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




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Phantom BBQ Beach Party '09

Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Phantom BBQ Beach Party '08

Nick Solares Interview

Inner Beauty Hot Sauce

Hog Pit vs Hill Country

NY vs Boston

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Jake Jacobs at Roadhouse

NY is Boston, Boston is NY

Chris Hart interview

Wildwood review rebuttal

Blue Ribbon commissary

Chris Schlesinger interview


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Archives - July 2009




Providence BBQ: United BBQ Reviewed

The site's 161st barbecue joint review is now available for United BBQ (Providence RI). Check it out via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.






Boston BBQ: M&M Ribs Named Best BBQ in Boston by Boston Magazine

Earlier this month, M&M Ribs (Dorchester MA) took barbecue honors in the Improper Bostonian's annual "Best Of" issue. Now they've won similar honors by Boston Magazine in their annual "Best of Boston" issue. The write-up's mention of "succulent chicken, grilled ribs and tangy, faintly fiery sauce" doesn't make the most compelling argument, but when an unexpected joint takes not one but two jewels in the city's BBQ triple crown (Redbones was named by the Boston Phoenix), it commands your attention.


Andy Husbands Blogs About Hell's Kitchen

If you haven't checked out Tremont 647 chef/owner Andy Husbands's Fearless Chef blog in a while because of the lack of updates, now's a good time to check back in. He's come out of hibernation for two posts in the last two days, offering answers to the most frequently asked questions about the his appearance on the first three episodes of Hell's Kitchen. So now, rather than speculating, you can get all the behind the scenes dirt from the horse's mouth (or as Gordan Ramsay might say, from the donkey's mouth).

My thoughts on the season premiere of Hell's Kitchen





Long Island BBQ: A Guest Review by "Chuck From Long Island" of Seconds BBQ

My "pending" review of Seconds BBQ (Amityville NY) has been pending just a little too long. So when my friend Chuck From Long Island emailed me his review of Seconds BBQ after a visit last week, I put two and two together and decided (after securing permission, of course) to share his thoughts. Chuck is one of the few people I know who is as obsessed with barbecue as I am. He's been to just about all of the joints in New York City and Long Island, and has even extended his barbecue research to Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and the Carolinas. After two barbecue meals and much barbecue discussion I've determined that he also has a very similar palate and philosophy. So when he gives me his take on a particular joint, I value that opinion highly, and I hope you do too.

Just got back from Second's BBQ. Nice people running that place. I ordered spare ribs, chopped BBQ (pork), sliced beef brisket and the beef rib, with sides of cole slaw, collard greens, and corn bread. Washed it all down with a bottle of Jamaican ginger beer.

I enjoyed the barbecue, but it wasn't exactly what I expected. I guess I was expecting Southern style bbq, bordering on soul food, but I feel the food was more Caribbean/Jamaican in style. The flavorings and seasonings were very Caribbean, and I'm not even talking about the jerk chicken and other Jamaican specialties. Anyhow, all of this doesn't really matter... it's all about the barbecue. Here's my rundown...


My favorite item was suprisingly the beef brisket. I really was expecting it to be my least favorite since pork is really the specialty of both the southern USA and Carribean islands. The brisket was served as two humongous chunks (slices?) and was juicy, flavorful, and moist. It was probably marinating in its own juices/fat with seasonings and perhaps some kind of mild glaze. The outside was nicely charred and contrasted well with the juicy meat inside. One piece needed to be trimmed of its fat, but I didn't really mind that. I was able to eat around it, and the fat gave it great flavor. I could not taste any smoke, but the texture and flavor of the brisket was very pleasing. Very good to excellent. Different than most briskets I've had, but probably my favorite on Long Island.

My second favorite item was the pork spare ribs. (I chose them over the critic's recommended babybacks, because I prefer that cut.) The pieces were flavorful with an unusual seasoning that I can't place, giving it a more Caribbean flavor. Did not notice any kind of smoke ring or smoke flavor on the ribs (as in the brisket). The ribs were also a little fatty and could have benefited from some trimming, but they were very good overall.

The humongous beef short rib was split into 3 sections on the bone. It had lost most of its pink and seemed to have been reheated or parboiled. Again, no discernable smoke flavor. I thought the beef rib was a little tough and fatty, particularly closest to the bone. Nice flavor, but I couldn't eat very much of it in one sitting because the chewiness and fat throughout the meat made it an effort to eat. Also, the fattiness has a way of filling you up and getting you sick of the flavor of fat after a heavy meal. Overall, a fair-to-good rating. This one just didn't compare to the beef ribs I've tasted in most other places, including other places on Long Island.

