deliver.
Bombers BBQ, on Ridge Road in Munster, celebrates its two-year anniversary on the Northwest Indiana culinary scene in early May.
The restaurant was established May 7, 2013, by barbecue fans and owner/managers Anthony Petrocelli and Christopher Cole.
"The main thing we wanted to bring to the area, and want to continue to bring to people, is fresh smoked barbecue. We bring it fresh every day," Petrocelli said.
He added the meat is never chilled and then reheated. Everything's done on the premises every day. Meat is cooked over hard wood, which is a combination of apple and cherry wood.
The owners are natives of the region and knew this area would be the perfect place for the business and an area they felt would support a serious barbecue joint. Both have been fans of down-home barbecue and smoked foods through the years.
When Bombers first opened, Petrocelli said they often would sell out of their meat before closing time and would therefore close the restaurant early.
"We got a new smoker in November," Petrocelli said, adding it's a lot larger so they can cook a lot more meat at one time and rarely sell out now.
Certain items, such as the brisket, which is the most popular meat, will sometimes sell out, but there always are many more items to choose on the menu, he said.
While the menu has pretty much stayed the same for the past two years, Petrocelli said they're open to trying new things occasionally. There are plans to serve sausage in the near future.
We visited Bombers on a recent Sunday for dinner. There was a steady stream of customers visiting the eatery during our 45-minute meal. Our dinner consisted of Baby Back Ribs ($21) for a full slab. That day, Bombers was running a special and offered a drink, jalapeno corn bread and mac and cheese with a full slab rib order.
The meat was extremely tender while the top of the ribs had a bit of crispness. All meat is served without sauce, but there are plenty of sauce choices for those who prefer to slather it on.
Sauce fans will want to try the variety available at the restaurant. Everything from Bombers sauce, which is the house specialty and features a combination of spiciness and sweetness, to Carolina mustard sauce, Atomic and Sweet. For the more adventurous eater or culinary daredevil, ask about the Nuclear sauce.
To try Bombers Nuclear sauce, which is not featured with the other sauces on the side table, one must undergo a verbal waiver to test it.
"It's extremely hot sauce and is made with Ghost Pepper extract," Petrocelli said. (A word of caution: The extreme heat of the Ghost Pepper can cause inflammation of the skin, seriously burn your eyes if you touch them and even cause your insides to bleed if you consume too much).
While the Bombers menu isn't extremely large, the offerings are a good mix of barbecue fare. Among items on the menu are Bacon Jalapeno Bombs ($7); Mississippi Won tons ($6); Bang Bang Shrimp ($7); Lake Perch ($11); Burnt Ends, ($9); Rib Tips ($9) and Smoked and Fried Chicken Wings ($5, $13 and $20).
The menu also features Everyday Sides and Seasonal Sides, which are rotated frequently. More than 40 craft beers also are offered.
Bombers decor features a military aircraft theme, including a bomber jacket in a case, photos of military airplanes and more.
Petrocelli said he and Cole want to continue heating up the scene for years to come.
"We have a lot of great customers. There's a lot of repeat business and a lot of new people. We hope to be here for a long time," he said.
FYI: Bombers BBQ, 439 Ridge Road, Munster. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays. Call (219) 836-BOMB.