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Best BBQ?

Hello - nice southern guy here looking for some great, moist, smokin' bbq in the greater boston area. i tried all the "best" that people have recommeded as in blue ribbon (newton), redbones (somerville) and village smokehouse (brookline). i was v. disappointed at all of them. had better bbq at corky's in the south. that's not good. :T has anyone tried bob's or know of some enchanting place that cranks out some mean ribs, brisket, and yummy corn bread?

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  1. Well, for pork ribs, my fav is Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs in Revere. Frankly, I like pork ribs so much, I rarely eat any other kind of BBQ.

    BTW, I think Redbones is vastly overrated.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bostonbob3

      Thanks man. I agree about Redbones. I love pork ribs and will def. check out uncle pete's. cheers!

    2. Most all of the cornbread I tried in my 8 years in Boston was of the sweet variety, rather than the more dense, butter laden cornbread which I grew up on in Georgia.

      Bob's is not the place to go for good 'cue.

      Do a search, the boston board is littered with threads about the "best" barbecue in Boston.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Dax

        Nice avatar. I bet you hear that from all the girls.

        I don't think the OP will find better than Blue Ribbon for meats (mmmm, brisket) and Uncle Pete's for pork ribs, do you?

        1. re: yumyum

          I didn't try Pete's in Revere before I moved, but the last time I ate at the Eastie location, the ribs were a bit dry.

          I tended to rely on my own ribs but would get pulled at Blue Ribbon (a step down or two from say, Allen and Sons in Chapel Hill, but still damn good) and sometimes their brisket. After going to Kreuz in Lockhart, TX, I've changed my mind about all brkset can be. Blue Ribbon's isn't as good, but it's one of the better ones in Boston. Haven't tried the brisket at the newish place in Allston.

          And the avatar comes through as only a portion of the CH sandwich. Shame.

          1. re: yumyum

            As a Pete's fan, I have to say that the ribs I've been having recently at Lester's in Burlington would stand up pretty well.

        2. Fireflies has good brisket and pulled pork. Sides are a little weak.
          How's the chowder south of the M/D line?

          1. Uncle Pete's is a must...great food!

            I heard so many great things about RedBones but when I actually ate there I hated it...so overrated!

            I've heard alot about Fireflies but I live on the North Shore so Uncle Pete's is closest!

            1. Nothing compares to the BBQ I used to have in Chicago (Twin Anchors, Carsons, etc) which is as serious about bbq as Boston is about ice cream. Still, Blue Ribbon in West Newton and Bison Country in Waltham are pretty good. Memphis Roadhouse in South Attleboro and Firefly's in Framingham have decent BBQ but lose points for mediocre side dishes.

              1. You gotta eat alot of bad/mediocre bbq in Boston to get some good stuff. What I mean is that every place I have been to are very inconsistent. I've had the best bbq meal at Redbones one time (unbelievable brisket and ribs)- but that was out of 50 tries. I've had the best ribs at blue ribbon in arlington once - out of 20 or so tries (the ribs at newton are consistently bad, but the pulled pork is consistently better at newton). Lester's in Burlington is also inconsistent. I understand when it comes to smoking food, some things are going to come out better than others on any given day, but I don't understand how you can go from great to sucky on the drop of a hat.

                1. I'm suprised you didn't like Blue Ribbon. I'm from NC, and it's the best ENC-style I've had away from home.

                  What style Q do you like?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Venable

                    I don't have a favorite style, I like them all if done right.

                    The ribs at BR had a noticeable smoke flavor when I first started getting them at the Arlington location about 2 years ago, but about a year or so, I noticed no smoke flavor in the ribs. Pulled pork there is not pulled, its chopped to the consistency of chunk lite tuna and was usually dry without sauce. Brisket was hit or miss. I have been going to the Newton location for the last few months since my office moved, and the pulled pork here is very good - pulled actually, and juicy without sauce. But the ribs I've had here were bad. First time they were overcooked and mushy, next time really dry, so I stopped getting them.

                    Can't say I don't like blue ribbon overall, but they really need to do better.