My least favorite items were the chopped BBQ (pork) and the cole slaw. Unfortunately, they had run out of pulled pork, so this was my only option. The chopped BBQ was served in a soupy mix of sweet sauce. The cook told me it was Carolina style (with a mix of both vinegar and a mild sauce), but this was definitely not the North Carolina BBQ I've ever known. The pork was chopped in thick squares and covered in a mildly sweet sauce. Not my cup of tea... but I can see how some people with a sweet tooth might love it. Unfortunately, I could not taste anything but the sauce. The flavors of the pork and seasonings were overpowered, and there was no contrast in textures. The moisture seemed to come from the sauce, and there did not appear to be any crunchiness or bark on the pork pieces. Cole slaw was a pretty ordinary (other than the carrots) mayo based variety. It was very soupy and I did not care for the dominating cabbage flavor in the cole slaw (though I imagine some people would love the freshness of that flavor).

On the other hand, collard greens were excellent. Nice pieces, apparently homemade with a bit of pepper, vinegar, and probably a pinch of sugar. Some of the best I've had in New York, where good execution of these is hard to come by in most of the BBQ restaurants I've frequented. The cornbread was also excellent: moist, flavorful, not too sweet, with some pieces of corn in the mix.


It's really hard to rank Seconds BBQ along with the other barbecue restaurants because the food is more in the vein of homestyle Carribean cusine, the seasonings are very different than most, and it's not prepared like most competition style barbecue. Plus, there seems to have been very little smoking involved in the preparation. Nevertheless, I liked most of what I had, the portions were massive for the price, the staff were extremely friendly, and I have to give kudos where due.

By the way, I should mention that one of owners told me that the owner of Smokin' Als comes to his restaurant on occasion for barbecue. Guess he likes their cue.

Thanks for a great report, Chuck. It's a good thing for me you don't have your own BBQ site.





Rhode Island BBQ: United BBQ Named Best BBQ in State by Rhode Island Monthly

Rhode Island Monthly's annual "Best Of Rhode Island" issue is out, and its editors named rookie United BBQ (Providence) the state's best for barbecue. There are editors' picks and readers' picks; strangely, there is no readers' pick for barbecue.


I learned of United's crowning when I happened to stop in for a visit on Sunday so I could finish off the review that I hope will be posted by week's end.


Rhode Island BBQ: Weekend Visits to Becky's BBQ, Smokehouse Cafe, and United BBQ

I must be in a Rhode Island state of mind, having made two trips there over the weekend. Saturday's beach day at Newport yielded long awaited returns to Smokehouse Cafe (downtown Newport) for a late lunch and Becky's BBQ (Middletown) for an early dinner. Neither visit changed my initial impressions all that much, though Smokehouse Cafe was bumped down a little and Becky's was bumped up a little. Sunday saw a separate trip to Providence for a third visit to United BBQ, where the wings, pork ribs and beef ribs excelled.


updated review of Smokehouse Cafe (Newport RI)

updated review of Becky's BBQ (Middletown RI)

review of United BBQ (Providence RI) coming soon





Not BBQ: Burgers at Big Papi's Grille

On Friday night Red Sox slugger David Ortiz opened Big Papi's Grille (Framingham MA), a new restaurant that's part steakhouse, part sports bar and part upscale casual. There's no barbecue element, but it's close and I happened to be around on the first night, so I decided to weigh in with a rare non-barbecue review.

My review of Big Papi's Grille






BBQ Festivals, Vermont BBQ: New England BBQ Championships at Harpoon, July 25-26

The 2009 New England BBQ Championships take place this weekend at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor VT. This is both a barbecue competition and a barbecue festival, but what sets this one apart from the rest is that the vendors are the competitors. Much of the 'cue for sale will be served fresh out of the smoker. And if you arrive on Saturday afternoon, there's a good chance some of the 'cue will be high caliber outtakes from the same batches that provided that day's competition turn-ins. And the Harpoon beer is also an upgrade from the typical festival fare. Admission is $10 and includes one Harpoon beer or soda; barbecue is additional. If the weather cooperates, you can't ask for a better way to spend the afternoon.


If you go, be sure to stop by the Dr. Gonzo's Uncommon Condiments booth and have yourself a tasting of some fiery relishes and innovative mustards.





Joisy and the PigTrip Borders

I received a few emails last week related to New Jersey BBQ, inarguably the area of this site that receives the least amount of focus. Or as one reader put it, "You seem to neglect the great state of New Jersey."


He's right, though I bristle at the word "neglect." It's not that I have anything against the great state of New Jersey, or even the idea that someone would call that state great or that their barbecue may be great. It's just that it's the state furthest from where I live in suburban Boston.


