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BBQ lovers, Run-don't walk-to Mo Gridder's

I was invited on a spur-of-the-moment lunch trip to Hunt's Point, in the Bronx. "Fantastic barbecue!", I was told. "The best pulled pork sandwich!", I was told. I was also informed that the "restaurant" doubles as an auto body shop. This I had to see, and try for myself. So we went, and boy, am I glad that we did. Mo Gridder's is actually a BBQ trailer parked in a small corner parking lot at an auto body shop, in the middle of a busy intersection off Hunt's Point Ave. I stepped out of my friends' car and the smell alone told me I had made the right decision in coming... We cued up at the window and chose among offerings including the aforementioned pulled pork, brisket, pulled chicken, and ribs (most offered as platters, some also as sandwiches). Side order options included corn bread, coleslaw, rice, beans, and macaroni and cheese. I don't know how the crew inside that tiny truck doesn't pass out from the heat-- between the huge smoker/pit in the back, the steaming griddle inside, and the blazing sun outside, it was a little tough just to be standing outside waiting (not to mention the occasional fumes and noise from cars added to the mix). There are two options for seating--it's true that the main dining area, or "customer lounge", is also the auto body office and waiting area. I would choose to sit there in winter, when outdoors becomes unfeasible (they are open year-round). We chose to sit outside today, at one of the two large picnic tables bordering the Bruckner Expressway (no kidding). First, let me suggest that you skip the coolers of soda and water below the counter, and order the homemade lemonade. It is delicious, lemony, sweet (very), and the perfect accompaniment to what follows. We had a rather long wait for the food, but well worth it. My pulled pork sandwich was, in a word, perfect. Juicy, meaty, just the right amount of fat, and with some of the most deliciously thick barbecue sauce I have ever tasted (not too sweet, slightly peppery). The bun was also superbly fresh. Coleslaw was crunchy, creamy and refreshing. And then there were the ribs-- the best I've ever had. Let me be the first to say that I am no BBQ expert- I simply love to eat it. However, everyone else at the place (die-hard Kansas City bbq fans among them) looked to be somewhere between excited and thrilled with their food, including the cop in the patrol car who pulled up and jokingly ordered a sandwich over his loudspeaker. These ribs were meaty, tender, wet, sweet, and spicy, with the slightest glazed crust around the edges. Not overly rubbed or sauced, the owner told us that he triple-smokes them with a variety of woods to achieve a truly unique flavor. I probably could have kept on eating them to the point of repentance, but I did not. I know I will be back.

I am editing this to add their rather odd hours: 10-5 on Mon. and Tues.; open 'til 8 PM on Wed., Thurs., and Fri.; closes early on Sat. at 2:30; closed Sun. Prices run from a $3.50 hamburger (though I didn't see anyone order anything other than bbq) to the $14.95 three meat combo platter. A pulled pork sandwich with a pickle and one side is $6.95.

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  1. Saw this place on Diners, Drive-in's & Dives on Food Network, been meaning to try it, looked pretty good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Huffy

      Yes, I hear that they have gotten some recent good press, though I was not aware of their existence until yesterday... I don't know how I missed it. Definitely go!

    2. Visited a little while back: http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20... . Rib meat was a bit tough, pulled pork was wonderful. I'll return to give those ribs another go -- perhaps in the lounge this time, rather than at the picnic tables -- but minus the novelty of seeing this setting for the first time, it may be a while before I shlep myself to such an out-of-the-way location.

      -----
      Mo Gridder's
      565 Hunts Point Ave, Bronx, NY 10474

      1 Reply
      1. re: DaveCook

        The ribs I had were melt-in-your mouth... it's true, the location is very out-of-the-way, and might be a pain to reach by public transportation. thanks for the link-nice blog!

      2. Do you happen to know if they had available the vinegar based sauce as well, for the pulled pork? My husband is from GA and is a purist...this place sounds amazing in any case, but I won't be able to get him to go if the sauce is tomato based and thick!

        3 Replies
        1. re: prunefeet

          Sorry, I really don't know about that. The sauce was about the consistency of a yellow mustard (thinner than ketchup), and brown in color. It probably did have some tomato and/or molasses in it, but surely was not the pink/orange/sticky sweet kind that you often get.

