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




Recent Features:

Danielle Niles interview

2011 Wings Rankings

John Brown Smokehouse

Fatty Cue First Visit Recap

Blackstrap BBQ opening

Damon Amendolara interview

Dinosaur Harlem's new digs

BT's Smokehouse opening


Recent BBQ Reviews:

East Ender Portland ME

Memphis BBQ & Blues

Milford NH

Parker's Maple Barn

Mason NH

Commonwealth BBQ

Wrentham MA

Virgil's NYC (update)

Yellow Rose BBQ

Willimantic CT

Texas BBQ Company

Northborough MA (update)

Firefly's Bodacious Bar-B-Que

Marlborough MA (update)

Nicky's Beer Garden BBQ

Bronx NY

Back Forty West NYC

Abigail's Cambridge MA

Arnie's Place Concord NH

Blue Smoke NYC (update)

Beauford's Hillsborough NH

Fette Sau Brooklyn NY (update)

Saw Mill Dracut MA

LJ's BBQ Pawtucket RI (update)

Scratch Kitchen Salem MA

Butcher Bar Queens NY

Pies 'n' Thighs Brooklyn NY

Sea Smoke BBQ

Scarborough ME



Burger Reviews:

JM Curley Boston MA

Shake Shack NYC

Grumpy White's Quincy MA

Wahlburgers Hingham MA

Abigail's Cambridge MA

Eastern Standard

Boston MA

Firebrand Saints

Cambridge MA

Griddler's Boston MA

BGR Burger W. Hartford CT

The Gallows Boston MA

Max Burger W. Hartford CT

Gilley's PM Lunch

Portsmouth NH

Lexie's Joint

Portsmouth NH

The Boynton Worcester MA

Plan B W. Hartford CT

White Hut W. Springfield MA

Russell House Tavern

Cambridge MA

Burgers, Shakes & Fries

Greenwich CT

Five Napkin Burger

Boston MA

The Butcher Shop

Boston MA

Ritual Worcester MA

Scholars Boston MA

Corey's Catsup & Mustard Manchester CT

Radius Boston MA

Back Bay Social Club Boston MA

Harry's Bar & Burger Providence RI

Beehive Boston MA

Lord Hobo Cambridge MA

Towne Boston MA


Other Reviews:

Katz's Delicatessen NYC

Donna's Donuts

Tewksbury MA


Older Features:

2009 BBQ Wings Rankings

2009 Chili Rankings

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

How To Be A Good Waiter

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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BBQ by City:

(coming soon)


Albany NY

Arlington MA

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Archive - May 2012





Maine BBQ: East Ender Reviewed

The site's 252nd barbecue review is for East Ender (Portland ME), an eatery with a diverse menu that includes a few different slow smoked barbecue options. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of East Ender






Boston BBQ: Blue Ribbon Opens Mobile Operation Today in Needham

The food truck trend rolls on—literally—as Blue Ribbon Barbecue (W. Newton MA and Arlington MA) expands their operation today with a mobile location at 262 Second Avenue in Needham. Their "Hoodoo Trailer" will be open weekdays from 11:00Am to 7:00PM.





New Hampshire BBQ: Memphis Barbecue and Blues Reviewed

The site's 251st barbecue review is for Memphis Barbecue & Blues (Milford NH), a barbecue joint with an emphasis on musical entertainment. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of Memphis Barbecue & Blues






Boston Burgers: JM Curley Reviewed

Time for another break from barbecue for a burger review. The latest is for Boston's JM Curley, a Ladder District watering hole with two versions of their house burger.

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See my review of JM Curley






New Hampshire BBQ: Parker's Maple Barn Reviewed

The site's 250th barbecue review is for Parker's Maple Barn (Mason NH), an old time maple operation with a barn serving babybacks and eggs for breakfast. That's exactly what I had last Friday, after having it in my wishlist for years. Was it worth the wait? Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.



See my review of Parker's Maple Barn





Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning four states. This time there are three new joints, three expansions, one spin-off, one closing, one name change, one new website, one seasonal return with a new location and another seasonal return with a new building that makes it no longer seasonal.