You'll notice that the tagline of this site is "Your guide to BBQ joints in Boston, New York and everywhere in between." I didn't pick Boston and Trenton, or Boston and Atlantic City, or Boston and Philadelphia. It's Boston and New York. So, yes, I do include some New Jersey joints in the directory, partly because most of the included ones are within a half hour's drive of New York City, and partly because I visited a few New Jersey joints when I was there on business in 2006. I had reason to expect more trips, but they didn't pan out. I still plan to revisit New Jersey, and even revisit the one surviving joint I already reviewed, but those visits are understandably less immediate than a visit to Lowell or Springfield or Manchester or Hartford or Providence. So while I do my best to keep the New Jersey BBQ listings current, I don't expect to have as many New Jersey BBQ reviews as I would for joints in the aforementioned cities, all within an hour's drive of where I live. That said, I'm planning to make that New Jersey pilgrimage within the next few months, with a goal of three new reviews. Remember, this is just a hobby.


This is probably a good time to define PigTrip's borders. Any "barbecue joint" (and I'll get to what that means in a bit) anywhere within the six New England states qualifies for inclusion in the Joints directory. Any barbecue joint in New York City and Long Island (no matter how far east) qualifies. The rest is not an exact science, but anywhere in the rest of New York state that's roughly within a half hour of a New England state qualifies, and anywhere in New Jersey that's within a half hour drive of New York City qualifies.


The more difficult question is what constitutes a barbecue joint. By this I'm not talking about the difference between a barbecue joint and a barbecue restaurant. I'm talking about what it takes to satisfy the barbecue requirement, and this is an even less exact science. If a restaurant has "BBQ" or "Ribs" in its name, it qualifies, unless it's Korean or Brazilian BBQ (both of which I enjoy, but keeping track of all of them would be too much to handle). A restaurant also qualifies if it has at least two of the following: ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken. That means there are some restaurants (East Coast Grill, Scarlet Oak Tavern, Tremont 647) that offer limited barbecue options without it being the main focus, And since the reviews are judgmental but the Joints directory is not, a so-called barbecue restaurant can use nothing but ovens and store-bought sauce and still be included in the directory. The idea is to include any restaurant that considers itself a barbecue restaurant, even if I don't like it and even if I don't think what they're doing is real barbecue.


Now, back to New Jersey. Last week White Trash BBQ linked to an article in Gourmet Magazine that listed Eight Great Barbecue Joints in New Jersey (thanks also to a few different readers who pointed it out to me). Unfortunately, all of them are south of Trenton and therefore outside what I like to call the "PigTrip region." But there's some serious barbecue in that list, including some roadside joints that capture the flavor of points further south. They might not be in the directory, but they're very much of interest and well worth seeking out, especially on an Atlantic City BBQ crawl:


1. Christine’s House of Kingfish BBQ, Shamong NJ
2. Henri’s Hotts Barbeque, Folsom NJ
3. Uncle Dewey’s Outdoor BBQ Pavilion
, Mizpah NJ
4. General Barbecue
, Richland NJ
5. JB’s Bar-B-Q
, Rio Grande NJ
6. Pork’s BBQ
, Villas NJ
7. Kingfish
, Woodbine NJ
8. Corky’s
, Atlantic City NJ




(07/22/09) (second post)

Some Thoughts on Last Night's Hell's Kitchen With Andy Husbands

There's an interesting composition of "chefs" among the Hell's Kitchen contestants this season. If I were looking for a chef to head my multimillion dollar restaurant in Canada, half of these clowns would not even get a second look, whether for lack of experience, lack of talent, lack of interpersonal skills or lack of character. It's amazing how many of the so-called chefs come across as incompetent.


But I think a lot of the incompetence has to do with casting; my theory is that the show's producers deliberately stock the roster with colorful characters and contestants they know will fail because it will make for "good TV." Having failureswhether it be food-related or otherwisebreeds friction among the contestants and provides easy fodder for Gordon Ramsay's bombast.


I also think some contestants (Joseph and Van the most obvious) are being coached to be assholes for that reason. Either that or they're deliberately trying to be assholes on their own just to stand outsort of like being the William Hung of reality cooking. If you can't win with talent, go out in a memorable blaze of glory.


Then there's Boston's Andy Husbands, who seems to be overlooked by the show's editors in favor of the Young Turks, fascinatingly incompetent wannabes and combustable hotheads. If the tried and true reality show strategy of "stay under the radar" was his modus operandi, Husbands executed it perfectly in last night's first hour, where he was given virtually no face time. All we know is that neither his signature dish nor the counterpart from the female chef he was pitted against received a point. It would have been nice if we were shown what he created and what Ramsay's problem with it was.


