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




Recent Features:

SlowBones opens

Boston BBQ Rankings

NYC BBQ Rankings

Salvage vs Elsmere

Dinosaur Stamford CT

Danielle Niles interview

2013 Wings Rankings

6 Tips for Shake Shack



Recent BBQ Reviews:

SlowBones Burlington MA

Coast Cafe Cambridge MA (update)

Memphis Joe's Weymouth MA

Salvage BBQ Portland ME

State Park Cambridge MA

Hometown BBQ Brooklyn NY

Marathon Burgers & Barbeque Hopkinton MA

JW's Burger Bar Scituate MA

Mo Gridder's Bronx NY

Mason Jar NYC

Buck's Naked Portland ME

Taste of Texas Bennington NH

Bear's Windsor CT

4 Points BBQ Winterport ME

Mainely Meat on Main

Ellsworth ME

BBQ Red Wappingers Falls NY

Tres Carnes NYC

Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ Brockton MA

Cask 'n' Flagon Boston MA

P&P Soul Food & BBQ

Brockton MA

BBQ Guy Truck Dover NH

Lonestar Empire Brooklyn NY

Fink's Smokehouse

Dumont NJ

Goody Cole's Smokehouse

Brentwood NH (update)

Phil's Old Fashioned BBQ

Milford NH

Wicked Awesome BBQ

East Thetford VT

Route 4 Country Store

White River Junction VT

Mable's Smokehouse

Brooklyn NY(update)

Vermont Maple BBQ Randolph VT

Summer Shack Dedham MA

Sista's BBQ Brunswick ME

BrisketTown Brooklyn NY

Smokestack Urban BBQ

Worcester MA (update)

Fletcher's Brooklyn NY

Blue Ribbon Arlington MA

Slater's Bolton MA

The Farm Manchester NH

Joff's Backyard Grill

Bellingham MA

Lester's Roadside BBQ

Burlington MA (update)

Ducks Eatery NYC

Ladder 133 Providence RI

Mighty Quinn's NYC

Firebox BBQ Bedford MA (update)

Dickey's S. Portland ME

Beale Street Barbeque Bath ME

Bar Q Stamford CT

Sweet Cheeks Boston MA (update)

Knuckleheads Wallingford CT

Mama T's Rutland VT

Binga's Stadium

Portland ME (update)

Wes' Rib House

Providence RI (update)

Smoke and Bones BBQ

Derby CT

Pit Stop BBQ Wakefield

Wakefield MA

Beach Deck BBQ Seabrook NH

Rockhouse BBQ & WIngs

Manchester CT

Kit Kat's Smoked BBQ

Pawcatuck CT

Harley's Smokeshack NYC

3 Guys Basement BBQ Hanover NH

Prohibition Pig Waterbury VT

Cider House BBQ Waterbury VT

HanBones Hamden CT

Redbones Somerville MA (update)

People's Pint Greenfield MA

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)


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




Burger Reviews:

Alden & Harlow Cambridge MA

Smashburger Natick MA

Beat Hotel Cambridge MA

White Manna Hackensack NJ

Crazy Burger Narragansett RI

Farmstead Providence RI

Burger Boys Lincoln RI

SkyBokx 109 Natick MA

Brew City Worcester MA

Shake Shack Chestnut Hill MA

Trade Boston MA

The Sinclair Cambridge MA

Lincoln Tavern S. Boston MA

The Brindle Room NYC

Coney Island Worcester MA

Craigie On Main Cambridge MA

Elevation Burger S. Portland ME

Bobby's Burger Palace

Burlington MA

Oak Long Bar Boston MA

Met Back Bay Boston MA

Burger Dive Somerville MA

Shake Shack Connecticut

Farmstead Table Newton MA

M3 Somerville MA

RF O'Sullivan & Son Somerville MA

Grass Fed Jamaica Plain MA

Catalyst Cambridge MA

Happy's Boston MA

Louis Lunch New Haven CT

Nosh Portland ME

Brick Wall Burger

Greenfield MA

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:

Floramo's Chelsea MA

New Bridge Cafe Chelsea MA

Katz's Delicatessen NYC

Fogo de Chao Boston MA

Frank Pepe's Pizzeria

New Haven CT

Donna's Donuts

Tewksbury MA


Older Features:

John Brown Smokehouse

Fatty Cue First Visit Recap

Blackstrap BBQ opening

Damon Amendolara interview

Dinosaur Harlem's new digs

BT's Smokehouse opening

2009 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





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



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Archive - February 2014





Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning

four states. This time there are six new joints, one contraction, two full closings, one key location change and one new website.