  • Swingbelly's BBQ (Lynbrook NY) opened their second location yesterday. Hours have not been posted yet but I believe they'll be open for weekday lunches.

  • Bar Q BBQ (Stamford CT) is a barbecue-meets-tapas concept run by the same ownership as Bobby Q's in Westport. The soft opening is looming, with the official opening most likely next Wednesday.

  • Biscuits and Barbeque (Mineola NY) is a Long Island joint housed in a diner and owned by the same people who run Delta Grill in Manhattan. Thanks to Sledneck for the lead.

  • Dinosaur BBQ (Newark NJ) within the last couple of weeks opened its first location outside New York State. Look for a Connecticut outpost by next year. Do I hear Boston?

  • Beach Deck BBQ (Seabrook NH) is a new joint for which I can't find any menu or buzz. Guess I'll have to find out for myself. Thanks to Paul for the lead.

  • Rib Crib BBQ and Grill (Coram NY) is a Long Island BBQ take-out joint that I'm guessing doesn't have a smoker. Thanks to Robert for the lead. Facebook

  • Smoke Pit BBQ (Jamaica, Queens NY) opened its second location. Thanks to both Vinny and Sledneck for the info.



  • FinnBques (Newington CT) is now closed. Based on some of the online reviews, that's not surprising.




  • MexiBBQ (Astoria, Queens NY) is the new name for MexiQ Kitchen and Drought. As far as I can tell, it's still the same ownership.

  • Phil's Old Fashioned BBQ (Milford NH) is a seasonal trailer that's back in business, with a slightly different location from last year. Thanks to Jeff for the info. Facebook

  • PJ's BBQ (Saratoga Springs NY) opened this week for the season and beyond, as they're no longer just a seasonal joint. With a new building, a new smoker and a new website, kit's a new beginning. Though smoked fare is now available, their classic grilled ribs and grilled Cornell style chicken are both still being offered. Thanks to John for the info. Facebook






Massachusetts BBQ: Commonwealth BBQ Reviewed

The site's 249th barbecue review is for Commonwealth BBQ (Wrentham MA), an outdoor over-the-counter joint up the street from the Wrentham Outlets. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.



See my review of Commonwealth BBQ





New York BBQ: The City's BBQ, Best to Worst permalink

In yesterday's Virgil's Real BBQ review I placed it "in the mix of (possibly) second- or (more likely) third-tier New York City BBQ joints." Rather than just let that comment pass without commiting to actual tiers, I decided to complete the exercise and compile the full list for places I've tried within the five boroughs. Note that each group is presented alphabetically with no implied order within the group (the actual order might change visit to visit). Aside from the top tier, a joint might slide up or down to an adjacent one, but no further than that.



Tier 1:


Fette Sau see my review of  this joint

High grade sourcing, strong rub and smoke levels, high probability of wow factor. Drawbacks are speed and sauces.

Hill Country see my review of  this joint

You can really taste the wood and the pepper-heavy rub. Brisket (both the lean and moist) and sausage are musts here even if not your usual order.

RUB see my review of  this joint

Burnt ends are the star here, but everything's good, often great. More strong rub and smoke. Sides and pulled pork underrated.



Tier 2:


Daisy May's see my review of  this joint

Arguably the best pork rib (wet or dry) and chili in the city. Beef rib good but expensive; boneless meats not so good.

Dinosaur see my review of  this joint

Ribs and creative sandwiches are the way to go here. Sides outstanding.


Fatty Cue see my review of  this joint
Southeast Asian take on BBQ might not be for everybody, but the flavors are scintillating.


Rack & Soul see my review of  this joint

Rare soulfood joint with real smoked 'cue. Saucy but it works, and the sauce is no crutch.

Wildwood BBQ see my review of  this joint

Upscale restaurant with another best ribs candidate, both beef and pork. Fantastic wings. Skip the sides.



Tier 3:


Harley's Smokeshack

Very creative, sort a modern take on old school 'cue. Good sauced ribs, innovative sides.

John Brown Smokehouse see my review of  this joint
Kansas City joint with excellent burnt ends and pulled pork the way to go. Frequent specials.