In the second hour, things didn't go so well, with a chicken issue that wasn't explained all that clearly. I'm not sure if the problem was that it was improperly cut or that it was undercooked or that time ran out, but whatever the problem, the "donkey" label was applied. Kudos to Chef Husbands for keeping his cool and not engaging in verbal battle (prefering instead to win the war).


The central idea behind most reality cooking shows seems to be thrusting chefs into ridiculous situations where there's inadequate time, inadequate ingredients, inadequate equipment and inadequate instructions, just to watch them fail. Mayhem makes good TV but it doesn't identify which chefs can really cook. Maybe that will change as the series chugs along.





New Hampshire BBQ: Once, Twice, Three Times a Brisket at Goody Cole's Smokehouse

Last Saturday I joined two friends for an intense scrutiny of the menu at Goody Cole's Smokehouse (Brentwood NH). Just about everything was good to very good, but the standout by far was the brisket. The photo in the Recent Eats column is from our first round, and it was so good I made sure it made a reprise in round two. And wouldn't you know that the second batch was even better than the first.


Both rounds were moist, the second round more so, artfully amping up the slurp factor without veering into gelatin territory. Pepper notes permeated the inner meat while the salt was more noticeable on the crunchy bark that gave way to another layer of intensely flavored meat akin to a savory caramel.


click to view larger image


Lest you think I'm on the Goody Cole's payroll, I should point out that we also tried our luck with the brisket chili and were less enamored.: It was a nice exercise in meat and cheese (and no beans), and the smoky, tender brisket itself was almost as impressive in that medium, but as a whole it struck me more as a brisket cacciatore than a serious bowl of chili. I think I would enjoy it on a bed of pasta, just not as a chili.


But I also think those two rounds of straight brisket were not only the best I've had at Goody Cole's but the best I've ever had in New England.





Must-See TV Tonight: Andy Husbands on Hell's Kitchen

Cancel your plans or set your DVR, because Andy Husbands (Tremont 647, Boston) is a contestant on the sixth season of Hell's Kitchen, which debuts tonight with a 2-hour episode at 8:00PM on FOX. I have a feeling chef Husbands will more than hold his own when the inevitable verbal confrontation with Gordon Ramsay hits, and I can't wait to see it unfold. Maybe Husbands can explain to Ramsay that it takes more than a barbecue sauce to create a barbecue restaurant. And yes, I'm looking forward to seeing the cooking too. But I'd really like to see some commentary and behind-the-scenes dirt on the Fearless Chef blog.





Boston BBQ: Redbones Hosts Tequila Tasting Tonight; Pig Pickin' August 10

As mentioned last week, tonight at Redbones (Somerville MA), Tony Iamunno of Downtown Wine & Spirits will lead tasters through eight Blancos, Reposados and Anejosfrom mixing spirits to complex, nuanced and delicate high end tequilas. The $15 event starts at 5:00PM, with tastings beginning at 5:30. Paired appetizers are also included.


A more pig-centric event takes place three weeks from tonight, when Redbones hosts its 8th Annual Pig Pickin' on August 10 to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition. Whole hogs will be smoked all day on their special rihgs and served "pit to plate." You can select loins, butts and bellies, along with cole slaw, corn on the cob, greens, cornbread, watermelon and drinks (including beers from Berkshire Brewing Company) served outside in front of the restaurant. The Pig Pickin' is $25 for adults, $10 for children under 10.





Massachusetts BBQ: Holy Smokes at Green River Festival Today

Holy Smokes BBQ (formerly of West Hatfield MA) was one of my favorite barbecue joints before it closed in 2007 when a fire destroyed the building. Today at the Green River Festival in Greenfield MA, Holy Smokes will be onsite serving up smoked pork ribs, honey garlic smoked wings and cole slaw.







Maine BBQ: Norm's East End Grill in Portland Reviewed

The site's 160th barbecue joint review is now available for Norm's East End Grill (Portland ME). Check it out via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.






Massachusetts BBQ: Wachusett Beer Dinner at Village Smokehouse in Lowell, Next Monday

The Village Smokehouse (Lowell MA) and Wachusett Brewing Company will pair barbecue and beer at their first ever Beer Dinner on Monday, July 20. The event starts at 7:00PM and will include a BBQ buffet featuring appetizers, dinner, and dessert accompanied with an assortment of beer from Wachusett Brewery. Tickets are $30, tax & gratuity excluded. Reservations are suggested and can be made at 978-441-2278.


