Your guide to BBQ joints in Boston, New York and everywhere in between

 

 

Recent Features:

Hill Country

Hill Country

 

Recent Reviews:

BT's Smokehouse

Smokin' With Chris

Big Lou Rib House

Southern Hospitality

Bub's Bar-B-Q

Big W's Bar-B-Q

Biggy's BBQ Bistro

Route 7 Grill

Shaky Jake's

Hill Country

 

 

Joints by Region:

 

Boston metro BBQ

Boston 'burbs BBQ

Massachusetts BBQ

 

New York City BBQ

Brooklyn BBQ

Long Island BBQ

Hudson Valley BBQ

New Jersey BBQ

 

Rhode Island BBQ

Connecticut BBQ

 

Vermont BBQ

New Hampshire BBQ

Maine BBQ

 

 

BBQ by City:

(coming soon)

 

Albany NY

Arlington MA

Augusta ME

Bay Shore NY

Boston MA

Bridgeport CT

Brockton MA

Brookline MA

Brooklyn NY

Burlington MA

Burlington VT

Cambridge MA

Concord NH

Edison NJ

Elizabeth NJ

Fairfield CT

Framingham MA

Hartford CT

Lowell MA

Manchester NH

Massapequa NY

Merrick NY

Milford CT

Montpelier VT

Nashua NH

New Haven CT

New London CT

Newton MA

Newport RI

New York NY

Northampton MA

Norwalk CT

Norwood MA

Nyack NY

Patchogue NY

Peabody MA

Plymouth MA

Portland ME

Portsmouth NH

Poughkeepsie NY

Providence RI

Queens NY

Revere MA

Saratoga Springs NY

Somerville MA

Southington CT

Springfield MA

Stamford CT

Waltham MA

Waterbury CT

White Plains NY

Woburn MA

Worcester MA

Yonkers NY

 

Archives:

Oct '07

Sep '07

Aug '07

July '07

Jun '07

May '07

Apr '07

Mar '07

Feb '07

Jan '07

Dec '06

Nov '06

Oct '06

Sep '06

Aug '06

 

 

Archives: November 2007

(11/29/07)

Busy

I've been working on my City Flame Smokehouse (Manchester NH) review and gathering info on dozens of potential New Jersey BBQ joints for the directory. This labor will bear fruit shortly.

 

Speaking of busy, how busy is your favorite barbecue joint? If it's not as busy as it once was or as busy as you think it should be, show some loyalty and spread the word. Take some friends. There are a lot of barbecue joints closing (some expected, some not). If you don't want your favorite to be among them, show some love this Christmas season by choosing it for that large lunchtime takeout order or that night of drinks and appetizers after work.

 

 

 

 

(11/28/07)

More From the Archives: Chris Schlesinger

 

During my cleaning binge over the weekend I also found this book, which coincidentally was also from 1994. It's called Getaways for Gourmets in the Northeast, and it features dozens of foodie haunts up and down the East Coast from Maine to the Mid-Atlantic states. This book's section on Boston and Cambridge reads like a Who's Who of the Boston restaurant scene, with info and early photos on some of the chefs who've become household names a decade later.

 

Here's an early photo of Chris Schlesinger, who at the time owned East Coast Grill, the original Jake and Earl's Dixie BBQ and Blue Room, all in Cambridge.

 

 

 

 

(11/27/07)(second post)

If You Sent Me Email Monday or Tuesday and Didn't Get a Reply, Please Re-send

I lost several emails Tuesday morning that arrived Monday night or very early Tuesday morning. If you sent me an email during that time and haven't heard back from me, please re-send.

 

 

 

(11/27/07)

Beyond BBQ: Lydia, oh Lydia

Much of the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend was spent organizing my garage and crawl space storage area. I'm collector (toys, sports, art books and posters, bottles, more that I can't think of rght now) and a bonafide pack rat. I love old newspapers and magazines, so I have hundreds stored away for a rainy day.