                    1. re: LStaff

                      I don't think "chopped" is a fair description of Blue Ribbon's pulled pork. Burnt ends, yes. Pulled pork, no. It's definitely shredded.


                      1. re: BJK

                        Which location are you talking about? Definitely chopped at the Arlington location, pulled at the Newton location.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          Arlington. I must admit, I haven't ordered the pulled pork in years, so maybe they changed their prep since I've done so. I always get the ribs plus either brisket or burnt ends.


                  2. For me, it's all about knowing where to go for what:

                    Blue Ribbon's got decent pulled pork (nothing like Allan & Son's though, which I was fortunate enough to have last month in Chapel Hill), but I dislike their ribs.

                    The texas style ribs at Redbones are actually ok, but not mind-altering. The rest of their ribs are mediocre.

                    I have yet to find brisket I can actually enjoy.

                    I’ve only been to Lester’s and Soulfire once a piece and felt no reason to go back.

                    The wetbones at East Coast Grille are insane - in no way, shape or form comparable to southern bbq - but damn tasty.

                    Cornbread - hmmm - I make my own.

                    1. pigtrip.net is a worthy site to reference.

                      1. has anyone ever tried big mo's in dorchester?? pretty darn good. he works out of a trailer in an abandoned lot. may not sound great but it's the real deal if you ask me. ribs, pork, chicken. great sides too. not open every day and strictly take away, but give it a shot if you are in the area (bowdoin st. in dorchester). can some hounds please back me up on this??

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thekidd

                          I've had Mo's ribs & chicken a few times and thought they were great...sides too.
                          I've acutally driven over 30 miles to find him not there sometimes.
                          I need to find out if he has a mobile phone I could call to see if he is there on a day I plan to make a trip.

                        2. Has anyone tried Poppa B's in Mattapan (Blue Hill Ave)? It was written up in the Globe on 1/10/07 but I haven't been there yet. It sounded like it might have potential.

                          1 Reply
                          1. infomaniac,

                            BIG MO

                            here is the cell- 617 306 0788- as of a menu i picked up this summer. hope that it's still valid. not sure if mo keeps winter hours or not, but he'll defs be around come spring if you don't reach him. good luck.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: thekidd

                              Does Big Mo actually smoke the ribs, or just grill them?

                              1. re: thekidd

                                thanks kidd, you made my day.
                                spring will be here before you know it.

                              2. no, he actually smokes them. he has a huge, man made/jerry rigged 50 gallon drum smoker right next to the trailer. his wife works the register/puts together the plates, while mo smokes the food. and if it brings any cred to the table for bbq snobs ( i am one), they are natives of north carolina.

                                1. I agree with some of the other posts in that there's some inconsistency out there and that different places do different things well. Village Smokehouse is abominable. Sorry you didn't like Blue Ribbon. Redbones has its ups and downs. Soul Fire has been great on occasion but can't seem to sustain it on successive meals. My recent visits to Lester's in Burlington have been very good for ribs and brisket.

                                  If you want to try something good and don't mind traveling a bit, give the following a shot:
                                  - Goody Cole's, Brentwood NH (Texas style StL ribs, good sliced brisket and decadent chopped brisket)
                                  - Chili Head BBQ, W. Bridgewater MA (decent brisket and huge, juicy, very smoky ribs)
                                  - Big Bubba's BBQ at Mohegan Sun (melt in your mouth ribs and thin sliced, smoky brisket)

                                  As suggested before, check out the site http://www.pigtrip.net to see photos and reviews of BBQ joints from Boston to NY. Read the reviews or just view the food photos and decide for yourself which places look good.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: GaryLovesFood

                                    Checked out the pigtrip.com site, but after this comment about Uncle Pete's, I left it very quickly:

                                    //The pork ribs were smoky and juicy, but firmer than the usual melt in your mouth variety I've had here before; I wonder if it's because I didn't get a full or half rack. They were still tasty, just not top notch.//

                                    "Melt in your mouth"???

                                    That's amateur BBQ, and overcooked to boot. Proper pork ribs are SUPPOSED to be fairly firm. If the writer had "melt in your mouth" ribs at Pete's before, I'm sure Pete himself would have refunded his money upon request.