Beer selections will include Wachusett Summer Alean American wheat ale with a hint of lemon, Nut Brown Alea smooth dark brown ale with a rich Belgian specialty malt finish, and Wachusett Country Alethe balanced pale ale and original brew of Wachusett Brewery.


Massachusetts BBQ: A Return to Tennessee's

Regular readers have a pretty good handle on the "regular" barbecue joints in my rotation, and they know that Tennessee's (Framingham and four other Massachusetts locations) isn't one of them. It's not that they don't do a decent job with their over-the-counter approach to real pit smoked barbecue. It's just that a few other joints seem to do it a little bit better. But I had an errand in the area last week, decided to drop in to Tennessee's and was surprised to one of my best barbecue restaurant visits in a while.


The ribs were very good: light crust, pink ring, smoky, tender, juicy, ever so lightly sauced, and freshalmost as if straight from the smoker. Chicken was good as always (I think it's their one can't-miss item), with its usual crisp skin, lightly smoky backdrop and succulent meat. Matchstick style cole slaw was also very good, and a refreshing antidote to all the soggy, creamy versions out there. My only complaint was that the sauces tasted even more similar to each other than they have in the past. The owner was there, and suspiciously out in the dining room after I took my first couple of photos with flash, so I didn't fully capture how good everything was. But I'm going to attempt a return in the next week or two to see if last week's high note was an aberration or a trend.





Boston BBQ: Paying My Final Respects to Uncle Pete

Last weekend an ill-advised trip to Maine met nothing but traffic, so common sense prevailed: trip aborted, local lunch at the Saugus ouptpost of Fuddrucker's (there's nothing common sense about that, but more on that later). After lunch, a stop in Revere allowed a visit to the now-closed Uncle Pete's for the last time. Most of the interior had been removed, but the tall black booths were still there. They'd make a great addition to someone's basement, especially someone who was a fan of Uncle Pete.



Here's the message displayed in the window next to the "Closed" sign:







Boston, Not BBQ: A First Visit to Tupelo in Cambridge

OK, this one isn't about barbecue. But a close cousin of barbecue is Southern cuisine, and two much-talked-about proponents of that realm have sprung up in Cambridge within the last year and a half. First came Hungry Mother near Kendall Square; this year's rookie is Tupelo near Inman Square. I stopped in two Fridays ago for a first visit and liked every aspect, from the food to the service to the vibe to the value.


This is more of a "report" than a full-blown review, but here are my thoughts on Tupelo.



(07/10/09)(second post)

New York City BBQ: Southern Hospitality To Celebrate Midsummer With 2-for-1 Deals, Wednesday July 15

Starting at 6:00PM next Wednesday, Southern Hospiitality (NYC) is celebrating the middle (or maybe the long-awaited arrival) of summer with 2-for-1 deals on deep fried ribs, jalapeno bottlecaps, fried green tomatoes, BBQ nachos, So-Ho sliders and everything else you see in the graphic below.






Connecticut BBQ: Sunset Ribs Reviewed

The site's 159th review is now available for Sunset Ribs (Waterford CT). Check it out via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.



Massachusetts BBQ: Slowpokes BBQ Now Open For Lunch in West Concord

This Wednesday Slowpokes BBQ (Concord MA) began serving barbecue lunches. Open from 11:00 to 2:00 Monday through Friday and for take-out service only, the barbecue catering outfit operates out of a commissary style kitchen in an industrial area. To work around the limited operating hours, pit boss Kevin Flannery said that customers can call to make arrangements to pick up for dinner or after they get off the commuter rail nearby.


The compact menu features brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches with two sides for $7.50. A 1/3 rack of St Louis cut spare ribs with three sides is $12.00. Sides include baked beans, cole slaw, cornbread and a few daily specials such as collard greens, mac and cheese and various potato salads.





Boston BBQ: Tequila Tasting at Redbones, Monday July 20

A week from Monday at Redbones (Somerville MA), Tony Iamunno of Downtown Wine & Spirits will lead tasters through eight Blancos, Reposados and Anejosfrom mixing spirits to complex, nuanced and delicate high end tequilas. The $15 event starts at 5:00PM, with tastings beginning at 5:30. Paired appetizers are also included.


New York BBQ: Blue Smoke and Wildwood Participating in Restaurant Week, July 12-31

This Sunday kicks off Restaurant Week in Manhattan, where three-course lunches can be had for $24.07 and three-course dinners are a mere $35 (Saturdays excluded). Among the participants are Blue Smoke and Wildwood Barbeque, two restaurants so haute that they'd never be called a joint. Here's a peek at their menus.