 

I dug out a Boston magazine from 1994 that features former Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn on the cover. He's why I saved the issue, but what makes it a treasure now is the article that chronicles a day in the life of the legendary Lydia Shire restaurant Biba (Boston MA). Although it was on my "most want to try list" for years (yes, I have those for fine dining too, not just barbecue), I never managed a visit before it closed. My wife and I did enjoy a visit to Shire's now-closed sister restaurant Pignoli and a few visits to Excelsior, her reinvention of the Biba space. At the latter, I once had the best restaurant meal of my life.

 

I can safely say that if I had to choose any chef to cook my last meal, it would be Lydia Shire. Her menus are exciting from breadbasket to dessert, her signature lobster pizza is phenomenal and she's as adept at flavoring meats as any barbecue pitmaster.

 

Shire has since moved on from Excelsior, having bought and revamped Locke-Ober (Boston's second-oldest restaurant) and recently opened Blue Sky (York ME). I'm not sure if I can hold out until summer before heading up to York.

 

But back to the article. I really enjoyed the photos and the hour by hour breakdown of the behind the scenes restaurant activity. There was a quote that I found quite refreshing, and I think it applies to the barbecue world as well as the more upscale restaurants Lydia Shire has helmed:

"There is a myth people need to dispel. People assume that someone like me, Jasper White, or Gordon Hammersley cook every single dish that comes out of the kitchen. When we create a new menu, every single item does go under my hand and we do it over until the cooks can get it right. But there are nights and days when I don't go near a pot. The reason you are a good chef is because you are a good teacher. In essence, you are only as good as your ability to teach the people under you."

 

 

(11/26/07)

"Weekend" Wrap Up: A Manchester NH Crawl

Actually, there's no barbecue to report for this past weekend other than my own cooking on my new Big Green Egg grill/smoker (see Friday's post). But last Tuesday I made a trip to Manchester to pick up some sausages at Sausage Heaven for Thanksgiving, so I also met some friends for a Manchester BBQ mini-crawl that included KC's Rib Shack and City Flame Smokehouse.

 

It had been a while since my last visit to KC's. A few Manchester trips ago, the focus was Premier Palette, where soul food meets barbecue and pork is refused an introduction. On the next trip it was Premier Palette and the new City Flame Smokehouse. On my last trip, we tried to visit KC's but they were closed for the day to take care of a kitchen problem. So I was looking forward to checking out KC's again this time around. The ribs were as large and as juicy as I had remembered. The smoke and spice were a little off from what I remembered, but these were still very good. We also split an order of wings and a hot dog.

 

City Flame Smokehouse was also good, with the meats smokier across the board than on my first two visits. The highight this time was the chicken. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have ordered chicken right before Thanksgiving, but I'm working on the review that I hope to post in a few days.

 

 

 

(11/25/07)

New Jersey BBQ: Hot Rods in the News

Morris County BBQ fans may have been too busy putting their Thanksgiving pots and pans away to notice that their local joint Hot Rods Real Pit BBQ (Wharton NJ) was featured in yesterday's Daily Record. The profile notes that owners Toby and Anthony Sibona had been doing barbecue catering for 10 years before opening the restaurant.

read the article

 

 

 

(11/23/07)(second post)

The Day After: Black Friday Shopping Report

Today my wife and I hit the malls at the crack of dawn. Actually, an hour or so before dawn. After finishing up at Kohl's (4:15), we passed Best Buy for the first time at 4:30 and saw about 500 people in line waiting for the 5:00 opening. Some of them were waiting for over an hour in temperatures barely above freezing for a sale that's barely better than last week's or next week's sale. And I'm crazy for driving more than an hour for barbecue?

 

Anyway, we waited until 5:30 before enering Best Buy, avoided the line, and bought iPod speakers for about $80 off list and $40 off what it would cost on Amazon. We're happy, not just because it was a good deal but because it was a good time.

 

We saw channel 5 (Boston) news reporter Gail Huff covering the activity, prancing up and down the Best Buy aisles in skin-tight black pants that didn't quite cover all of what they needed to cover. That hips-and-midriff-baring look would have worked on her daughter, former American Idol contestant Ayla Brown. But not on a serious journalist.

 

 

 

(11/23/07)

The Day After: Big Green Egg 1st Cook Report

Chris Hart had it right: cooking on the Big Green Egg was like driving a Ferrari. It reached temperature quickly, held it steadily and never needed additional fuel. I also liked that the vent adjustments produced an instant response.

The sausages came out great, especially the jalapeño pork sausages that exploded with juices. But that's no accomplishment. They're easy.

 

The turkey thighs came out great––the rub, the skin, the inside, everything. The meat was pink and surprisingly juicy.

 

The wings came out a little darker and dryer than I wanted, but I chalk that up to a few things:

  • It's turkey and it's white meat. I don't expect turkey to be as juicy as chicken. It's not an excuse, but it is a factor.

  • The Big Green Egg's temperature gauge on the outside read 110 degrees with no fire in 50 degree weather, so I shot for 275 (instead of 225) to compensate. It turns out that at the higher temps, the gauge was correct.

  • The wings were at the highest position in the smoker, on the extender rack. I know the higher you go, the hotter it gets, but I'm wondering if the extra 5 inches accounted for that significant a temperature difference from what the thighs cooked at.

  • I picked up my mother at her apartment a few miles away right before the wings were done. I left the meat unattended, which I never do. My bad.

 

Overall, even though there's room for improvement, I was very pleased with my first cook on the Big Green Egg. I can't wait to smoke some ribs. By next weekend, a secret ingredient I have on order from 6000 miles away should arrive, so I'm doubly eager.

 

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click to view larger image

 

 

 

(11/22/07)

Happy Thanksgiving

Today my wife is in charge of the oven (brownies first, then turkey) and I'm the master of my outdoor domain. My Big Green Egg will be making her maiden voyage at noon, but the pig on this trip will be taking a back seat to turkey. I'll be smoking assorted turkey parts and mostly non-pork sausages.

 

The sausages are from Sausage Heaven (Manchester NH): fennel lamb, rosemary chicken, jalapeño pork and a few breakfast sausages that might make their way into the stuffing.

 

I'm preparing the turkey parts a few different ways:

 

  • Legs are rubbed with my "Five+5" rub that's 50% five spice powder and 50% top secret ingredients. These will be basted down the stretch with a fairly simple mop that lets the rub shine through.

 

  • Thighs are rubbed with my first take on a rub inspired by my first visit to Bailey's Smokehouse (Blauvelt NY). I'm trying to approximate the strong herbs-and-chiles kick Fink uses to make their pulled pork so flavorful. I'll serve one thigh straight up and another with a cranberry glaze that also has some citrus, some soy and some heat.

 

  • Wings are getting a slightly different version of the Five+5 rub, plus some of the cranberry-citrus glaze.

 

 

 

 

(11/21/07)

Famous Dave's in Saugus Closes: A Win?

Yesterday I read on the Boston Chowhound board that the Saugus outpost of the Famous Dave's chain had closed. I wonder whether it's a reflection of the highly competetive restaurant ennvironment on Route 1, a backlash against an outside chain (a la Krispy Kreme), or simply a backlash against bad barbecue.

 

Within the thread, there was a mini-debate over whether one of the first responders was right for "cheering" this closing, claiming it as a "win." There was a heaping helping of guilt, with the moral highground poster citing that people were out of jobs, taxes were being lost, etc.

 

I'm sorry, but I'm on the side that's cheering. It's not a win simply because a corporate giant failed. It's a win for all the little guys who save up their own money, buy a little shop and smoke the meats on site, with no vacuum sealed, pre-smoked assistance. Restaurants are the most competetive of all businesses, with more than half failing in the first year. A new restaurant opens, another closes. If it were up to me, none of them would close. But with only so many diners and dining dollars to go around, there'll be closings all the time, it's just a matter of who. So when Goliath closes and David is left standing, I call that a win.

 

the Chowhound thread on Famous Dave's

 

 

 

(11/20/07)

Easy Off the Highway

Many of you will be doing some long distance driving en route to Thanksgiving destinations and then back home again. There's a good chance you'll need a pit stop along the way, so here's my list of some of the easiest joints to access off the highway.