  • G. Lee's Smokin' BBQ (Brooklyn NY) opened in December. The compact menu doesn't have brisket but they do have smoked wings and po' boys.

  • Oak and Ember (Mashpee MA) is a Cape Cod restaurant that could hardly be called a joint. The sophisticated menu does have smoked fare, though, including spare ribs, St Louis ribs and boneless beef short ribs as both entree and sliders. They also offer more than 100 whiskeys.

  • Doggz & Hoggz (Falmouth MA) is another Cape Cod joint, mostly lunch with dinner on Friday and Saturday. It focuses on hot dogs (a dozen different offerings) and barbecue (ribs, pork, brisket), with seafood (chowder, lobster roll), salads and wraps to round things out.

  • Hakadosh BBQ (mobile), also known as Wandering Q, is a roving kosher barbecue operation that often makes its way into New York City and nearby areas for fairs and popups. Next month they get their kosher on in their home base of Yonkers for Purimfest, and they're dedicating all of 2014 to the pursuit of kosher bacon—be it veal, beef, duck, goose, turkey or lamb. Thanks to Ethan for the lead.

  • You Got Smoked (Ridgewood NY) is a Queens-based BBQ truck with a core location and occasional offshoots occasionally announced via Facebook and Twitter when they occasionally post. No phone listed, so you can't occasionally call to verify.

  • Bobby Q's (Suffern NY) opens on Friday. The name may sound familiar, but it's not related to a Connecticut restaurant with the same name. The pitmaster is a familiar name: Dave "Fink" Finkelstein, who's still running Fink's Smokehouse (Dumont NJ). The wide menu includes all the basics plus beef ribs, smoked wings, beer cheese, Texas and Cajun lollipops (bacon-wrapped sausage and pork loin), chicken fried steak, gumbo, an ever-changing chili, a boneless country rib sandwich, seafood, burgers, Cajun, smoked portobello hash and too much more to list.




  • Marathon Burgers and Barbeque (Hopkinton MA) closed in late January. Kudos for at least stating so to their mailing list, announcing "We've smoked our last brisket." Thanks to Mary Ann for the info.

  • Bludini BBQ (Norwalk CT) closed after less than a half year in business. Thanks to Sledneck for the lead.

  • Canz (Patchogue NY) closed yet another outpost, leaving the deflated breastaurant empire with only its original Long Island location in Westbury. But there is some uplifting news: the Patchogue location is becoming South Shore BBQ Company. Thanks to Eric, Guy and Sledneck for separate leads on this.




  • Bobby Q's Pit Stop (Greenwich CT) now has a website.

  • Gabi's Smokeshack (food truck based out of New Hampshire) is still up and running, but the closing of Nashua Harley-Davidson puts a dent in their most frequent location.






Boston Burgers: Alden & Harlow Reviewed

Time for another burger review, and this time it's not a holiday season barbecue alternative but a burger I've been anticipating for a while. It's Alden & Harlow (Cambridge MA), the first restaurant by Michael Scelfo as both chef and owner.

See my burger review for Alden & Harlow






Chain Food BBQ Mutations: Rib Sandwich at BK

Finally got around to trying the Burger King $1 rib sandwich earlier this weekend. It's basically a pork burger, and a dry and thin one at that. Though it didn't have the tenderness of the McRib, it tasted closer (if not fully) to real meat. The predominant flavor, as with every Burger King red meat, was over the top grilliness that becomes intolerable after a few bites. I don't think even someone who lives for sauce would agree that the sauce (and by the way, where is it?) saved this sandwich. While the meat probably came from a pig, the rib sandwich bears no more resemblance to ribs than the Whopper does to filet mignon.


click to view larger image







Boston BBQ: SlowBones Reviewed

The site's 304th barbecue review is for SlowBones Modern BBQ (Burlington MA), the strip mall barbecue joint by the creator of Boston Market. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of SlowBones






Boston BBQ: Coast Cafe Revisited

A minor review uodate today after a recent revisit to Coast Cafe (Cambridge MA), a soul joint that has pork and beef ribs, but the go-to item is the crunchy fried chicken.



