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Jul 17, 2007 04:11 PM


I would like to order some bbq for a party I am having this sunday. Can anyone recommend a good bbq joint ican orders from. I prefer in Minneapolis. And I really want to try something beside Famous Dave!!! Thank you.

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  1. Couple of suggestions

    Scott Ja-Mama's - hole in the wall, but great food.

    Cap's Grill - a little roadhouse shack, but again, the BBQ is pretty serious stuff.

    Scott Ja-Mama's Barbecue
    3 W Diamond Lake Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55419

    Cap's Grille
    5000 Hiawatha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417

    1. Does anyone in town serve "burnt ends?"

      1. Ted Cooks would be my destination. The trick is they're open from 1-10 p.m....hopefully your party is in the afternoon.

        E 38th St just west of Hiawatha Ave. 612-721-2023

        The times I've been to Scott Ja Mama's, I was extremely disappointed. I must be missing something...the food was just downright bad.

        And I'm pretty sure there are no burnt ends in this state.

        10 Replies
        1. re: MSPD

          Bad Scott Ja-Mama's?!? I've never had bad BBQ there, and it gets ranked Best Of perennially.

          I should mention it's basically take out only. I think there might be 2 chairs in there. But that doesn't seem to matter for your event.

          Here is the place for Ted Cook's.

          Ted Cook's 19th Hole Barbeque
          2814 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

          1. re: pgokey

            FYI, I have discovered the hard way that Ted Cook's does not take phone orders on Fridays or Saturdays. You need to place the order in person and wait for it to be completed. If you want them to fill a large order placed in advance, it's prudent to check that out beforehand.

            1. re: pgokey

              We got pulled pork sandwiches from Scott Ja-Mama's last week. They were alright, nothing great and nothing I'd seek out again. I'm certainly not a BBQ expert but ate more than my fair share when I lived in Atlanta and was definitely more impressed with meals I had down there (and at Redbones in Boston - that place is fantastic). Perhaps their other choices are better but we learned that you have to call ahead for anything but pulled pork.

              1. re: katebauer

                Yeah, their sandwiches aren't their strong suit. I'd rather have a sandwich at Cap's, Famous Dave's (where the sandwiches are their best thing, IMHO), or Rudolph's. Scott's does the rack thing best. Juicy, meaty, and saucy. You gotta call your order in beforehand, too. You get much better food that way.

                Edit in: Scott's is closed Sundays. But I will note that it regularly gets voted best of by many local publications. I think the bad experiences here are exceptions rather than the rule. Google it.

                Market BBQ isn't a bad place, either. I would try Cap's first, though.

                Rudolph's Bar-B-Que
                1933 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneaoplis, MN 55403

                Market Bar-B-Que
                1414 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                1. re: pgokey

                  I'm noting your recommendation to call Scott Ja Mama's first to "get much better food" -- I never knew that.

                  That said, I've tried them multiple times. If you follow my posts here over the years you know I love BBQ, I try it in just about every place I travel and I am very insistent on giving places several tries before I post a negative comment (with a couple being the new "New York Deli" in downtown which absolutely sucks and I hope they close quickly. I can elaborate more on that if necessary). I'm not swayed by "best of" lists unless it's my own list.

                  I think my issue with Scott Ja Mama's is the absence of smoke. I've had arguments with self-proclaimed "BBQ purists" on here about smoke/no smoke/charcoal vs. wood vs. whatever (search for "Pastor Hamilton" if they're still out there) and I won't go so far as to say Scott Ja Mama's isn't "real" BBQ. I have a loose definition of "BBQ"...I simply care about food that tastes good (I don't want to get into any more "what is BBQ" arguments")

                  But if you do BBQ without smoke, you'd better have some kicka$$ spice rub and/or sauce and have to at least employ some "low and slow" cooking to make the foot taste good. What I've had at Scott Ja Mama's (again, mostly during the day...I know that can affect things in BBQ joints) was unspiced meats cooked at standard steak speed on a non-wood, non-charcoal grill. To top it off, the sauces were just plain uninteresting.

                  For contrast, at both Cap's Grill and Ted Cook's (as well as most other places in town that are probably less appropriate for the OP's question like Baker's in Minnetonka, etc.) I appreciate the attention they pay to the treatment of the meat (applewood smoking). At Cap's, I found the ribs themselves to be a bit lacking -- if they started with a meatier/fattier rib, they would be tops in that category. As I've posted here before, they do however turn out a first-rate pork chop.