 

1. The Cookhouse, Darien CT (off I-95, exit 13)
2. RG Branigan’s Southington CT(off I-84, exit 32)
3. SouthernQue*, Meriden CT (off I-91, exit 17)
4. Barnstormer BBQ, Newburgh NY (off I-87, exit 17)(off I-84, exit 7)
5. The Cookhouse, E. Hartford CT (off I-84, exit 58)
6. Willie B’s BBQ, Bay Shore NY (off NY-27, exit 43)
7. Wilson’s Holy Smoke BBQ*, Fairfield CT (off I-95, exit 21)
8. Blue Ribbon**, W. Newton MA (off I-90, exit 16)
9. Q Smokehouse, Methuen MA (off I-93)
10. Bendle-Bean’s BBQ, Pembroke MA (off MA-3, exit 12)

11. Goody Cole's Smokehouse, Brentwood NH (off NH-101, exit 7)

 

* closed Monday through Wednesday

** off westbound only, re-entry eastbound only

 

 

 

(11/19/07)

Weekend Wrap-up: Firefly's, Tremont647

On Friday, my wife and I hit Firefly's (Marlborough MA), because I wanted to try the new rib preparation Steve Uliss told me he had been tinkering with. He made some modifications to the rub and the use of wood to bring things a little closer to what his team does in competition. The ribs I had Friday were much porkier and juicier than usual, so the new method seems to be working well.

 

Saturday night brought us to Tremont 647 (Boston MA), owned by Andy Husbands, another familiar face on the competition circuit. We had gone there several times a few years back, but this was our first visit (not counting special event dinners) in a while. Tremont 647 is not even close to being a "BBQ joint"––it's much more refined, both physically and on the menu. It's fine dining, but they do have barbecued ribs and a couple of Southern items from the menu at Rouge, the now-closed Andy Husbands restaurant that specialized in barbecue a few blocks away. I had to try the "180" ribs (named after the perfect score for a barbecue entry in competition). The large spare ribs, served on a large bed of creamy and spicy cole slaw, were mildly smoky, tender while still chewy, and lightly drizzled with a tasty barbecue sauce that was a nice blend of sweet and heat. I also liked the collard greens, whose flavor was simply intense.

 

 

 

(11/18/07)

More Thanksgiving Take Out

I am remiss in not including Willie B's BBQ (Bay Shore NY) among the list of barbecue restaurants supplying Thanksgiving turkeys and other holiday fare. I received their Thanksgiving menu several weeks earlier than the rest, so I forgot to include it in last week's list.

 

Willie's will be offering smoked whole turkeys (14-16-lb, $75), smoked fresh hams (8-10-lb, $85), smoked prime rib, an assortment of seasonal sides and pies, and combination packages including various permutations of the above. www.williebsbbq.com

 

Boston BBQ institution Redbones (Somerville MA) will be taking orders through Monday November 19 for smoked turkeys (12-14-lb, $50), candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn pudding, pecan pies and sweet potato pies. www.redbones.com

 

See the 11/14 post for the complete list

 

 

 

(11/16/07)

Cool Names For Sides

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it's time to start thinking about what to serve alongside the meat. I call them side dishes or simply sides, but some barecue restaurants like to get creative and give them cool names.

 

1. "Nuts and Bolts" – Pig Out BBQ, Southington CT
2. "Tumbleweeds" – Chili Head BBQ, W. Bridgewater MA
3. "Fixin’s" – Daisy May’s, NYC
4. "Trimmings" – Brother Jimmy’s, NYC
5. "Side Shows" – Bob’s Southern Bistro, Boston MA
6. "Tag-Alongs" – Sticky Fingers, Providence RI
7. "Lagniape" – Cherrywoods, Norwell MA

 

 

(11/15/07)

Joints Directory Madness

It's only been two weeks since the last batch of additions and deletions. This time, there's three new joints into the Joints directory, one more into the dead pool and a web address change.

  • Smokin' Sloe's (Northport NY) on Long Island is a relatively new joint that's been open since January. Thanks to Sledneck for the lead. www.smokingsloes.com

  • Big Ed's Barbeque (Long Beach NY) is one of two new joints to have opened recently in that Long Island town. I don't think they're related to the Big Ed's in New Jersey. www.bigedsbarbecue.com

  • Jackalope BBQ (Fishkill NY) is a recent addition to the eastern Hudson Valley area, not too far off I-84. Thanks to Eric for the tip.

