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Jul 2, 2007 03:38 PM

Uncle Sam's BBQ: Albuquerque

Hey there SouthWest Chowhouds. I am from Toronto, Ontario, and I have a little mystery I am trying to figure out.....

The only time of year we can get good BBQ in Toronto (TO to canucks) is in the summer, suring the various "Ribfests" around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Every year we have two different ribbers competing in the various competitions: Camp 31, from Castlebury, Alabama (and Paris, Ontario), and Uncle Sam's Albuquerque Style BBQ, who say they are from Albuquerque...however extensive googling has lead me to believe they are one and the same...The bottles of Uncle Sam's Sauce I bought have a 251 area code, and seem to be the same phoen number as Camp 31 in Alabama.

By the way, I am not casting doubt on the quality of the BBQ. Food from both are awesome, just wondering "what's the deal".

So my question is....Is there an Uncle Sam's BBQ in Albuquerque????

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  1. Not the responder you expected (wanted?) - but I'm also from Toronto and on a similar search for at least palatable BBQ.
    And, coincidentally was in Albuquerque (and Santa Fe) over the long weekend (that's a Canadian long weekend for SW chowhounds). Did my research ahead of time and didn't trip over Uncle Sam's at all! Vaguely recall them at the Toronto Ribfest (St Lawrence) maybe 4-5 years ago - but they certainly weren't my favourite - but on my experience last week, if they were any good they should have been memorable. The BBQ in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe was excellent (based on 2 meals). The heat comes towards the end - not upfront, and the sauce is both fruity (think Texas) and vinegary (think Carolina) - but the balance was the key. I suspect that the chili was a dry rub on the smoked meat, rather than in the sauce.
    BUT - for sure, this was nothing like what I tasted at St. Lawrence, which was ordinary (at best).
    And (as I'm sure you know) the 'famous' Uncle Sam's is indeed in Alabama - suggesting that what we may have had at the ribfest was an Alabama company using a New Mexico-style sauce (and unsuccessfully at that - for me anyway). But I do love that New Mexico style now - after only 2 meals. Certainly way prefer it to Memphis and Carolina style - and hoping to hit KC later this year.

    4 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      Thanks! They never actually suggest they are from Albuquerque, but every board I find them mentioned on assumes they are. The Camp 31 phone number made me suspicious. Never actually did try their ribs: my wife's not a fan and dragged me to DimSum yesterday, just before I headed out there, so I was not hungry at all.

      Any inside scoop or observations on the Camp 31 connection?

      1. re: bluedog

        I'm guessing same overall ownership - I discovered that several of the places in Albuquerque actually had a common ownership. Maybe a slightly different style, so they are 'branded' differently - but that's pure speculation.
        And it doesn't look like Uncle Sam's will be at the Markham Ribfest - so we won't find out there either.

        1. re: bluedog

          Hmmm... according to their giant signage at the Beach Ribfest this weekend, looks like they are claiming to be from Albuquerque.

        2. re: estufarian

          Sorry, no Uncle Sam's BBQ in ABQ. There is good BBQ though at: Powdrells, Dickey's and Rudy's.

        3. Camp 31 and Uncle Sam’s BBQ was originally owned by the same gentleman who owns Camp 31. He formed partnership with a lady from Albuquerque. When the partnership dissolved he sold it to another man from Alabama. He still claims he is from Albuquerque and that he comes from many generations of Barbecue, however he does not. He has only been in the barbecue business for six years. I must admit there is one thing he excels in, he is a very good actor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PitMaster

            It seems nonsensical to promote any BBQ from Albuquerque as something special. Uncle Tom's? Does not exist.

            As DebitNm stated, Dickey's and Rudy's are both in Albuquerque. But both are out of State chain restaurants. Powdrells is not bad and is an Albuquerque original, but is not particularly special. Oversauced and undersmoked, IMO. County Line also can be good, but is an outpost of a Texas chain.

            Albuquerque is not really at the center of any BARBQ universe.

          2. county Line, period.
            Wonderful Beef ribs, great sides, cole slaw, pot. salad.