Blue Smoke, Lunch:



  • Tomato Gazpachowith pickled watermelon rind and cilantro oil

  • Grilled Octopus-Watercress Saladwith roasted corn, griddled eggplant and horseradish vinaigrette

  • Burnt Endswith slow cooked baby Lima beans and okra

  • Chipotle Chicken Wingswith creamy blue cheese dip



  • Seared Chipotle Glazed Salmonwith a tomatillo-almond ragout and Swiss chard

  • Smoked Turkey Breaston whole wheat baguette with watercress, pickled jalapeno and Gouda cheese

  • Kansas City Spareribswith a choice of coleslaw, pit beans, or collard greens

  • Braised Beef Short Ribswith sweet corn succotash



  • Stone Fruit Crisp with caramel ice cream

  • Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae

  • Blackberry Shortcake with lemon frozen yogurt

  • Key Lime Pie



Blue Smoke, Dinner:



  • Tomato Gazpachowith pickled watermelon rind and cilantro oil

  • Grilled Octopus-Watercress Saladwith roasted corn, griddled eggplant and horseradish vinaigrette

  • Burnt Endswith slow cooked baby Lima beans and okra

  • Chipotle Chicken Wingswith creamy blue cheese dip



  • Seared Herb Crusted Salmonwith a green tomato-Lima bean ragout and Swiss chard

  • Applewood Smoked Chickenwith mashed potatoes and crispy onions

  • Kansas City Spareribswith a choice of coleslaw, pit beans, or collard greens

  • Braised Beef Short Ribswith sweet corn succotash



  • Stone Fruit Crisp with caramel ice cream

  • Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae

  • Blackberry Shortcake with lemon frozen yogurt

  • Key Lime Pie



Wildwood, Lunch:



  • Chilled Gazpacho Souptopped with Guacamole and Tortilla Crisps

  • Shrimp QuesadillaCrispy flour tortilla, stuffed with shrimp, Cheddar, bell peppers and onions

  • Southern Fried Green TomatoesCrawfish Étouffée



  • Quesadilla Loaded with 3 MeatsFlour tortilla stuffed with pulled brisket, chicken and pork, Onions, Cheddar, BBQ sauce, baby green salad

  • Chicken and WafflesCrispy chicken wings atop a Crispy waffle, maple Syrup and gravy

  • Grilled Skirt Steak HoagieSmothered with caramelized onions, mushrooms and Swiss, potato tots



  • Bittersweet Chocolate Tart Salted pretzel crust, Nutella ice cream



Wildwood, Dinner:



  • Chilled Gazpacho Souptopped with Guacamole and Tortilla Crisps

  • Peel and Eat ShrimpOld Bay spiced shrimp, real hot cocktail sauce

  • Southern Fried Green TomatoesSmothered with Crawfish Étouffée



  • Soft Shell CrabMeunière style with dirty rice

  • Chicken Fried ChickenTender chicken pounded and breaded, served crispy, with mashed potato gravy and corn bread

  • Grilled Skirt SteakTopped with onion strings, served with creamed spinach and steak fries



  • Bittersweet Chocolate Tart Salted pretzel crust, Nutella ice cream





Boston BBQ: M&M Ribs Named Best BBQ in Boston by Improper Bostonian

It's that time of year again, and the Improper Bostonian's annual "Best Of" issue is on the stands. This year's outside-the-box barbecue winner is Big Moe's M&M Ribs in Dorchester, a joint that's more of a vending truck. I've had M&M ribs several times at barbecue festivals, but never in the city on their home turf. I'll have to give them a try, especially now that the Improper mentioned the fried chicken.


Long Island BBQ: Dixie's Smokehouse To Open Today

There's no shortage of barbecue restaurants on Long Island. There's a shortage of good ones, but maybe today's anticipated opening of Dixie's Smokehouse (Kings Park NY) will turn the tide. Their soup-to-nuts menu has soup. coconut fried shrimp. four salads, four kinds of sliders (including crabcakes), po' boys, burgers and rotisserie chicken. The barbecue offerings seem just as varied, with babyback ribs, St Louis cut spare ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork (with Texas sauce), beef brisket, Andouilles sausage and rotisserie turkey. Dixie's Smokehouse plans to open for business at 5:00PM today. Thanks to Eric for the lead.


Dixie's Smokehouse
12 Indian Head Road
Kings Park, NY 11754
(631) 292-2520




Boston BBQ: More Healthy Grilling from Steve Uliss of Firefly's

A month ago I mentioned the upcoming healthy grilling classes being offered by Firefly’s Bar-B-Que head honcho Steve Uliss and registered dietician Tricia Silverman.