See my review of Coast Cafe






Massachusetts BBQ: Memphis Joe's Reviewed

The site's 303rd barbecue review is for Memphis Joe's (Weymouth MA), a South Shore joint that's part barbecue, part sports bar. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of Memphis Joe's







Maine BBQ: Salvage BBQ Reviewed

The site's 302nd barbecue review is for Salvage BBQ (Portland ME). Just keepin' it real, folks. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of Salvage BBQ







Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning

four states. This time there are three new joints, one expansion, one contraction, three more closings, one name/concept change and one new website.



  • Hill Country (Brooklyn NY) has now joined the outer boroughs barbecue explosion. This outpost is in the same complex as sister Hill Country Chicken. Thanks to TF for the lead.

  • Fat Spy Tavern (Bondeville VT) is a multifaceted restaurant at Stone's Lodge, at the base of the Stratton Access Road. With a ski-friendly location and a diverse menu, you'd think the barbecue items (ribs, pulled pork) would be oven baked and sauced—and who knows, they still might be—but the menu describes them as smoked.

  • 45th Parallel American BBQ (Rangeley ME) opened in late December at the Rangely Saddleback Inn in the northwest part of the state. They do the basic four plus smoked venison sausage. Thanks to Sledneck for the info. Facebook

  • Belluzzi's BBQ (Mount Vernon NY) is a Tex Mex that's been around a while but recently introduced barbecue to the repertoire. Thanks again to Sledneck for the find. Facebook



  • Wildwood Barbeque (NYC) has now closed. Apparently they lost their lease and the parent company chose to close rather than relocate. This was one of my favorites for anything on the bone: pork ribs, beef ribs, lamb ribs, smoked wings. Thanks to Matt and "Big Lou" for the info.

  • Foody's (Water Mill NY) is now closed. Thanks to Chuck for the info.

  • LJ's BBQ (Pawtucket RI) has closed, further weakening the state of barbecue around the smallest state's capital.

  • Canz (Astoria NY) closed yet another outpost, eliminating its NYC presence and leaving the deflated breastaurant empire with only its two Long island locations.




  • Beast of Bourbon (Brooklyn NY) now has a website.

  • Eldorado Southern Bar & Grill (Port Jefferson NY) is now Road Trip American Alehouse. According to a post on the Newsday restaurant blog, the menu includes babybacks, pulled pork and brisket, but they're not smoked. Thanks again to Sledneck for the info.





Boston Burbs Burgers: Smashburger Reviewed

The last of the burger reviews for a while empties the holiday burger pipeline. It's for Smashburger (Natick MA), the national chain that arrived in greater Boston in early November.

See my burger review for Smashburger






Boston Burgers: Beat Hotel Reviewed

The holiday-inflicted barbecue hiatus fallout continues with a burger review for Beat Hotel (Cambridge MA).

See my burger review for Beat Hotel






Boston BBQ: State Park Reviewed

The site's 301st barbecue review is for State Park (Cambridge MA), the new offspring of Hungry Mother around the corner. Is it barbecue? Well, loosely speaking. Is it good? Mostly. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of State Park







Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning

five states. This time there are eleven new joints, one new spin-off, six regular closings, one closing that's a contraction of a mini-chain, one closing of multiples of a mini-chain, one closing of a restaurant that's now a roadside venture, one closing of a restaurant that's about to move, one closing that became another opening that's now also closed, two non-closings that have shifted away from barbecue, one move, four new websites, one address correction and one phone number correction.



  • Buenos Diaz Cafe (Woodbury NY) is a Long Island joint in a former bagel joint that still serves breakfast along with barbecue for lunch and dinner. It's named after Mike Diaz, who's had some success on the competition circuit. Thanks to Eric for the lead. Facebook

  • Mara's Too (Wantagh NY) is the second location of Mara's Homemade (Syosset NY). Look for their signature Arkansas BBQ, fried chicken, po' boys, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee and gumbos. Thanks to Sledneck for the lead.