          1. re: vvvindaloo

            Thanks. May check it out this weekend.

            1. re: prunefeet

              Please let me know what you (and your husband) think when you do check it out.

        2. That rib truck was hard to find, but I can tell you it as well worth the schlep. I went there about a week ago and ran into it by mistake while heading home on the Bruckner. My favorite was the sauce with the darkest, smokiest flavor. Delish

          1. Got some ribs for lunch from Mo Gridder's yesterday. The van was easy to find: I took the 6 train to the Hunt's Point stop, then walked about 10 minutes down Hunt's Point Ave (you can also take the Bx 6 bus to within about a block of the van).

            Pluses: tender, juicy, meaty ribs with just a touch of a lightly-sweet sauce.
            Minuses: smoke flavor marred by a strong chemical undertaste; also, it took about 25 minutes to get just a half-slab of ribs, with only 2 customers ahead of me (unless they were also working on orders that had been called in or were also doing some catering).

            Since they serve from a van and I didn't come in a car, I had to wait outside in the cold for those 25 minutes. Fortunately, it was relatively warm yesterday, but the ribs wouldn't have been worth that kind of wait on a more typical winter day.

            1 Reply
            1. re: racer x

              The wait was similar on my visit, too, and I didn't see any signs of takeout or catering. Fortunately, this was in July.

            2. just to let y'all know, I just came back from Belmont Bronx and saw Mo Gridder's opened a little eat in and take out restaurant at 632 e. 186th st. at the old Roberto's location. They also deliver and the phone is 347-270-9850, the fax is 347-270-9849.

              6 Replies
              1. re: arggie

                I noticed! I don't usually associate trips to Arthur Ave. with pulled pork and coleslaw, but I may have to make an exception one of these times :)
                I didn't get a clear look inside, though- they weren't quite open yet when I walked by last month. I kind of like the whole thoroughfare/gasoline alley ambiance of the original place. I wonder how the new "fancy" digs will impact the food.

                1. re: arggie

                  Wow ! as a Cue lover this is great to know, particularly on a snowy day like today & just think, now one can combine bbq w/great Italian for a whole day's trek. Thanks for the info & resurrecting this post.

                  1. re: bruceb04

                    Ready to make a pilgrimage to the Bronx for BBG. Answering machine said that 186th street location temporarily closed to get permits.

                    1. re: jwg

                      As expected it was excellent. Here's our opinions:

                      Ribs -- the best that I've had in NY State.
                      Pulled Pork -- more chopped than pulled, but really good. Needs there sauce which is medium sweet. Not a true NC/Tennessee vinegar sauce, but not the cloying too sweet sauces you find elsewhere.
                      Collards -- good, but they have a little kick!
                      Beans -- quite good. Again, beans were sweet, but not too sweet.
                      Slaw -- a mayonnaise based slaw instead of just vinegar, but good. It would make a great sandwich with the pulled pork, sauce and a bit of slaw.
                      Tea -- it's a sweet tea which is o.k. I'll try the lemonade next time.
                      A sandwich for lunch while they pack up dinner for take out -- excellent pulled pork sandwich with sauce on tasty sesame seed roll.

                      They offer tempting packages of chicken, pork, brisket and ribs with 3 sides. I may try that next time.

                      1. re: jwg

                        jwg, thanks for that update. I'm on vacation and we're taking the drive from brooklyn in a few. I just wanted to check and see what folks had to say recently. Glad to hear it's still worth a trip:)

                        1. re: BonnieB.

                          I went up to Mo's, it was worth the trip. We had brisket sandwiches, with the rice and beans, it was very good. We took home 2 racks of ribs and baked beans, and took a pulled pork sandwich home for my son. I can only say I wish I had a pulled pork sandwich, it was absolutely delicious! Moist with a little of Mo's bbq sauce it really was enjoyable. I liked the brisket, but I like Big W's better, sorry Mo, I do. The ribs were very good, everyone enjoyed them. It didn't take that long to drive up there from Bensonhurst, less then an hour and coming back we took the BQE and it took 35-40 minutes, definately will go again.