  • The Linwood Grill (Boston MA) closed at the end of the summer. There were constant rumors that the place had been sold and/or was closing, but this time the rumor came true. Thanks to Peter for the info.

  • Ribs & Company (Johnston RI) has a new website: www.yourribsandcompany.com.

 

 

(11/14/07)

Talkin' Turkey: the Joints

Here are some of the joints that are offering Thanksgiving deals, whether for take-out or dine-in:

  • Hill Country (NYC) will be open on Thanksgiving day from 9AM to noon for take-out, with two holiday packages available. The Thanksgiving Feast for 9-12 people ($255) includes a whole 14-16-lb pit smoked turkey, cornbread and honey butter, four 32-ounce sides and two 10" pies. The Thanksgiving Feast for 5-8 people ($175) includes a 9-11-lb turkey, cornbread, three sides and one pie. www.hillcountryny.com

  • Goody Cole's Smokehouse (Brentwood NH) is offering holiday specials from now to Christmas: whole hickory smoked turkeys (10-12-lbs, $45), turkey breasts (7-8-lb, $55), whole smoked bone-in hams ($40), and all the fixings, including country cornbread stuffing and sweet potato casserole. For more information, email Turkeys@goodycoles.com or call the restaurant (603) 679-8898. www.goodycoles.com

  • Jake's Dixie Roadhouse (Waltham MA) will be offering take-out whole smoked turkeys, turducken (chicken inside a duck inside a turkey) and turducken roll. For more information, call (781) 894-4BBQ. www.jakes-bbq.com

  • Route 7 Grill (Great Barrington MA) will be serving an in-house Thanksgiving buffet dinner ($30) from noon to 4PM. The feast includes traditionally cooked local turkey, house smoked ham and all the fixings. Pies (pumpkin, apple, bourbon-pecan) will also be available for take-out. Reservations for the dinner are required by Thursday, November 15. www.route7grill.com

  • Willie B's BBQ (Bay Shore NY) will be offering smoked whole turkeys (14-16-lb, $75), smoked fresh hams (8-10-lb, $85), smoked prime rib, an assortment of seasonal sides and pies, and combination packages including various permutations of the above. www.williebsbbq.com

  • Boston BBQ institution Redbones (Somerville MA) will be taking orders through Monday November 19 for smoked turkeys (12-14-lb, $50), candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn pudding, pecan pies and sweet potato pies. www.redbones.com

     

 

I may be adding to this list, so check back periodically. If you are a restaurant owner and would like a free plug for your holiday offerings, just send me an email.

 

 

 

(11/13/07)

A New Arrival: I Am The Egg Man

Sunday brought a new arrival to our family, and that arrival is my new Big Green Egg, a combination smoker and grill. I've enjoyed using my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker for a few years now, but I've been looking for a new toy to play with. When I set aside a weekend for smoking, I want to have the capacity to cook in quantity and cook a lot of different meats, using different woods. I also want to be able to cook outdoors 12 months a year, which isn't easy in the New England area.

 

click to view larger image

 

I briefly considered simply getting a second Weber, but I wanted something a little different. I specifically wanted a tool that would reach temperature quickly, maintain andadjust temperature with minimal effort and be able to perform even in New England winter temperatures. I asked around, and the Big Green Egg met all of those criteria. And it's also versatile enough to grill steaks over 1200 degree heat, bake cookies and pizza like an oven, and do what I plan to do most: smoke ribs, butts and chicken.

 

The Egg was almost my very first smoker. A few years ago, a grill and smoker store called the Backyard Barbeque had a going out of business sale just a few miles from my house, and I nearly pulled the trigger then. But I wondered whether I would really use it enough to justify its price tag. I also wondered whether it was just too weird looking. Was I nuts?

 

Weird looking or not, the Big Green Egg is a throwback to the ceramic smokers that originated in Asia a few thousand years ago. The walls of the cooker are nearly two inches thick, so you know it'll hold in the heat and the smoke, and there's nothing weird about that. I like that there's a thermometer on the outside, a spring-loaded cover and a dishwasher-safe grill grate. I'm a little concerned about the limited access to the fuel area, but the Eggs are known for their efficiency and their ability to go for 12 hours straight on one load of fuel.