                                    Yikes. Why do so many people enjoy eating baby food?

                                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                                      Don't you love it when people exclaim how good some bbq was by saying "the meat fell right off the bone when i picked it up"? You should be able to pull the meat away from the bone somewhat easily, but it should not fall off by itself or be mushy.

                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                        1. Uncle Pete's ribs are by no means fall off the bone
                                        2. Nowhere did it say that good ribs should be fall off the bone or that Uncle Pete's ribs are fall off the bone.
                                        3. Most of the places serving fall off the bone ribs get slammed on www.pigtrip.net.
                                        4. You're right, proper ribs are supposed to be fairly firm.
                                        5. Most of the places I recommended (Goody Cole's, Chili Head, Blue Ribbon, Lester's) serve up a firmer (and in my opinion, better) rib than Pete.
                                        6. The other place I mentioned-- Big Bubba's-- is recommended more for the brisket.

                                        1. re: GaryLovesFood

                                          Just got back from Pete's, and, after reading how many chowhounds consider the ribs the finest in the Boston area, I am mystified. What anyone could like about the place?

                                          My wife and I left feeling nauseous from the amount of sugar we consumed. Everything was way too sweet: the "cornbread", the slaw, the "baked" beans which were not baked, the mac & cheese, not to mention the strange-tasting BBQ sauce. I think even the batter on the onion rings was sweetened.

                                          But how about the meat? Well, I had a combo plate with ribs & brisket. The brisket was inedible - undercooked, tough and swimming in some sweet sauce. The ribs were fair at best - cooked to the right degree, but not much smoke and they came already sauced! Not a lot of sauce, but still, sauce should be on the side.

                                          I guess I'll be sticking to Blue Ribbon for bbq.

                                          1. re: SmokeDawg

                                            Guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm a 3-time Memphis in May participant, and think Uncle Pete's pork ribs are by FAR the best around. But BBQ is a passionate topic, and everyone has their own opinion.

                                            I do agree that Pete's sides can be sub-par. By I only go there for ribs, so it doesn't matter to me.

                                            IMO, Blue Ribbon's ribs are fatty, under-smoked, and bland. Their pulled pork is acceptable.

                                            Redbones is a joke.

                                            1. re: SmokeDawg

                                              I second the "too much sugar" assessment - everything I've had there was far too sweetened. Meat, beans, slaw, cornbread, sauce - I think of it as Uncle Pete's House of Corn Syrup.

                                              "Oversweetened" has always been my review of Pete's, but we seem to be the only two.

                                      2. If you are heading north and find your self in Manchester NH, try Premier Palette - many are raving - here's the latest from fellow chowhounders............

                                        1. WOW, suprised about Blue Ribbon....not so suprised about Redbones; their pulled chicken is much better than their pulled pork. A lot of people I know LOVE Bison County on Moody in Waltham, it is OK. Also down the street is Jake's, never eaten there, never see people eating in there, not sure how it survives; even the bar is rarely crowded. Firefly's in Marlboro and Framingham are OK if you like very saucy BBQ. My heart belongs to Blue Ribbon...........

                                          Anyone ever been to the BBQ joint on Centre St in either JP or Roslindale on Washington St? The name escapes me looks like a dive, wouldnt stop at night but I always wondered how it was.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: LovesFoieGras

                                            Are you thinking of Jake's Boss BBQ?

                                            Jake sold the place about a year and a half ago, but before then, it was pretty good.

                                            1. re: GaryLovesFood

                                              I think LovesFoieGras meant Jake's Dixie Roadhouse, formerly known as Jake and Earl's. I actually think they do a good job on their pulled pork, but it's a little more vinegary than I like it (and I like vinegary). Their onion rings are crazy delicious and made-to-order.


                                            2. re: LovesFoieGras

                                              The one on Washington in Roslindale I think is called Barbecue Town and it is awful. I ate there twice over a year ago. The first time I figured I would give it a try and I try to give places two chances so I was convinced to try again a couple months later and it was still just as bad.

