I too went to the first night of the beach party. Lines moved slow, more due to the laid back southern approach to life than to heavy crowds. I went with 5 other people and we bought "rounds" of ribs from each vendor except firefly's (by that time i was stuffed)
Jacks Down home bbq from Philly. Good rib! texture was perfect. Could have used a little more smoke. Sauce was good.
Red bones- dissapointing the rib was way under smoked and took work to get the meat off the bone. I have had much better at the restuarant. I still like the sauce tho..
Rib-bins ok, sauce was a little heavy handed but it did have a nice spice to it. Meat pulled off the bone nicley.
Fad daddys, to be honest i don't even remember this outfit. coundn't have been that good.
Daves good ol boy's bbq. middle of the road, ribs had a nice texture sauce was ok, ribs were a little thin.
cowboys. Wow! what a dissapointment. Ribs tasted like they had been simmered on my stove top. The ribs seemed like they had been cooked way too long, you needed a fork to eat them with. By far the worst rib I had.
Q. great looking design, I liked the ribs meaty, good ammount of sauce that was cooked on as opposed to just slopped on before eating. I also tried the hot dog here. Nice all beef dog, topped with brisket chilly and (pardon my spelling) chimmi-churi.
North Carolina Bbq. Great, better than great. Some of the best ribs I have ever had. Big ribs, meaty, just the right ammount of tenderness. I loved the sauce, again brushed on while grilling, it had the right ammount of sweetness that brought out the smoke in the meat. I don't think I will try a rib that good again.
Willinghams. Forget what I just said about never trying a rib that good again.
WOW I tried these ribs without sauce. It was the single best piece of pork I have put in my mouth in a while. Perfect ammount of smoke, the rub was not too overpowering and the flavor was spot on! I am thinking about going again sunday, just for willinghams.
I just wish there was a better beer selection.....maybe next year!
OK, here it is. I just got home from what I thought would be a great BBQ day and what "should" have been some great ribs. I did get to meet Dallas Green from "Cowboys" but I wish I could have offered him some tips on how to dry rub his ribs. The ribs we ordered there were nothing more than something slow cooked and a sauce that was much like a cheap KC Masterpiece or something. Forgot to mention that once we found the right line to wait an hour in, because we had to cut across lines to find the right one, it was just a big nuisance.
We opted for out after we finished our ribs and make our way around Boston for some thing we knew to be good. After a nice tall glass of Guiness at the "Bell in Hand" we decided that we would stay in Boston for supper and decided on Pizzaria Regina, the original on Thatcher Street in the North End. What a delight it was to have a great offering at a very reasonable price, service was very polite and the atmosphere was perfect. On from there for a nice after dinner local brewed beer at Boston Beer Works across from Fenway.....besides the trogs of drunken youngsters in baby blue t-shirts (some kind of drinking marathon thing going on at the same time) that experience was also better than the BBQ. Anyways, next year, save the $5 or $10 you could pay, read a few articles on Smoking and BBQ'ing your own ribs, and send the bones to the Andelmann boyz...save the money for something you know you will enjoy...I recommend Regina's !!!!
Right On !!! You hit the nail on the head. The only reason we went was because of John Willingham's Rib's,, still the best dry rub and still has the best smokers. This was a waste of time and money. What was this thing with Bud Light? The crowd drinking just turned us off. At the last Rib Cook Off at City Plaza they had over 30 Ribbers, but that was back in the 90's
I went with a fellow hound after work friday and it was fun but the barbecue we tried didn't wow me. The logistics were fine - the crowd wasn't too big last night, probably the occasional rain and cool temperatures kept more people away; the lines moved pretty quickly; that aspect was fine. Of course, today will probably attract more people and they're also doing a live taping of the show so I would expect it to be more hectic.
Most places had rib samplers of 4 ribs for 6-8 bucks, sandwiches for 6 bucks, and then half and full racks for 11 and 20 bucks respectively, as well as various combo meals. Your beer garden is presented EXCLUSIVELY by Budweiser, so be warned about that if you're expecting anything fancier.
I think the best thing we tried was the rib sampler from Willingham's - dry-rubbed, nice and pink, firm texture, tasted almost like they'd been brined, although maybe they just sat in their rub before smoking for long enough for the salt to penetrate. Very tasty. We then tried Dave's ribs, which had nice texture (a little more falling-off-the-bone than WIllingham's, but not too much) but just very little flavor. They LOOKED great, but just lacked interest.
We moved to the stall with unquestionably the best graphic design - Q of Virginia - a yellow background with a pig snout forming the letter Q. Seriously, great design. Bad 'que. At least the pork sandwich was - we should have been alerted by the large ziploc bags of pulled pork we saw them bring from the back of the truck into the front as we were approaching the front of the line, but I was committed to trying it. Texture was nice, a mixture of outside and inside meat, but NO taste. Like none. I love pulled pork and I kept tasting it, with sauce, without, but eventually I was persuaded to toss the remaining half. Maybe they're more of a rib place, I don't know.
Then we tried the pork sandwich at North Carolina Bar-be-cue. Much better. VERY chopped, almost pulverized - I assume this is the regional style - and lightly sauced with vinegar. Their sauce should get special mention - really complex and excellent, plus the proprietor walks around with a squeeze bottle offering samples. It was probably improper to put it on the already-sauced sandwich but we did anyway. Anyway, the pork, while much better than Q's, I would just rate it a solid B - I wanted more spice, more outside meat, a bit more salt as well. But it was good.
We were getting kind of stuffed by now but we wanted to try some brisket from the lone Texas participant, Cowboys Barbecue and Rib co. It was starting to rain harder by now, but we persisted and stayed in line (the only one that moved REALLY slowly all night) and got us a plate of brisket with potato salad and cole slaw and moved under shelter to eat it. Sadly it was pretty bad. Hard to describe exactly what was wrong with it - texture was pretty tender (for a brisket) but also a little pasty, taste was, well, subtly nasty. not a STRONG bad taste, but once I tried a piece without any of their sauce on it I stopped eating.
Bests: Willingham's dry-rub ribs, North Carolina Bar-be-cue sauce, Q graphic design. As for everything else, we may have missed their best items (and in fairness there were 3 out-of-state vendors we didn't try) but overall a trip to Blue Ribbon will get you far better 'que.
great review. I will have to show this to my boyfriend, bc he wants to go SO bad.
btw he is a HUGE pg fan and I on the other hand am not. He makes me watch the shows every weekend with him :/
it seems like the food prices are on par with what you would pay at any other bbq place, minus the $10.00 (if you didn't get tix previously). The only reason to pay the extra money I guess is to experience bbq from all over. According to your review though, it just isn't worth it.
plus I don't want to be surrounded by thousands of people sporting purple & beaded necklaces who think the "phantom gourmet" is a real person
Nice review, MichaelB. Think you covered everything. Just wanted to add that the brisket at Cowboys tasted the way wet dog food smells. I couldn't get down more than one bite. The concept was good, and the logistics were great, but the execution of chow was just ok overall. Those ribs at Willinghams were perfect though - perhaps we should have stuck to a ribs-only approach?