Last week those classes got some play in the Boston Globe. But now that the weather is finally bringing bathing suit season, it makes sense to list some of Uliss's helpful tips from the press release that didn't make the Globe article:

  • Keep your grill clean. Fats that are burned on will cook again, releasing cancer causing agents into your food.

  • Use spices such as cumin on lean meats and vegetables for low-fat flavor instead of oils and butters.

  • Season your garden vegetables with fresh herbs, lemon juice, stock, wine or flavored vinegars.

  • Use low fat marinades not only for flavor but to also reduce the formation of cancer causing substances from sticking to your food.

  • Corn, which is a good source of thiamin, is an excellent vegetable for boosting brain power.

  • Place meats with the fatty side facing down first. These fats, along with their calories, will drip away.

  • Grilled fish is a low-fat alternative to the traditional red meat fare.

  • Swordfish on the grill can replace the traditional steak without replacing the hearty texture.

  • Wrapping vegetables in foil will allow them to steam with their own juices.

  • In addition to outdoor preparation of foods, steep tea bags in the sun for a healthy drink to accompany your meal. Drinking at least one soda per day can add 15 pounds in a year.


The healthy grilling classes will be held at Firefly's on Tuesday July 14 in Framingham, Tuesday August 11 in Quincy and Tuesday August 25 in Marlborough. Participants will enjoy a family-style meal after the class. The $35 class (also includes tax and tip) starts at 6:30PM. For more information and to reserve a spot in a class, please call Elizabeth Price at 508-357-6393.





Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning four states. This time there are five new joints, one closing and one name change.

  • My Daddy's Barbeque at Trumpet Vine Cafe (Simsbury CT) is now closed. Thanks to Brett for confirming.

  • Since 1963 (Brooklyn NY) is a new joint that gets its 'cue from the kitchens of Whiskey Sunday (same ownership).

  • Longhorn Saloon and Barbeque (Rockville Centre NY) is the new name for B-B-Q Inc. It's not clear whether this is new ownership and a new joint or simply a name change to draw non-barbecue business and distance itself from the negative reviews of the joint it's replacing. The menu, at least for now, is the same. Thanks to Vinny for some handy legwork.

  • Texas Smoke BBQ (Rockaway NJ) is a new joint that features the "award-winning" barbecue from a duo who've had some success with a mobile unit and are ready for a permanent location. I like that the menu is both compact and barbecue-centric. Thanks to Robert for the lead.

  • Jim Dandy's (Cedar Grove NJ) is a barbecue mini-chain whose motto is "Home of the Killer Ribs!" The focus strays far from barbecue, with burgers, pannini, wraps, nachos, cheesesteaks, Buffalo wings and even pierogi listed on their all-things-to-all-people menu. Speaking of focus, their website seems just as intent on bringing in franchisees as customers.

  • Wild Hog Bar and Grill (Melville NY) is another new joint with only a hint of barbecue: the fajitas, grilled shrimp, burgers and wings occupy more menu space than the babybacks and pulled pork.

  • Gerad Farm (Framingham MA) is most famous for its turkeys and Thanksgiving fare, but they're open weekdays year 'round with home cooked meats, sides, pies and other desserts (think of them as a more down-home, neighborhood version of Boston Market). Starting around 4:00PM, they offer smoked ribs, grilled chicken and pulled pork for take-out or outdoor dining on one of their dozen picnic tables.





Hudson Valley BBQ: Troy Sets Stage for Dinosaur Expansion to Capital Region

The Times Union reported on Wednesday that Troy's "10-month courtship of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is over. It's a done deal." The package of incentives to lure the barbecue titan to the capital area includes 20 years of future property-tax abatements and $350,000 toward renovating the building last occupied by Fresno's restaurant. What looks to be the fourth (and final, according to Dinosaur founder John Stage) outpost is located at the end of the Green Island Bridge in downtown Troy, with a deck overlooking the Hudson River. Dinosaur still has not closed on the building, but a spring 2010 opening is still within reach.

Read the Times Union story


New York BBQ: Hill Country to Expand to Washington DC

Earlier this week the Washington Post reported that Hill Country (NYC) will be opening a second location in the nation's capital around July 2010.

Read the Washington Post story


New York BBQ: Wildwood Celebrates the 4th

This weekend Wildwood Barbeque (NYC) is offering the following Fourth of July special: Smoked and grilled skirt steak with jumbo garlic steak fries, cole slaw, and grilled corn.