 

On Good Eats, Food Network personality Alton Brown once crafted a homemade model based on this same principle. And there are other fans: Ray Lampe, aka "Dr. BBQ," has won contests using the Big Green Egg, and is now on board as a spokesman. Last year, barbecue champion Chris Hart of IQue was featured with his Big Green Egg in the Boston Globe, likening it to the Ferrari of smokers. I'm really looking forward to driving my new Ferrari.

 

 

 

 

(11/12/07)

Weekend Wrap-up: One More Hill Country

This Saturday, my wife and I made yet another visit to Hill Country (NYC), her second and my third in the last month. The reason was a special afternoon dinner for the BBQ Brethren, arranged by pitmaster Robbie Richter and barbecue competitor/judge/socialite Eric Johnson. The meal spanned a good cross section of the Hill Country menu, plus a special treat: beef shortrib sliders. Beef shortribs are currently one of the "pitmaster's specials" and are served as whole bones. I bought one of those to take home, saving it for a possible midweek dinner. But those sliders were far and away the hit of the meal.

 

After this visit I may be backing off my preference of Hill Country's lean brisket to their moist. This time out, I thought the moist was superior, though you can't really go wrong with either. I've also decided that their pork ribs, at least to my taste, don't stack up to the beef. For whatever reason, I think the salt-and-pepper rub "pairs" better with the beef rib than the pork. Hill Country is Texas barbecue, and Texas barbecue is beef, so when in Rome...

 

I wish we could have stayed later, but it was a long ride back to the Boston area.

 

Sunday brought another barbecue development, but I'll talk about that tomorrow.

 

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Phil Rizzardi, the Poobah

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Ray Depot of the Anchormen

 

 

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shortrib sliders were the hit

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Robbie Richter, pitmaster/waiter

   

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wings (a weekend thing)

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the spread

 

 

 

 

(11/10/07)

The BBQ Amigos (and Amigas)

It's a lot more fun hitting a new BBQ joint when you have someone with you to help surf the menu and then analyze and dissect the meal on the ride home. As you might expect, my wife has tagged along to more barbecue restaurants than anyone else, hitting 56 different restaurants with me in 6 different states. Here's how some of the rest of the amigos stack up:

 

 
BBQ joints
states
Chris
56
6
Ling
19
2
Steve
17
4
Wallie
11
2
Marc
10
2
Erik
7
1
Scott
7
1

 

 

 

(11/09/07)

Boston BBQ: More East Coast Grill

After dining at East Coast Grill in Cambridge Sunday night with my wife, I returned last night with a group of friends. This time, we ordered the right way, splitting a rack of ribs, two meat platters, a fish platter, four seafood appetizers, two sides and their now-famous Wings of Mass Destruction.

 

Way back when, I used to rank ECG's barbecue items at or near the top of a much shorter list than I have now. But even now, with more than a hundred BBQ joints for comparison, East Coast Grill has held up quite nicely. The brisket was moist and had a good flavor in the bark. The ribs, always better by the rack than the single bone I usually order with my fish entree, were downright juicy.

 

 

 

(11/08/07)

Backtracking

Just a few more words on a few recent posts:

  • Last weekend, I forgot to mention my visit to Firefly's (Framingham MA). They've got a Monday Night Football special on their pulled pork sliders, 2 for a dollar before halftime.

  • In my post about the Big Bully's BBQ Burgers (Attleboro MA), I wondered about the menu and about the affiliation with the branch in Beverly MA. Well, I heard from the Big Bully himself, and here's the deal: the branch in Beverly closed because the location/rent wasn't quite what was promised; a better real estate deal availed itself in Attleboro; it opened with Big Bully's son-in-law at the helm. Yes, they have ribs, pork, etc., but I'd stick with the burgers.
  • Remember that mortgage company website that ran a barbecue directory identical to mine? First they removed the directory, as well as all other content on the page, replacing it with a link to my site. It's as if they were saying, "You want a link, here's a link, but we'll be damned if we'll leave any content worth searching on that'll lead anyone to it." When I said as much in an update to my October 12 post, they removed the page entirely. Then they sent me an email (I never emailed them asking for anything) saying they removed a lot of old pages. Yeah, right.
  • I said there wasn't much more to be said about New York City's RUB and Hill Country, but here's a couple: RUB is now opening at 11:30AM daily; Hill Country's moist brisket has now reached the $20/lb mark (though it's well worth it).
  • In my list of my top 12 chilis, I forgot to say that the Waterfront Ale House variety I liked not only has two kinds of meats, but two kinds of cheeses. I gotta get back there.
  • I just made a slew of changes to the Joints directory, and there are more on the way. It's amazing how quickly new BBQ joints are opening, and it's great having moles out there to keep me up to date. I really appreciate the input.

 

 

 

(11/07/07)

The Joints Directory Quandary

Looking through the Joints directory, you've probably wondered why some restaurants (some not even joints) are in there. Sometimes I wonder myself. Unlike sites such as Roadfood, I'm not just listing a bunch of joints I personally recommend, while leaving out the ones I don't. Instead, I'm listing everything I can find, even the joints I haven't even been to yet.

 

There are days when I think it would be easier to just do it the Roadfood way, serving up slices of a Norman Rockwell America with nary a negative word. But I'm sticking to the completist approach, even if it means having to criticize the cooking of some really nice people.

 

So in that completist spirit, I'm including some joints that may only be on the periphery of barbecue. I'm including burger joints and some borderline "fine dining" restaurants that also do ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. I'm including soul food joints, as long as they do ribs, even if they're not smoked. I'm including some joints where the only "barbecue" is the barbecue sauce they ladle over oven-cooked ribs. That's not my kind of place, but this site isn't just about what I like. In most cases, you can pick these boil-and-broil joints out of the pack fairly easily, so I'm including them for the sake of completeness. Some people like them, some people don't. Even some of the people who don't would prefer them over Burger King, so I list them. That doesn't mean I endorse them.

 

What I may do down the road is put an icon next to each joint name in the Directory to indicate whether they're doing real barbecue using a smoker. Maybe I'll even list the smoker they use. This would be a long-term project, but it might be worthwhile. I'm not making any promises, but that's what I'm thinking about as I roll out of bed this morning. Time to hit the shower.

 

 

 

(11/06/07)

Talkin' Turkey

Thanksgiving is only 16 days away, so now's the time to start thinking outside the box, with smoked whole turkeys a nice change of pace from the usual oven-hogging roast. Many barbecue joints offer these, as well as deep fried birds and unique seasonal sides for the holiday. Some restaurants even offer a full sit down meal with all the fixin's.

 

Attention restaurant owners: If you're running any special offers for Thanksgiving, drop me a line.

 

 

 

(11/05/07)

Weekend Wrap-up: ECG, RUB, Hill Country

On Saturday night, my wife and I visited East Coast Grill (Cambridge MA). I knew I'd be doing some serious meat eating the next day, so we stuck mostly to their excellent seafood dishes (raw tuna, calamari, trout). Since no visit to ECG is complete without at least one rib, I got the Xiao Jianming "wet bone," an Asian-style treatment that combines smoky, sweet, tart and hot.

 

I drove down to New York City yesterday with a barbecue buddy to share a few of my discoveries. There's not much more I can say about RUB and Hill Country that hasn't already been addressed. Visits to both, about 2 hours apart, covered fairly familiar territory menu-wise. At RUB, we had chicken wings, pork ribs, burnt ends and brisket, with the ribs (and onion strings) the standout and the wings a distant cousin of the Asian style rib I had the night before. At Hill Country, we divvied two kinds of brisket (moist, lean) and two kinds of sausage (regular, jalapeno). It was the first time I tried their mac and cheese, and it was the sharpest of the sharp.