  • AD's Barbeque (Portsmouth NH) is a new joint specializing in ribs and wings, but they have much of the usual barbecue repertoire, including beef ribs. Not much is known yet (I think it might be the return of a long-gone older joint), but it appears to be primarily takeout.

  • Memphis Hustle (Cocksackie NY) is a new barbecue joint that has the usual suspects as well as a chipotle sweet potato soup. Thanks to John for the lead.

  • D&A BBQ (Scarsdale NY) is a new barbecue joint that opened in June. Thanks to Robert for the lead.

  • Smokin' Spokes Bar & Grill (Canton CT) is a new joint with entertainment and biker appeal. The wide ranging menu features the basics plus pizza, burgers (both classic and smoked pork), dogs, smoked chicken drums and lollipops and even dry aged steaks. Thanks to Mike for the lead.

  • Seven Sisters Market Bistro (Hadley MA) is a Friday-through-Sunday eatery that features smoked items (wings, ribs, pulled pork, pork loin, turkey), bison (burgers, meatballs) and vegetarian-friendy options for the meatphobic. Thanks to William for the lead.

  • Johnny D's BBQ (Mahopac NY) is a new joint with a basic barbecue menu along with nachos, quesadillas, panini and salads. They deliver for both lunch and dinner.

  • Northern Smoke BBQ (Carmel NY) is a new Hudson Valley joint with a  CIA-trained chef and a shiny new Ole Hickory smoker featured prominently on their website.

  • Grand Prix New York (Mount Kisco NY) is a go kart facility that ups the snack bar ante with legit smoked barbecue that includes ribs, pork, brisket, chicken and sausage. Thanks again to Sledneck for the lead.

  • State Park (Cambridge MA) is a new sibling of nearby Hungry Mother. Both are Southern, not barbecue, but State Park has a few smoked items and a menu I want to explore beyond the smoke.

  • Wing-N-It Grille & Bar (Bristol RI) is a recently opened wing joint that also has several barbecue items. I'd tell you what they are if they posted a menu, but for now they're just wingin' it.




  • Bone Lick Park (NYC) is now closed. Based on their Facebook announcements and comments, it seems like high rent may have had something to do with it, so there's hope for a resurfacing.

  • Fort Reno Provisions (Brooklyn NY) closed for the holidays with announced plans to reopen yesterday, but it has served its last meal. Ownership is instead retooling it as a tacqueria to open later this month. It's said that what goes up must come down, so the rapid barbecue growth in Brooklyn was bound to result in some casualties. In Fort Reno's case, with nearby Dinosaur breathing down its neck, you had to wonder how long it would last. Thanks to Chuck for the lead.

  • BBQTown (Roslindale MA) has apparently been closed for a while.

  • Ash Creek Saloon (multiple Connecticut locations) has apparently closed.

  • Down to the Bone BBQ (Stanhope NJ) is now closed.

  • Canzaciti Roadhouse (Kingston NY) is now closed. The breastaurant with ribs and pulled pork is still bouncing strong in Queens, Westbury and Patchogue.

  • Kinfolk's Award Winning BBQ (Brockton MA) has closed the restaurant and no longer has a functioning website but has been spotted doing roadside barbecue vending in nearby Taunton. Thanks to Brian for the lead.

  • WB Cody's (Westerly RI) is now closed.

  • Fred's House of Blues & BBQ (Willimantic CT) is now closed.

  • Smokestack Grille (North Hampton NH) is now closed. Thanks to Joe for the info.

  • The Heritage Smokehouse (North Hampton NH), which is what Smokestack Grille (which was previously Porkez BBQ) became in the same location, is now also closed, just seven weeks after opening. Yes, this one opened and closed before I added it to the directory, but it's in there now, both for posterity and as an aid to those who find it via Google and think it might still be open.



  • Nat Hayden's Real Pit BBQ (Windsor CT) relocated just up the road to 144B Broad Street. The new location features an expanded table and table service. Thanks to owner Norm for the info.

