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Jun 24, 2007 05:01 PM

Day 3 of Phantom BBQ Beach Party

I got back from the BBQ Beach Party a couple of hours ago. God, was it crazy! The lines were sometimes 30 to 40 deep, with some lines butting into others on the other side of the place. It was pretty crazy.

The food I had was pretty much worth the wait, though. I started by getting a hot dog with brisket chili on it a Q (Virginia). It was an excellent dog, with a meaty, chewy texture, and an audible snap (which I typically don't like, but could overlook it in this case) that held in the juices. The brisket on the dog was very nice, too.

Then I moved on to Dave's Good Ole Boys Bar-B-Que (New York). I had a terrific brisket sandwich there, smothering their mild but decent BBQ sauce on it. The brisket had just enough fat to give it flavor, and the meat itself was cooked just right, with some pieces being just a bit burnt.

After that, I headed over to Jack's Down Home Barbecue (Pennsylvania) for a pulled pork sandwich. It was probably the best dish I had at the festival, as the pulled pork had tons of flavor and was all chunky meat, with some burnt chunks giving it even more flavor. And I thought their BBQ sauce was better than Dave's, though I'm sure that is up for debate.

I got the heck out of there after Jack's, as the lines were getting even more insane. I was pretty full by then anyways, so I probably couldn't have eaten much more.

A friend of mine is just getting back now, I believe, so I'll ask him about the ribs (he knows ribs a lot better than I do, so he's a better judge of the ones at the festival for sure).

I have several pictures on my blog if anyone wants to check them out (click on my pizza avatar to get my blog address).

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  1. Quick update from a friend who was there later yesterday afternoon (Sunday). He said the line at Cowboys was one hour long(!) and Willingham's ran out of ribs(!!).

    I guess the nice weather brought out A LOT more people than had been expected.

    6 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      I was there Saturday. The lines were at least 3 hours long.

      1. re: Bostonbob3

        Did you say 3 hours long? How is that possible? The longest line I was in on Sunday (early afternoon) was about 35 minutes, and that line was so long that it was butting into lines going the other way. How did they manage the lines? It must have been crazy!

        1. re: hiddenboston

          The lines were literally 500 people deep at nearly every station. They curled around and around and it was impossible to tell where they even ended. One poor woman said she'd been standing in the exact same spot for over an hour, and she might have been a quarter of the way toward the food. I suppose I could have gone for an ice cream-filled cupcake and encountered fewer people, but I wanted Q.

          Never got any. No way I was waiting that long.

          Ended up having burgers across the street at the Kinsale. Not bad BTW.

          1. re: Bostonbob3

            Wow, and I was complaining because I only got to check out 3 places in an hour and a half.

            Yup, the burgers at the Kinsale are pretty good. The other dishes are hit-or-miss, but I don't mind going there every now and then.

            1. re: Bostonbob3

              I wanted to go to the BBQ Beach Party but decided not to go. I'm glad I did. I couldn't stand having to wait in line for 3 hours to get some food. I like the idea of having bbq places from around the country come to Boston. How did Willingham's run out of ribs? They should have had plenty of ribs for the 3 day event!

              1. re: buffet king

                I don't think they had expected anything close to these kinds of crowds. Still, I can't imagine waiting in line for an hour or more, only to have them say they were out of something I was craving.

      2. I went late Sunday night. The only place that had a long line was Cowboy's, which was the worst Cue we had.

        Started out with no awit at the North Carolina place. They were out of pulled pork (!), which sucked, but their ribs were tremendous. So moist and smoky and I really liked the sauce they had. Next we had pulled pork sandwiches at Willinghams: maybe a 15 minute wait. Very good, but a bit mushy...I should have gotten their ribs instead. We walked around a bit, and had an intermezzo of trani cupcakes and saugus wings (I can't resist them!), before trying the Kansas City place...I forget the name. Those ribs were spectacular. Maybe not as moist as the North Carolina ribs, but so tender, pulled right off the bone. We finished up waitin on line for 45 minutes at Cowboys beacuse we wanted some Texas brisket. We get to the front of the line...out of brisket. No sign, no notification, nothing. Bastards. Since we had waited so long, we tried some of their ribs...I thuoght they were lousy. Like, village smokehouse lousy. And the worst sauce of the sweet and gloppy, tasted like sweet baby rays.

        BTW, I also saw both Andelmans. Dave Andelman has the wierdest looking fake tan, and exuded such a "better than thou" jerky aura.

        The atmosphere was also wretched. They set out some "pools" on the sandy area that were just full of tepid, brown, disgusting water. The site of it almost made me vomit.

        All in all, I thought the event was not worth it at all. I spent around $50! We probably could have gone to Hamersleys for the amount of money we spent. I did have some good Q though. Booo to Cowboys, yay to the North Carolin and KC place.

        4 Replies
        1. re: tamerlanenj

          Went on Friday and Sunday and had a great time. Ate at Good Old Boys, Jack McDavid's, and drank lots of beer in the beach beer garden. No lines on Friday, no lines Sunday at 7pm. Lines very long sunday afternoon. I waited it out in the sun having some beers. I loved the event and wish it was today as well so I could try Fat Daddy's ribs. I have NO idea how they will get all that sand of city hall plaza.

          1. re: arliss

            That sand was blowing around pretty good on Sat morning...sandstorm...they were hosing it down to prevent it from blowing..real mess.

