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Apr 3, 2007 09:05 AM

Lovejoy's KansAZ City BBQ (Phoenix)

I've had the BBQ Jones a bit recently so I figured for the National Championship game some good beer and brisket would be appropriate. It was 5:30 and I needed to be back for pre-game at six, so going outside the 7th St and Thunderbird region would mean crossing really bad traffic, so I decided to give the neighborhood a try ... Lovejoy's on Bell just east of 7th Street.

I wanted some variety so I got the three meat (sausage, beef (brisket) and pork ribs) with potato salad and coleslaw to go. It took probably 10 minutes to get the order together as there were three orders in front of mine. No sauce was provided - the guy before me at the take out counter had to come back and ask for some. I didn't bother as I figured I always have a jar of Stubb's in the fridge at home so I'd be okay. So I got home in plenty of time to let the beer cool before I dug into the que at tipoff.

I opened the styrofoam container to find the ribs on bottom, with sausage and brisket mounded on top and the sides in their little cups there now soaked in sauce. I nibbled a bit on a piece of sausage and it seemed promising .... firm, decent flavor. I'm glad I didn't trouble myself to get more sauce as what I had there, pooled at the bottom under the ribs, was terrible. I poured it off the container into a dippin bowl and it was running, greased up from the ribs and just plain boring.

Overall, the sausage was the only barely positive item. It was well made with a hint of fatty goodness, little bit of spice and a nice texture. But the rest of the plate completely dissapointed me. The sides were cafeteria-quality at best, the brisket was stringy and completely devoid of flavor - no, I'm serious, not salt, not sugar, not sour ... nothing. Like tasting the air after you wave a piece of cardboard in front of your face. And given that the sauce was only mildly more interactive on the tongue, it hardly helped to dip it. So I broke out the stubbs and a tortilla and with the pickles and jalaenos I at least made a decent sandwich out of it.

And the ribs, well first off I ended up getting beef instead of pork which wasn't a good sign to start with. Calling these things ribs was probably an overstatement. Fatty bones might be more appropriate. This cow needed some exercise, man. There were three and I hardly made it through one and just tossed the rest.

I just cannot understand why people don't do good barbeque. Yes, it takes some good recipes, definitely takes time but I think it takes quality meat, too, and that's where places like Lovejoy's really screw up. They try and go cheap and it really shows.

That's my third time with them and all three have been failures, so I give up on them. I guess that means I have to drive a bit to Honey Bear, Haps - or a real-bit to Eat At Joe's - to quell my BBQ Jones.

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  1. I see they haven't changed much from my absolutely disappointing visit in 2005.

    Well, I guess they do get points for consistency.

    1. Wow, not representing KC very well. Too bad. The only BBQ joint I've been to in AZ is Honey Bears. It was passable, but if you don't smell the smoke when you walk into the place, you know there is a problem.

      By the way, I was shopping at AJ's last week and noticed they had Gate's BBQ sauce from Kansas City. My all time favorite sauce - especially the Extra Hot for those that like it spicy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KCRob

        I go the Gates in Westport/Country Club Plaza area when I'm in KC. It's good - only place I'll actually do burnt ends. The sauce is good, but after 13 years in West Texas I'm a Stubb's diehard for bottled sauce. Have you tried Grady's? It's a local one and they're at the farmer's market on Cactus some Saturdays .... it's good, the hot is actually hot and it's nice to have a local source.

      2. We ate at Eat At Joe's Sunday on the way home from Vegas. It was fantastic! We had the pulled pork sandwiches. They were huge! The meat was so flavorful and tender. I liked both sauces they had. The only thing we didn't like were the sides. I don't understand why people don't invest in their side dishes at bbq places. We had beans, potato salad, and coleslaw. Everything tasted like it was store bought or out of a can. I still will go back because the bbq is so fantastic.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Kari

          Wow...I think Joe's has the best beans on the planet. They're very flavorful, and best of all they have some nice chunks of meat mixed in.

          Also, their cheesy potatoes make for a nice side dish.

          1. re: mitchgx

            Have you tried the beans at Joe's Real BBQ in Gilbert? EXCELLENT.

            1. re: azhotdish

              We went to Joe's in Gilbert a couple weekends ago. I'd forgotten just how good their sauce is. And their beans are just amazing.

              1. re: azhotdish

                Maybe I'm confused....when people were referring to "Eat at Joe's", I assumed they meant Joe's Real BBQ. Is there actually a place called Eat at Joe's?

                In any case, yes, I agree with you. :)

                1. re: mitchgx

                  Yes. Eat at Joe's is in beautiful, downtown Wikieup.

                  Joe's Real BBQ is in the East Valley.

                  1. re: Seth Chadwick

                    Now those are two words you often don't see next to Wikieup - "beautiful" OR "downtown".

                    1. re: Seth Chadwick

                      LOL. I guess I learned something new. Doesn't Joe's in Gilbert actually have a sign out front that say's "Eat at Joe's"? I just figured the OP was confused. Turns out I was the confused one.

                      So, I'll take Kari's word that the beans she had weren't very good. But, yes, the beans at Joe's in Gilbert are excellent! :)

                    2. re: mitchgx

                      I did mean Eat at Joe's in Wikieup. They both have different names, Wikieup is Eat at Joe's and Gilbert is Joe's Real BBQ. I did like the beans the best at Eat at Joe's, but their other side dishes were very disappointing. I still think the beans were from a can of Bush's beans doctored up.