                  While Ted Cook's isn't at the level of BBQ I get when driving around the country, in MSP, I've found they have the best combination of excellent meats to start with, consistently thorough smoking and decent sauce of any of the "storefront" BBQ places. I say "storefront" because I consider Big Daddy's far and away the best BBQ in MSP right now, but you can only get it by going to St. Paul on a Saturday in the summer.

                  Because of the nice people and atmosphere, and probably because I'm relentlessly forgiving about BBQ for the most part, I won't ever give up on Scott Ja Mama's. I just can't recommend them above other places in MSP, let alone the OP's requested area of Minneapolis.

                  1. re: MSPD

                    i agree that the lack of smoke in scott ja mama's is a humungous weakness. imo it is grill food with a little sauce, not bbq-- but please let's not start debating that, pgokey. ted cook's is more the real deal and has the smoke flavor people expect w real bbq imho.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Well, I don't see why not, but whatever.

                      What I find interesting in this thread, and looking at the collected online reviews (best of lists from MPLS/St. Paul magazine, City Pages, other places), it's clear that there is absolutely no consensus about the best rib place. Every suggestion is disliked by someone. Part of it is because MPLS isn't a rib city, but it's also sounding like Nea v. Punch - everyone walks up to the table with very different expectations from BBQ.

                      1. re: pgokey

                        i also don't think that bbq = ribs, although ribs may/can = bbq--but not definitively.

                        it is unclear whether you are interested in regional bbq or just ribs-- as always, eat what you like!

                        i don't think msp has a very strong q scene no matter which region it is drawn from-- (almost always kc style here though). i think people just pick their faves from what's available, which explains why famous dave's is so successful here and why scott jamama's and rudolphs are still in biz at all--there just aren't a lot of options & i'd be hard pressed to rec a heads-above leader, although it sounds like i need to go visit this big daddy guy!

                        the boards buzzed a bit when rooster's won best bbq this year-- i think it highlights the fact that msp's bbq scene is so weak-- the food writers are just reaching at this point imo.

                2. re: katebauer

                  Harsh! - That is if you're more impressed with the bbq in Atlanta, considering that the boards there are consistent in dissing it as possibly the South's worst city for bbq. I used to live there, also, and had a tough time finding decent q. Admittedly, it's worse here. I've given up, and will take my dose of Famous Dave's on occasion at lunch, but pretty much reserve my bbq meals for my trips to Memphis or Houston.

                  1. re: Loren3

                    I wasn't so much commenting on the BBQ in Atlanta but what I had during the time I lived down there, especially when we drove up to N. Carolina. I will say though that anything I had in Atlanta was better than the Scott Jamama's pulled pork sandwich.

            2. Baker's Ribs in Eden Prairies has my favorite pork sandwich. Texas style

              1 Reply
              1. re: stymie

                You know, as a soon-to-be transplant to MSP from KC, I am really, really scared. I'll have to sneak Oklahoma Joe's across the border!!

              2. I've found both Ted Cook's and Scott Ja-Mama's to be awful. Each time I went the ribs were dry and without much meat and the beef--which I'm pretty sure ain't brisket--is sort of a washed-out tough chewy nasty gray under-smoked mess. So I'd avoid them both.

                The City Pages ranked Roosters in St Paul as the best BBQ in the cities. I went recently to give it a shot. I had a pulled pork sandwich with their hot BBQ sauce. Not bad, but the pork didn't have much in the way of flavour. It needed salt and it needed more smokiness to convince me that it really had been smoked. (I guess I could say this is true of those two places I mentioned above too. This isn't to say that I suspect things aren't really getting smoked at these joints, only that none of them is successful in smoking the meat in a way that makes the meat taste like BBQ.)

                On the upside, I have come across BBQ that I like here. It doesn't approach BBQ in K.C., but it's good. Big Daddy, who now runs a BBQ shack on the northeast corner of Dale and University in St Paul, makes a mean rack of ribs. I should say that I haven't been to see Big Daddy in awhile, so I don't know for sure whether those ribs are still up to snuff. But it would certainly be worth the investment to figure it out. Big Daddy's, by the way, is only open on Saturdays.

                Good luck. You know, too, that Kansas City is only six hours or so away...

                1 Reply
                1. re: eleaticstranger

                  MSPD, the "hippest of chowhounds" (Anne, did I get that right?) recently posted about his recent visit to Big Daddy: