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Mo Jo's BBQ Shack - Islington St., Portsmouth, NH

Has anyone been yet? It's on my list of new places to try.

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  1. Have you tried it yet?

    I went this week for lunch, had a pulled pork sandwich with baked beans on the side. Both were fantastic. The BBQ sauce is a bit more vinegary than sweet, which makes it all the more interesting. The pork was tender. But the beans - I would go back for the beans alone! They had amazing flavor - tasted like the BBQ sauce was in there, but also a ton of garlic, making them zippy and again - very interesting.

    All the guys I work with love this place. It's worth checking out! Parking can be a challenge and it gets busy at lunchtime.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cassiatoast

      Yes, I did finally get there. I had the pulled pork, baked beans and mac & cheese. The pulled pork was very good, and I agree with your assessment that the baked beans are exceptional. I was a bit disappointed in the mac & cheese ~ I am a mac & cheese fiend, and this left me wanting more flavor. I will definitely be going back.

      1. re: cassiatoast

        I also liked the sauce but I didn't like the meat. At least I *think* I didn't like the meat because it was hard to tell under all the sauce. The joint is fun and the service is friendly, but I'm pretty sure there's no smoker involved. See more food pics and commentary at http://www.pigtrip.net/review-MoJosNH...

      2. What are their prices like?

        1. I thought they were decent - reasonable prices, the cole slaw had a bit of a kick. Not a fan of the dirty rice, however.

          I recommend you try it out but avoid the rice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: secretgourmand

            The dirty rice has liver in it. That's traditional. They have the recipe right but don't always cook it correctly. If they did, you wouldn't notice the yucky "livery" taste.

            I think it's worth the drive to Goody Coles. http://www.goodycoles.com/

          2. It was OK. The ribs are pre-cooked which is a let down given the prices and time it took to get my meal. As stated, the beans are fantastic, but the cole slaw is just meh.

            I would probably go back for a pulled pork sandwhich in the future, but unless they start making the ribs on their own, I'd pass on those.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TheMainiac

              Aren't ribs usually "pre-cooked"? Do you mean to say they were cooked off premises??

              We tried the place when it first opened and thought the food was just ok, but not worth returning for. As I recall, there was no smokiness to the meat whatsoever.

            2. Just not impressed. I think the review came on too strong, it left me expecting a lot.

              1. after closing two locations for lack of business. they have taken over a bar at the former BLT location. First of all there is no hint of smoke anyplace inside or outside the building.

                my meal reminded me of a lean cuisine. Small portion previously frozen, served on a small black plastic plate. Can anyone tell these people that this is not BBQ. You cannot just open a plastic bag and nuke something and pour jar sauce on it and call yourself a BBQ restaurant. Save your money. also the draft beer is very warm and when we asked the waitress why she told us it is 100 yards to the cooler all the drafts are warm. I wish she would have told us that first.

                7 Replies
                1. re: skiguy213

                  The original "Mo" (the owner/chef with the secret sauce) has left for greener pastures and his partner (the guy with the local bar experience) has essentially opened this new location as a family style tavern/bar with the same non-bbq bbq as the original location. The fact that this place keeps going is testament to the lack of culinary sophistication by a majority of the locals. The latest article on this place may be viewed here:


                  1. re: bewley

                    It is a bit of a haul from Portsmouth, but right off 101 in Brentwood is Goody Coles, a very good - and REAL - BBQ spot .


                    1. re: Msample

                      Yes, I've eaten there a number of times. It is much better!

                    2. re: bewley

                      "The fact that this place keeps going is testament to the lack of culinary sophistication by a majority of the locals."

                      Are these the locals with a lack of culinary sophistication the same ones who frequent the likes of Black Trumpet, Cava, Anneke Jans, Brazo, the Green Monkey, Radicci, Pesce Blue, Jumoin' Jae's, etc.?

                      Agreed, MoJo's is definitely lacking, but to make such a broad statement about the "culinary sophistication" of a populace based on the fact that a sub-par restaurant has managed to survive smacks of culinary egotism on your part.

                      1. re: Truh

                        It is a broad, sweeping generalization indeed, but let me tell you this: I'm friends with and frequent Cava, Black Trumpet, Pesce Kitchen (new name) Pepperland Cafe and these places are all hurting during the weekdays. (Hence their need for "special menus" to get a smattering of people through the door on those days) So no, the people who like Mojo's are not the ones going to Anneka Jans. The Mojo's crowd are more likely to go to Olive Garden or sports bars (name any) or Bratskellar and these places are always packed (Wings your Way is another), so who is getting the "majority" of the locals?? The basic pub crowd, that's who. Btw Radicci and Jumpin Jay's are for the locals with $$, but NO taste. Dunaway was the only place owned that had a high quality, but when his chef left for Cambridge, the place slipped.

                        1. re: bewley

                          I really should have omitted the last part: "Btw Radicci and Jumpin Jay's are for the locals with $$, but NO taste. Dunaway was the only place owned that had a high quality, but when his chef left for Cambridge, the place slipped." as it's irrelevant and argumentative. It's just that we have been dining the past month at some of the above mentioned restaurants (Black Trumpet/Cava/Pesce) that have had to resort to offering pre fixe menu "deals" (Cava offers a $2 tapas + beer on Sunday) and none of these, more "quality" places are doing all that well in today's economy. I'm quite sour that places with sub-par offerings are still booming in the area and quite sour (for a long time) that a Pho shop has yet to come here or a really descent pizza place or an affordable Italian place that offers simple fresh ingredients. The reason these places do not exist (or a Trader Joe's or WF for that matter) is that the demographics are not there and places like Mojo's are doing well because most of the local population doesn't know what bbq or good pizza or pho is.

                    3. re: skiguy213

                      thats why the first one closed , I only went there once for lunch and it was real bad, just out of Microwave, as you said

                    4. from what i've read, mojos is a really hit or miss sort of place; the consistency of even the same menu item is dubious, and the dichotomy of delicious and atrocious on the menu is broad and risky. but their sauces are very good, we purchased not only the arkansauce but two bottles of the hot sauce the offered at the table. well balanced, flavorful, definitely of the finger licking variety. the sides were almost inedible (we had the very dry mac and cheese, oily collard greens, and definitely frozen corn), but i found the ribs to be tender, and subtly smoky. worth trying out, but not all around exquisite.