 

 

 

(11/04/07)

Beer & BBQ Pairing at Blue Smoke, Nov 12

In New York City a week from Monday, Blue Smoke Executive Chef Ken Callaghan and Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver will discuss how to pair beer with food and host a 5-course dinner. Look for pork belly, Louisiana white boot brigade shrimp, smoked chicken and much more, paired with Brooklyn Brewery craft beers. This event is $99, with reservations recommended.

www.bluesmoke.com

 

 

 

(11/02/07)

Boston BBQ: Bob's Southern Bistro to Close

Wednesday's Boston Globe reported that Bob's Southern Bistro will be closing in November after a 50-year run. Known as Bob the Chef until its recent makeover, the restaurant offered a highbrow take on soul food and was a destination for jazz music. Owner Darryl Settles sold the restaurant in part because his newer venture, The Beehive, has been such a success. Bob's will serve its last meals on Sunday, November 25.

Boston Globe article

 

I wouldn't call Bob's (in either its "bistro" of "chef" phase) a barbecue joint, though their ribs were okay for the stewed variety that they were. But any Boston-area fan of southern style cooking should be saddened by this loss, because the space, the jazz and the fried chicken were all Boston institutions.

 

Boston 'Burbs BBQ: Sit 'n' Bull to Close

Twenty-five miles west of Boston, another rib joint perhaps more famous for its music than for its food will also be closing in November. The Sit 'n' Bull Pub in Maynard will end its nearly 21-year run with a farewell Bash for the Bull on November 11.

Daily News Tribune story

Bash for the Bull site

 

 

 

(11/01/07)

Joints Directory Madness

It's the same old story: some new joints open, some old ones close, some move (though not this time) and some expand into second and third locations. Most of the activity this time involves restaurants in New York and New Jersey. I've updated the Joints directory to reflect some of the following changes:

  • Burke View Bar-B-Que (Lyndonville VT) sent me a holler last week. Already in the Directory, this joint "has all of the southern classics but centering on pork.  We don't claim to have the best ribs, brisket, etc., but our products are very good."

  • Q Barbeque (Port Chester NY) has plans in the works, according to an October 3 report in the Journal News, to open a second unit in Mount Kisko NY early next year. This location promises to have more room for a freestanding raw bar. I didn't add the new location yet (487 Main Street), but I fixed the typo in the web link: www.qrestaurantbar.com

  • Broad Street Smokehouse (Ridgewood NJ) caught my attention on one of the Chowhound boards earlier this week. Based on a quick peek of their website, it looks like they've been open well over a year. www.broadstreetsmokehouse.com

  • Harbor Q (Port Washington NY) is a new joint on Long Island that's been getting good word of mouth. Thanks to both Walter (who reviewed it on the BBQ Brethren forum) and Sledneck for the heads up.

  • Hickory's BBQ (Port Washington NY) is a takeout joint that's been around for more than 20 years, with an emphasis on burgers, but the menu also has ribs, pork and brisket. They offer delivery for both lunch and dinner. Thanks again to Walter. www.hickorysbbq.com

  • Laura's BBQ Roadhouse (N. Bellmore NY) has closed. There's a congestion of "barbecue" restaurants in that area, so maybe the supply outpaced the demand. Thanks again to Sledneck for the info. www.laurasbbq.com

  • Boneyard Barbecue & Saloon (Seekonk MA) is aiming to open by Thanksgiving. Thanks to Mark for the lead a while back. I'll add it to the directory closer to that date, but for now, here's their site: www.boneyardbarbecue.com

 

 

 

October 2007 archive

September 2007 archive

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June 2007 archive

May 2007 archive

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March 2007 archive

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January 2007 archive

December 2006 archive

November 2006 archive

October 2006 archive

August/September 2006 archive

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

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Pork, chicken, apples and cucumber salad at City Flame Smokehouse, Manchester NH.

 

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Porch ribs at KC's Rib Shack, Manchester NH.

 

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Andy's "180" Ribs at Tremont 647, Boston MA.

 

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Ribs and chicken at Firefly's, Marlborough MA.

 

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Two kinds of sausage and beef shortrib at Hill Country, NYC.

 

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Erik grabs the first rib at East Coast Grill, Cambridge MA.

 

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Ribs, brisket, burnt ends and beans at RUB, NYC.

 

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Moist brisket at Hill Country, NYC.

 

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Man does not live by pork alone: whole trout with sausage stuffing and warm Asian slaw at East Coast Grill, Cambridge MA.

 

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Pulled pork sliders at Firefly's, Framingham MA.

 

 

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