  • BBQue's Smoke Shack (NYC) shut down its 6th Avenue location in Chelsea and is preparing for a move uptown to the west side of Harlem at 125th Steeet. Thanks again to Chuck for the lead.

  • Zorn's (Bellmore NY) is using a different website from the pre-contraction era.

  • Marathon Burgers & Barbeque (Hopkinton MA) now has the correct address. My bad.

  • Little Brother BBQ (Brooklyn NY) now has the correct phone number. again, my bad.

  • Fatty Cue (Brooklyn NY) isn't closing, but they're now a bar only, meaning an occasional bar snack or two but no 'cue. The newer Fatty Cue in Manhattan is still doing the Asian-meets-BBQ thing. Thanks to Marty for the info.

  • One Eyed Pig (Newtown CT) isn't closing either, but as one Yelper put it, "What was once a great BBQ joint has been gutted by new management—no BBQ on the menu, and mediocre pub fare is what they replaced it with." Thanks to the One Eyed Pig employee who confirmed this (well, maybe not the mediocre part) by phone.

  • Hometown BBQ (Brooklyn NY) now has a website.

  • Knuckleheads (Wallingford CT) now has a website.

  • Beach Deck BBQ (Seabrook NH) now has a website.

  • Harlem BBQ Company (NYC) now has a website.





Boston "Old School BBQ": Tommy Floramo's and New Bridge Cafe Reviewed

I'm not going to call this a barbecue review, so the review count is still at an even 300, but here's a dual review for Tommy Floramo's and New Bridge Cafe (both in Chelsea MA). For many years these were the joints people thought of when they thought of ribs.

click to view larger image

See my review of Tommy Floramo's and New Bridge Cafe









Looking Back: The Best of 2013

Here are my top 20 barbecue visits of 2013. I didn't consciously do this, but there wound up being 10 from west of the Connecticut River and 10 to the east, with none actually in Connecticut. I did make a conscious effort to represent all of the basic four (pork ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken), plus beef ribs, burnt ends and wings. Chicken was surprisingly easy to choose; pulled pork surprisingly difficult. And as you've no doubt noticed, brisket is becoming more and more prominent as more and more joints are doing it well. Yes, there are some duplicates, all from New York City at the joints I consider the three best.



See my Top 20 for 2013







Brooklyn BBQ: Hometown BBQ Reviewed

The site's 300th barbecue review is for Hometown BBQ (Brooklyn NY), a cornerstone joint that borough's recent barcecue explosion. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

click to view larger image

See my review of Hometown BBQ








New Jersey Burgers: White Manna Reviewed

The barbecue hiatus (hey, it's the holidays) continues with a burger review of the historic White Manna (Hackensack NJ).

See my burger review for White Manna







Rhode Island Burgers: Crazy Burger Reviewed

The Rhode Island burger review trilogy concludes with my review of Crazy Burger (Narragansett RI), a joint that does more than just burgers.

See my review for Crazy Burger


For the other two reviews, just scroll down. But I'd be remiss in not noting that this trilogy came from a crawl that had not three stops but four. The fourth and possibly best stop was the already reviewed Harry's Bar and Burger (Providence RI).







Holiday Thanks

Thanksgiving is all about feeling thankful, but this time of year is more about being thankful, so here goes...



I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have provided leads for new barbecue joints. I do scan Google, Yelp and other sources for new and dead joints, but there's no substitute for helpful readers scattered across the northeast who notice these developments first and take the time to write in.

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have alerted me to typos, geographical errors and grammatical mistakes. Actually, I wish more people would do that, because I hate it when I reread something that's not right. While there's no excuse for typos in the age of spell check, the fact of the matter is I write most of my content on my iPhone in spurts, then email it to myself for transfer to web pages. Dropping it into a word processing program is something I'd like to do, but in the limited time I have, it's just not practical. So I truly appreciate the help.

Speaking of writing in, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have written in to disagree with something I've said. All too often I see real or hobbyist critics (I don't call myself one, by the way) with minions who agree with every Facebook post like barking seals when there are other viewpoints that could and should be voiced. I don't want barking seals, so thanks for the contrarian views.