                                            3. When I lived in boston the best Q was at Porterhouse Cafe. By far.
                                              If you go west a bit to Hatfield I recommend Holy Smokes

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                                                Before I became a veggie I LOVED Uncle Petes.. and if you have aproblem w/ the ribs please tell him. He is a nice man. For burnt ends I would say Blue Ribbon - very yummy as are there mased potatoes. Their greens aren't bad either. I personally never liked Blue Ribbon's ribs - too fatty for me. I loved Petes b/c they were moist, not covered in sauce and have a great fflavor. I always thought Redbones was nothing special.

                                                As mentioned above Jakes was good - was.. Jake had some great food but wasn't so great w/ accounting.

                                                1. re: cowgirlinthesand

                                                  I used to eat at the Porterhouse Grill or Cafe when I first moved to Boston (1998). The 'cue was ok, but over-sauced, a problem I find with lots of Boston area 'cue joints.

                                                2. Chef Lee's gets good reviews - there are 2 locations, 1 on Columbia Ave the other on Blue Hill Ave. Do a search under the restaurant section on Boston.com for details.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kparke30

                                                    I've never seen real barbecue at Chef Lee's - they do have "barbecue chicken" which seems to be chicken drenched in a tomato-based barbecue sauce. Also, as far as I recall, Chef Lee's II on Columbia Ave replaced the original Chef Lee's on Blue Hill Ave (RIP).

                                                  2. Tried Lester's yesterday (based on a recommendation) but won't hurry back. Still really happy with our new BBQ find in Manchester NH - Premier Palette on Elm Street. I liked Lester's collard greens though but ribs, pulled pork, and chicken all seemed dry and like it had been waiting for us all day.

                                                    1. Folks, please help us keep this a focused source for Boston-area chow tips. If you have recommendations for great BBQ outside of the Boston area, please post them on the New England board. Thanks!

                                                      1. I'm a big fan of Tennesee BBQ - they have a couple locations, but I've only gone to the Braintree loc. I love their Baby back and Memphis Ribs (falls off the bone), and their corn bread is excellent! I'm not a big fan of the meat being doused in BBQ sauce after it is cooked, which is a major reason I love this place. They do offer as much sauce as you want on the side in 3 flavors. I usually go for baked sweet potato and mac n cheese for sides....both are excellent.

                                                        1. To the original poster, my favorite pork ribs in Boston are Uncle Pete's. However, I haven't tried them since they moved to Saugus. Are you by any chance from Texas (because you're looking for good brisket and couldn't find it)? I agree with my Texas-native friend that there's no good brisket in Boston. Corn bread is not worth traveling for on its own, IMHO, so you're out of luck, because Uncle Pete's corn bread is nothing special. I'm off to try Poppa B's, because I'm always looking for new 'cue.

                                                          1. My Texan DC and I ate at Uncle Pete's for the first time last night after a movie in Revere and were Really happy. Uncle Pete came by and chatted with us a couple of times as did the waitstaff, the other diners were also friendly. We split some beef and some pork ribs. I generally don't like beef ribs and prefer pork. However, the beef ribs there were SO good; I liked them better. Both were excellent. The homemade fries and rings were great, the beans were tasty, and I liked that they offer the Asian take on slaw. We really enjoyed ourselves and I'm looking forward to the leftovers.

                                                            1. I was in Allston today and saw that Soulfire got their LL, that's a winner as BBQ without beer is unthinkable.

                                                              So I had a greal pulled pork sandwich ($6), it had some kind of sauce mixed in before I added the Carolina style vinegar based sauce - I don't remember pulled pork being served pre-sauced in NC but that was 20 years ago. Also had some good house-made pickles and a tasty baked bean side, and a Harpoon IPA draft ($4). The service was also very attentive. All in all, a pretty nice $10 lunch.

                                                              1. If you ever make your way to western Massachusetts, Bub's BBQ is the place to go for home cooked ribs, chicken, pulled pork and all you can eat sides. Just outside of the college town of Amherst, Bub's is a great little place for a big meal.