Mable's Smokehouse see my review of  this joint
Sort of a poor man's Daisy May's with much better brisket. Good add-on to Brookly Brewery.

Virgil's Real BBQ see my review of  this joint
Oft-maligned tourist trap turns out surprisingly respectable if expensive 'cue. Good pork sammy.



Tier 4:


Blue Smoke see my review of  this joint

Outstanding beef ribs and piggy pulled pork, with pork ribs and brisket less reliable.

Southern Hospitality see my review of  this joint

Surprisingly good ribs after a recent smoker upgrade. Jury (read: me) still out on the rest of the menu. Friendly staff, generous pours.

Smoke Joint see my review of  this joint

Decent to good with some of the best sides in the city.

Waterfront Ale House see my review of  this joint

More of a bar than a barbecue joint. Creative sandwiches, solid chili.



Tier 5:

Back 40 West see my review of  this joint

Boutique eatery with smoked fare. Sides better than the entrees. Don't miss the pig face nuggets.

Bone Lick Park see my review of  this joint

Decent joint with no real shining strengths or glaring weaknesses.

Butcher Bar see my review of  this joint

Sourcing pride yes, Southern Pride no. Some fragrant flavors with only a hint of a barbecue profile. High prices, free apple pie.


Ember Room see my review of  this joint

Todd English's Asian/BBQ fusion has some hits and misses. Chocolate ribs, anyone?

Georgia's Eastside BBQ see my review of  this joint

The best of the BBQ restaurants that have no smoker. Saucy.

Mexicue see my review of  this joint

Little Mexican tastes on potato rolls or tacos have just a hint of barbecue flavor, less than a hint of smoke.

Neely's BBQ Parlor see my review of  this joint

Disaster that involves Pat and Gina Neely in name only. Atmosphere is its major strength.


Pies n Thighs see my review of  this joint

As a hipster sandwich and donut joint, it works. As barbecue, not so much.



Tier 6:

Brother Jimmy's see my review of  this joint

The worst of the "real" BBQ joints smoking over wood. Hot servers, good sauces, mediocre 'cue.


BBQ's Smokeshack see my review of  this joint

Fast food BBQ joint might be cheaper than nearby RUB and Hill Country, but not nearly cheap enough.


Nicky's Beer & BBQ see my review of  this joint

Much more emphasis on the Beer than the BBQ, and it shows. Mechanical bull. 'Nuff said.

Rodeo Bar see my review of  this joint

If the 'cue is smoked (it might be), it doesn't taste it, but better than most of the fake ones.



Tier 7:

Dallas BBQ see my review of  this joint

1980s time warp faux BBQ. Cheaper than BBQ's Smokeshack, but a further step down in quality.

Duke's see my review of  this joint

Fun place, emphasis on drinks, barbecue an afterthought.


Golden Chicken & Ribs see my review of  this joint

Cafeteria quality.

Hog Pit see my review of  this joint

The only thing BBQ about this place is the sauce. Meats taste boiled. At least they have a fryer.

Live Bait see my review of  this joint

Dallas might be bad, but Live Bait's bad and expensive.



Boston, you're next.


link to the permalink of this post






New York BBQ: Virgil's Review Update

The review updates roll on, this time for Virgil's Real BBQ (New York City), a Times Square institution that predated all the rest. Check out the review update via the Reviews page, the link above or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.



See my review update for Virgil's Real BBQ






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Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

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Ribs at East Ender, Portland ME.


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Beef rib at Sweet Cheeks, Boston MA.


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Ribs at Phil's Old Fashioned BBQ, Milford NH.


Ribs at Memphis Blues and BBQ, Milford NH.


Babybacks and eggs at Parker's Maple Barn, Mason NH.


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Pork belly and pulled pork at Sweet Cheeks, Boston MA.


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Pork ribs and beef ribs at Redbones, Somerville MA.

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Pulled pork sandwich at BBQsmith food truck, Boston MA.


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Ribs at Commonwealth BBQ, Wrentham MA.


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Ribs at Commonwealth BBQ, Wrentham MA.


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Brisket sandwich at Lester's Roadside BBQ, Burlington MA.



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