Speaking of Facebook, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have 'liked' the PigTrip BBQ Reviews Facebook page. Even the ones who never 'like' a single post and have probably only 'liked' the page to keep tabs on it for their cowardly friends.

Speaking of Facebook 'likes,' I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have 'liked' not only the page but individual posts as well. It only takes a split second, but it greatly helps the visibility of the page among your Facebook friends. And 'sharing' is caring and linking is thinking (in or out of Facebook), so thank you for thinking of me. I am humble and grateful.

Speaking of Facebook comments, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have taken even more time to leave comments. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; I say a comment is worth a thousand 'likes.' And remember, contrarian views are welcome. Views with anecdotal evidence to support them are even more welcome.

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of those who have joined me on barbecue crawls and have endured my ordering quirks, the endless photo taking, the frequent bathroom breaks and seemingly more bad 'cue than good as we try to find that next great joint.

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the owners who have involved themselves with the site and Facebook. There are some sites where owners are forbidden; here, owners are not only welcome but appreciated. Owners who weigh in with viewpoints that educate (rather than to just 'sell') and who are good sports (i.e., accepting that not every joint can be #1 and that not all their items are going to get raves) are even more appreciated.

More importantly, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the owners who take their craft seriously and who take the time to be in their restaurants and in the trenches. It's a lot easier to stay home and let lieutenants take the reins, and it's a lot easier to drop a token "How was everything?" as customers are on their way out, but the ones who truly care are proactively making sure everything's done right and already know the answer. To you, I say thanks.

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the woman who lives in my glove compartment. I can't say that you've never steered me wrong, but then again, I can't claim I've never steered anyone wrong either. We all need to recalculate on occasion. Thanks for never swearing back when I swear at you, and for always getting me home.

Speaking of home, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to my young bride for putting up with my barbecue whims, for making sure I get my ass to work on time when I'm attempting to upload just 10 more photos, for continuing to join me at barbecue joints even after becoming a vegetarian and for making me some much needed vegetarian meals to introduce some balance to my diet.


Thanks for everything in 2013, and here's to a great 2014 for all of you. Happy holidays!






Rhode Island Burgers: Farmstead Reviewed

Another Rhode Island burger reviews, this time more upscale: Farmstead (Providence RI), a combination restaurant and cheese shop.

See my burger review for Farmstead






Rhode Island Burgers: Burger Boys Reviewed

Time for another burger review, this time for Burger Boys (Lincoln RI), a retro joint with an affinity for butter.

See my burger review for Burger Boys





Boston Burbs BBQ: Marathon Reviewed

The site's 299th barbecue review (yes, it really is a barbecue review) is for Marathon Burgers & Barbeque (Hopkinton MA), a family restaurant that recent morphed into a (somewhat) burger and (mostly) barbecue joint with a smoker on wheels in the back parking lot. Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of Marathon Burgers & Barbeque






Boston Burbs BBQ: First Look at Slowbones permalink


The Joint


Slowbones, located in a small strip mall behind the larger Burlington Mall, looks a lot like a Boston Market. But that's no surprise considering that it's the creation of Boston Market founder Kip Kolow. Many of the elements and much of the vibe are there: over-the-counter ordering, numerous homestyle sides, attempts at higher quality ingredients, seemingly healthy options and a handsome interior that shows good taste and some money behind it. Oh, and one thing Boston Market doesn't have: a Southern Pride smoker clearly visible behind the counter.


I was there on night one, paying my own way and checking the place out to get an early look that admittedly may not be 100% representative of future visits. Let me repeat that, and consider this a disclaimer: things will probably change, as they inevitably do with any restaurant opening. Some of the kinks may get worked out, some of the menu could get dropped, some of the portions could grow or shrink and some of the techniques may evolve.


Anyhoo... here's my quick take, which is not to be taken as a full review just yet. It's close enough that I'll get multiple visits in throughout the next month; expect a full review before the new year (and yes, along with Nashua's Riverside Barbeque and Portland's Salvage BBQ, among others).




The Menu


Real quick: many choices, only one combo, but much flexibility thanks to "add on" items that allow you to create your own combo.