Boston BBQ: Roadhouse in Brookline Shuts Down Its Smoker in Response to Local Complaints; Jake Jacobs Out

Roadhouse (Brookline MA) now has a new tagline: "Craft Beer and Barbecue" has been replaced by "Craft beer, wicked food." The J&R smoker sitting in the space next door has been shut down. Pitmaster Jake Jacobswho was brought onboard in March to repair Roadhouse's barbecue cred after a dubious startworked his final shift last Friday. Last night a new menu was unveiled to usher in its third era. With the smoker now dormant, that new menu has vanquished the brisket and smoked turkey legs entirely. Ribs and pulled pork remain, but they are billed as "slow cooked" or "braised."


Why all the changes? It certainly wasn't by choice. According to a report in, several neighbors living in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant had complained to the town about the smells emanating from the smoker.


I visited Roadhouse last night and asked owner David Ciccolo about the possibility of a ventilation system to keep the smoker going. "The timing wouldn't work. There are so many inspections that it just would have pushed things out too far," he said. Too many hoops to jump through without the certainty of making each jump successfully led to the alternative of the new, sans-barbecue menu. "Besides, we're a neighborhood restaurant. It just doesn't make sense to [fight with] the town."


Last night's menu, pulled together on very short notice, had the following announcement at the top of the first page:

Upon reading our new menu below you will discover a shift in the focus of our food. This change was a necessary one and is a result of our commitment to being, first and foremost, a "neighborhood" establishment. After months of offering top quality smoked BBQ items it has become appparent that operating our smoker in close proximity to such a dense residential neighborhood is detrimental to both Roadhouse and our valued neighbors, Please peruse our new menu and know that we continue to bring you fresh, house made food with pride. We are excited to press forward in a slightly different, yet delicious direction and once again thank you for your past and present patronage.

Providing a statement seems like a good approach, especially since they're offering non-smoked versions of pulled pork and ribs. It's much better to state up front that the food isn't smoked than to pass baked ribs off as "barbecue," which Roadhouse is not trying to do.


The pulled pork sliders appetizer ($10) has no description of cooking method, but it's just inches from the announcement referenced above. In the sandwiches section, the pulled pork sandwich ($10) is described as "slow cooked, pulled and smothered in our house Dogfish Head Indian Brown BBQ sauce, topped with cole slaw and served with pickles." Our sandwich didn't include the cole slaw. The meat was extremely tender and thankfully not overchopped, but there was no color, no bark (which you can still get without smoke) and the subtle flavor needs to be ramped up much further. A few more bottles of Dogfish Head, reduced down, might go a long way.


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Two kinds of ribs are available. Sonora Grilled Pork Ribs ($21) are a "half rack of pork ribs seasoned with traditional Sonora Adobo sauce, served with black beans and cornbread. Full Rack of Braised Pork Ribs ($20) are "slow braised in house Dogfish Head Indian Brown BBQ sauce, with cole slaw and cornbread." I'm not sure why the Sonora half rack costs more than the braised full rack. The braised ribs are also available as a half rack appetizer ($11), so I tried that in round 2.


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The bone retraction was promising and the meat, just like the pork, was extremely tender. The pale surface had no crust and bore no seasonings that I could detect. They reminded me a little of the ribs I'd make in an oven 20 years ago when I first got out of college (though mine had much more flavor). That was the state of the art then, but it pales (pun intended) in comparison to the artful ribs Jake Jacobs was capable of crafting. A side of collards was the highlight of the meal: roughly chopped, cooked just enough to get the stiffness out while retaining some crunch, and liberally seasoned. Cornbread also is in its third incarnation: it's not only sweeter throughout, but now topped with sprinkled sugar. If you consider it a free dessert, I guess it works.


Remember, this is day 1. I'm sure the execution on the ribs and pork will improve somewhat, but the ribs and pork crowd probably isn't what Roadhouse is after these days. I know I'll return, but most likely not for the barbecue, be it real or faux. The burger here is respectable, and I saw a few good looking ones making their way to other tables. Add some killer crunchy onion rings and a quality draft beer, and life (and lack of good or authentic barbecue) isn't so bad.



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Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

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Beef ribs at United BBQ, Providence RI.


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Ribs, chicken and pork at Becky's BBQ, Middletown RI.


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Ribs at Smokehouse Cafe, Newport RI.


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Chicken shashleek at Silk Road, Belmont MA.


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Brisket at Goody Cole's Smokehouse, Brentwood NH.


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Ribs and pulled pork at High Street Grill, N. Andover MA.


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Pulled pork sandwich at Norm's East End Grill, Portland ME.


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Chicken and ribs at Tennessee's, Framingham MA.


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Pulled pork sandwich at Sunset Ribs, Waterford CT.


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Pulled pork sandwich at Roadhouse, Brookline MA.


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Ribs and pulled pork at Gerard Farm, Framingham MA.



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