          2. re: tamerlanenj

            One thing I hope they do next year is add more shade to at least some areas by using canopies or whatever. There were a few people waiting in line who looked like they were on the verge of sunstroke.

            I know it's a "beach" party, but if folks are going to have to wait for 2 or 3 hours in line, there should be at least some areas for shade. I know that I was feeling pretty sick after being in the sun for about 2 hours yesterday (my pasty skin isn't used to that much sun).

            1. re: tamerlanenj

              Part of the reason that there were less rib teams was that there were two separate competitions in New England this weekend . One was the Rockin Ribfest in Merrimack New Hampshire . The other was in East Hartford. They both drew away most of the local teams.

              It's a bit of a drive, but check out the Harpoon New England BBQ Championships in July . Way less people ( the longest I waited was about 5 minutes ) and from the sounds of it, way better Q . Not to mention better beer…..


            2. The fact of the matter is that these events are what they are - opportunities for the masses to gather, enjoy something fun (in this case 'cue), and in some cases, get out of the house. As is always the case with well-publicized, large-scale events, problems enuse based on crowds (long lines, insufficient supplies, etc.) and somebody's goofy marketing idea (would you like a side of sandstorm with your ribs sir?)

              From the sounds of all the posts, those who tolerated the annoyances of the scene were rewarded with a decent variety of down home cooking.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                Exactly--it was definitely worth the aggravations. The pulled pork I had from Jack's alone was well worth my near-sunstroke, dehydration, and general irritability over the lines and occasional pushing and shoving. It really was a fun time, IMO. I'm just glad it wasn't held this week, with all this heat and humidity pouring in.

                I loved the music, too. They were playing all my favorite bands--Sublime, Black Crowes, 311, etc. Even Hank Williams Jr. sounded good!

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  hiddenboston, I think your attitude is right on. The lines weren't bad at all on Friday, and despite the rain and cold, it was pretty fun. The ribs at Willingham's were good enough to go to the event in the first place. Not all of the que was a homerun, but overall it wasn't terrible (except for the brisket from Cowboys).

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    HB and Bob hit the nail on the head. That's what the event is.

                    Lunch jogged my memory..a leftover Willingham's rib..still great.. and some pulled pork..followed by a Willingham's toothpick..:) They gave out little "matchbooks" with toothpicks..cute idea.

                    I think I'm the only poster to have had some decent ribs at Cowboys..:)

                2. I went at 4:00 p.m.on Sunday and experienced disaster. Waited 1 hour and 25 minutes to get a plate of BBQ at Cowboys from Fort Worth. Could have had better BBQ at a fast food chain. The brisket was tough and had no flavor. I ordered hot sauce but their sauce, which apparently won awards as recently as 2005, was bland and tasted like something out of a bottle.

                  Jack's has some good, tender BBQ but only sweet sauce and Tabasco. Went to Redbones for some pulled pork. The meat was tender and well cooked, but there was not much flavor. Good sauce, however.

                  The beer: Is the Phantom serious? Budweiser only? I'd rather drink Cool Aid. After the terrible food at Cowboys, I went over to Kinsale for a glass of real beer.

                  After the shameless promotion on Phantom Gourmet for the last month, I expected better. Will not return.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Cotuits

                    Went on Saturday, around 1230pm.....lines were awful but moved along fairly well. First stop was North Carolina BBQ for ribs & pulled pork. Was really good, worth the wait. Then while we ate we hoped into Willingham's line which was long but also moved. Got half rack there & they were very much worth the wait. Both places were worth the prices as well, seemed most of the places were in the same price range. After that we just didn't feel like waiting in another line & hangin on City Hall Plaza for a beer didn't seem so appealing. Went across to Kinsale for a cold one which hit the spot! Not sure I'd go to this event again but the food we had was really good.

                    1. re: Cotuits

                      So glad that I wasn't the only one who had that reaction to Jack's and Cowboy's. I love ribs, and Jack's were my favorite from this year's Phantom BBQ, The ribs were incredibly flavorful, with a subtle glaze. The sauce was spectacular -- the perfect blend of sweet, salt, smoke, and vinegar.

                      The Cowboy ribs were flat and plain by comparison -- no glaze, just meat and some cloying, molasses based sauce. Ironically, the line at Cowboy's was half an hour long, and I was served immediately at Jack's.

                      1. re: Guilty Glutton

                        Just a warning: This thread is from last year...

                    2. We went around 1 on Sunday, and I went in with rather low, but reasonable expectations. Because going into the closing hours of a popular three day event, the first day of which would probably have been affected by poor weather, one sort of expects long lines and the possibility of venues running out of at least one item. And at something with so inexpensive a ticket price, I definitely wasn't surprised by a Bud beer garden, but then I'm not offended by the presence of cheap beer. At any rate, I was surprised at the consistently good food and the relatively genial attitudes of the people waiting in line. I avoided the longest of lines because no food is worth that kind of torture on a hot day, and was pleased with the food I got. The longest I waited in a line was about 20 minutes.

                      Next year the BF and I agreed we'd bring chairs and meet for a long long long lunch on Friday afternoon; waiting until we were hungover on Sunday was less than brilliant. But still tasty.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jsjs09812

                        Some discussion of the Phantom Gourmet and their relationship with advertisers has been moved over to the Food Media board:

                        Please keep discussion on the Boston board focused on the food available at this event. Thanks.