The Order


I ordered the barbecue sampler, which comes with two ribs, brisket, a quarter chicken and two sides. Note that cornbread is available as a side but counts as one of the sides—so if you want it, it's that plus one other side. I was asked if I wanted some sauces from their 10 or so varieties. I asked if they were on the side rather than on the meat and the server said yes. She asked me if I wanted a drink and I told her water. There was no receipt; she just asked my name and that was what was going to get me checked out at the end (where I again was asked if I wanted a drink and twice asked if I wanted dessert).




The Food

Ribs: As it turned out the ribs were sauced, though I think it was a standard house sauce, as opposed to either of the sauces I specified. I was very impressed with the cut (plump St Louies) and the height of the ribs. They had a nice pink color on the cross sections and looked like a higher grade of ribs from what most restaurants use. They were grilled with the sauce before service, putting just a hint of a crust on them (could have used more, though I appreciated their not being grilled to death). But the texture, while indicative of good doneness, had much steaminess that suggested there may have been a sauna involved between smoking and grilling. Actual juices were involved too, so it's wasn't just steamy moisture. Flavor was strong: not necessarily smoky (almost absent) and not necessarily rubby (rub did poke through the sauce, at least visibly), but an intensity that I enjoyed. Add a little bit more smoke and crisp that surface up a little more, and these would be very good ribs.


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The two sauces I ordered never came with the clamshell arrangement used to house the meal. Now that I think of it, I wonder if there was a charge for those sauces. On the plus side, instead of receiving two ribs I received four that were connected and one extra one that was separate, making a bounty of five ribs. Not bad for a $15.95 combo.



Brisket: A little pale and a lot pot roasty, but it had potential. The pieces were larger than chunks but none of them would constitute what I would call a legitimate slice. All had good moisture (again mostly steamy with some real juices in there too); some had a semblance of crust. Flavor was very mildly smoky with no real rub flavor on the surface like many do. The steaminess and rubbery texture were the major issues for me.


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Chicken: The sampler platter's poultry component was a quarter bird with some breast meat in addition to dark meat—more bounty . All of it was red from the saucing (basically sweet with a little kick) and most of the skin was crisp from the grilling. Just like the ribs, the chicken had a bumpy rub that poked through the saucing. The owner's background at Boston Market came through here, as the chicken had that same briny feel that was full of flavor, but with much more freshness and complementary flavors from the rub. Either this didn't have thesteaminess that I noticed on the other meats, or the chicken wears it a little better. Either way, it was the item I thought they did best that night. I have a feeling the chicken will be a better seller than the red meats, and will probably travel better on takeout orders.


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Pulled pork: Not included on the sampler but I ltook note of all the meats in the steam trays as I mozied down the line, and this looked pretty good. More good in a "Chipotle's having a good day today" good than killer barbecue good, but it definitely looked good enough to prioritize next time. The bruiche buns also looked good.



Wings: Again, as I am wont to do, I studied plates on others' tables, and the wings looked more grilly than smoky. Not a priority, but I know I'm gonna get 'em anyway.



Sides: Cole slaw and cucumber salad were both complex, crunchy and flavorful, with some good spice on the former. More bounty: about halfway through the meal a server appeared at the table and said here are your beans. I replied that I didn't order beans and he said that's okay, just take them. Less flavorful, but a hearty"American" tasting version without the typical sweetness. Some meat inclusion helped.



The Outlook

Hard to say; it was only day 1. If forced to make a guess, I'd guess that I'm going to like SlowBones enough to consider it for a quick option while shopping, but never choose it to scratch that barbecue itch. But better than I thought, and time to improve. I'll keep you posted.


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Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

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Pulled pork sandwich at Smokehouse Tavern, Lowell MA.


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Pulled pork at BT's Smokehouse, Sturbridge MA.


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Ribs and brisket at Riverside Barbeque, Nashua NH.


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Pork ribs at Coast Cafe, Cambridge MA.


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Crispy pork belly steamed buns at BT's Smokehouse, Sturbridge MA.


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Pulled pork sandwich at SlowBones, Burlington MA (different visit from previous photo).


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Chicken, ribs and brisket at SlowBones, Burlington MA.


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Ribs, pork and brisket at Memphis Joe's, Weymouth MA.






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