Barbecue at Walt Disney World has come a long way over the past five years. The Polite Pig is a go-to spot for many people visiting Disney Springs and Regal Eagle Smokehouse left us pleasantly surprised when it opened in February 2020 at EPCOT. And then there is Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney's Animal Kingdom. For the longest time, Flame Tree Barbecue was considered one of the best spots in the park to grab a meal. Once Harambe Market and Satu'li Canteen opened and redefined quick service within the theme parks, Flame Tree Barbecue felt like an afterthought. I finally decided to give Flame Tree Barbecue a shot after a few years to see if the barbecue was decent and I was very surprised.
Flame Tree Barbecue has a variety of different options, including a Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich, Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Pulled Pork, St. Louis Ribs, Smoked Chicken, and even a vegan sausage sandwich. When looking around at other tables nearby, it appears that the Pulled Pork Sandwich seems to be the most popular item to order, but I wanted to try a sample of items leading me to order the Ribs & Chicken Combo.
Ribs & Chicken Combo - $15.49
The Ribs & Chicken Combo is the second most expensive menu item at Flame Tree Barbecue right after the St. Louis Rib Dinner. The combo includes a chicken wing connected to breast meat, 2 ribs, a ramekin of baked beans and a tiny scoop of coleslaw. The chicken was the standout feature in the dish. The rub used at Flame Tree Barbecue has a slight hint of sweetness, but allows seasoned salt and chili powder to dominate the flavor. The smokiness from the cooking process balanced perfectly with the rub allowing the chicken to have a variety of flavors with each bite. The chicken was moist without falling off the bone, but didn't require much effort.
The ribs were a different story from the chicken. Technically, the ribs were overcooked as the fell off the bone easily with one bite. However, I typically like my ribs to be more tender, so for me, this was close to perfect. If you prefer ribs that have a bit more snap to them, Flame Tree Barbecue is probably not the place. That being said, I've had undercooked ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue before, so it might just be a luck of the draw thing. Regardless, I enjoyed the ribs I had and they required no sauce at all. The ribs needed no extra flavor than what was already present from the rub and smoking combination.
The sides here are nothing to write home about. Both the baked beans and coleslaw felt like an afterthought. The beans were good with a sweet, molasses flavor, but not overly sweet. The only positive thing to say about the coleslaw is it wasn't drowning in mayonnaise. The sides here could use a refresher to be more on par with what you'd find at Polite Pig or even Regal Eagle Smokehouse.
Overall, I'm definitely impressed with Flame Tree Barbecue. It's still not the best offering at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but if the food quality is consistent then it's not a place you need to avoid. Give it a shot!