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Aug 13, 2006 12:48 PM

BBQ Places That Aren't Primarily Takeout?

So we were in the mood for some BBQ last night, and we headed up to Murphy's Country Kitchen in Hyde Park. As we drove by we saw that all three tables were full and there were other people who seemed to be waiting. We continued on to Jake's in JP...and realized there is no more Jake's(?). There was some new place there that looked like a sub shop. So we gave up on BBQ and went to Plan B--beers and sandwiches at Doyle's.

I always seem to get frustrated when I look for barbecue spots in the Boston area. Other than Blue Ribbon, Firefly's, and Jake's in Waltham, what other BBQ places are worth going to (with emphasis on sit-down places, so that would cancel out Murphy's and the Pit Stop).

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  1. Soulfire in Allston is pretty good, and there's lots of tables, but you do order at the counter and then sit down. There's no waiters.

    1. Much recent discussion can be found about the merits (and drawbacks) of Redbones in Davis Square, Somerville.


      6 Replies
      1. re: BJK

        I'd certainly think Redbones if I wanted to sit down for BBQ. I'll have to try Soul Fire now though... and Village Smokehouse - was thinking of stopping there riding on the T today.

        1. re: steinpilz

          Village Smokehouse? Dear God no. They blantantly finish off all of the meat on a big grill out front just to sear on some sauce. That's not barbecue. I doubt any of it is actually smoked either.

          1. re: Dax

            Haven't been to Village Smokehouse yet, um.... Thanks for the comment, I see similar ones below so I consider myself warned.

            1. re: Dax

              They do (and I agree that VS is bad)--but name a single BBQ place in all of Boston that doesn't? ECG, Uncle Pete's, they all smoke first and finsih on a grill.
              Along the same lines--went to Linwood the other night, and I could not have been more disappointed with their ribs. Waste of a meal.

              1. re: AHan

                Actually big difference. Uncle Pete's and others may warm up finished BBQ on a grill. This is meat that has been cooked low and slow for 4-12 hours. And probably kept warm in a smoker that is has died down almost completly. Getting this BBQ piping hot on a grill for a few minutes at the end, no biggie. Big difference from meat that was poached in water, smoked a bit if you're lucky, and then has sauce burnt on at the last minute to give it flavor.

                1. re: AHan

                  Well it's amazing how VS manages to suck all of the smoked taste out of the meat before serving it. I went once and won't return.

                  Edit: What I meant is that VS seems to a make such a spectacle about it. I've only eaten there once for a quick bite and wasn't all that impressed. But I've been there for drinks a couple of times when Matt Murphy's got too crowded. They seemed intent on jacking up the high heat on that front grill until flames were quite visible in order to sear sauce onto the ribs. The darkness on the ribs I saw come and go was not from a good bark, but rather from too much high heat and excessive caramelization. Linwood seemed to do that too, but I haven't eaten their 'cue in 3 years.

                  Whatever ECG does, that's bark on their ribs, not burnt sauce.

                  I haven't eaten at Pete since one disappointing visit just before their move.

          2. Uncle Pete's in Revere has plenty of seating.

            1. Ate at Soul Fire last night for the first time. Very happy with the ribs, their house sauce, mac 'n' cheese and baked beans. Come to think of it, the corn bread and pickles were real good too. All in all, I'd say the food surpassed Blue Ribbon, Redbones and the places in Waltham -- and there's lots of seating. All that's missing is a liquor license. I also was delighted that Memphis-style dry rub is available to sprinkle on your ribs. Mmmmm.

              6 Replies
              1. re: katzzz

                Pretty big statement to say they are better then Blue Ribbon... how many times have you eaten at BR? In my book, while sometimes a tad better, sometimes less, BR is beyond reproach on many fronts.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I've eaten at Blue Ribbon at least 30 times. I like it. I like the food, the people, the prices....yet while the ribs are satisfying enough, they fall short of piggy transcendence; they don't stop me from dreaming of Memphis and Kansas City. And I don't find any of their bbq sauces to be better than adequate.
                  But I'll have to go back to Soul Fire a few more times to see how the food holds up. Why don't you give it a try and tell us what you think.
                  By the way, they also serve baby backs at Soul Fire, which I didn't sample. In a brief discussion, the owner (?) said he preferred the spare ribs, which were meatier and tastier (and they were slightly cheaper, too).

                  1. re: katzzz

                    I've actually spent a decent amount of time in Memphis and KC. Blue Ribbon is as good as the best Memphis joints, and better then many KC places. Honestly, I travelled in the south for 6 years for work and BR and East Coast Grill are consistently (not every single time) up their with the best I've had. I also am not a Pete's fan, but only been their once.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I think Blue Ribbon is the best around these parts. If you want to drive 4 hours to Syracuse, then Dinosaur bbq is excellent. I have not been to KC but to Memphis dozens of times and Corkys is great. Also great food at BB Kings place. There are always plenty of small no name shack like places that will put 99% of the places we have up here to shame.

                      There is a new place open in Ayer MA that I have meaning to try out. It is called Tejano Loco. The guy says he has been smoking meats since he was 12 years old with his dad

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I used to live in western NY and know Dinosaur is very good (there's one in Rochester and in NYC now as well), great music too.

                        I'll also put in a plug here for Curtis' in Putney VT, another great stop if anyone is traveling around there:


                    2. re: StriperGuy

                      Yeah, I kind of scratched my head over that and then decided that maybe the poster was someone who doesn't like a strong smokey 'cue taste or doesn't value it as high as other things - you know, the BBQ equivalent of people who like to drink coffee but genuinely prefer Dunkin Donuts because it is mildly coffee flavored liquid vs roll the taste around the tongue **coffee**. Because that's my main criticism of Soul Fire - not a lot of smoke taste to anything, with the pulled pork probably the strongest - while I dream about Blue Ribbon's rich, smokey brisket and burnt ends. Otherwise what I've had a SF has been pretty good. Especially since I noticed last time they had toned down the sweetness a bit in the collards.

                  2. if you want excellent barbeque food go to the New Bridge cafe in
                    chelsea ma. near the revere line--washington avenue.
                    there steak tips, lamb tips, turkey tips are awsome!!
                    they also have excellent ribs and sausage as well there salad dressing is very unique but also excellent!!
                    check it out!!
                    Frankie Imbergamo

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: StriperGuy


                        FRANKIE IMBERGAMO

                        1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                          Frankie...Most bbq restaurants serve ribs but all places that serve ribs are not doing bbq. Agree that New Bridge does do great steak, lamb and turkey tips..but they are not doing bbq in the generally accepted method..which is slow smoking. They're grilling.

                          1. re: frankie Imbergamo

                            Frankie, just wanted to be clear that some of us chownerds are very specific about BBQ. BBQ pork and beef is very specific. Cooked low and slow, a minimum of 6 hours, and more like 10+, over a wood smoke fire. I don't doubt New Bridge Cafe has excellent chow, but true BBQ is a special thing.

                            Down south if you say you are going to make barbecue and then say I am going to grill some burgers and tips and chicken, people will reply: "oh, you mean you are having a cookout." Implication being that a cookout is different then true BBQ.