Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >
Mar 28, 2008 06:57 PM

Winckler's Ribs - Great barbecue joint in Morrisville PA, Trenton NJ area

I've been looking for great barbecue in the Trenton area for a while now and didn't realize it was right across the river all along! I went to Winckler's Ribs on Washington St. in Morrisville today, it's no frills takeout only - the ribs there blew me away. I got the rib sandwich which was actually four large pork ribs with two slices white bread added as an afterthought. It came with a side of potato salad and some decent corn bread, but the ribs are the thing - just smoky enough, very tender but with a little bite to them and some fabulous vinegar based sauce. It was $ 7.75 which is a bargain, I couldn't even eat all four ribs. They also have a half rack for $11.50, or a whole for $22.75.

Some other things I can't wait to try on the menu are the Tennesee style dry rub Bar-B-Q chicken, comes with potato salad and cornbread for $5.90. Also on the menu are red beans and rice, Andouille sausage sandwich with carmelized onions and cheese, deep fried catfish, fried oysters, jumbo crab cakes, and crispy sour cream and chives potato wedges served with malt vinegar, Jambalaya, fried oysters, I can't list it all.... I think I need to try the chopped pork sandwich next, which he does North Carolina style on a kaiser.

The owner is a great guy who is a classically trained chef and has worked in the area for years. I only wish he hadn't run out of mac and cheese, my 5 year old lives on it, but we will be back to try it next time. Also didn't see brisket on the menu but I don't care, I will be back for more ribs, they are probably the best I've ever had! The other place I have gone for barbecue was the Grub Hut in Manville, NJ which was very good and had great atmosphere, but a little bit of a hike for me. They had great sides and brisket but Winckler's beats them hands down for ribs. You gotta try it!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Kate – Nice review. I’ll have to get over the bridge and give them a try. I’ve often wondered why no one has opened a BBQ place in the Trenton or the surrounding townships. The only place relatively close to where I live was a place on Rt. 539 near the intersection with Rt. 537. I think it was called the Open Pit or something like that. It’s now the Plumsted Grill and they don’t serve BBQ.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TomDel

      That was The Outpost. Besides being a BBQ joint, they also tried to be a "multi-tap" beer bar and had lots of pretty good craft and imported beer on tap. Unfortunately, no one seemed to drink it, so the beer got stale and often tasted off when they weren't simply "out" of most of the better beers. (I insulted the bartender once when I asked what beers had recently been tapped- so they'd be fresher than the stale pints I'd had previously- and he said he had no idea, even tho' he was the only bartender I'd ever seen in the place.)

      The BBQ was the same situation, in a way- stopped in several times- in the afternoon and the early evening- and when they weren't "out" of pulled pork or ribs, the foods served tasted as if it had sat in the refrigerator several days and was simply re-heated. Never did come across the place when the smoker was going either, which is always a red flag for me.

      I realize true "low and slow 'cue" is tough to make in a restaurant setting with no steady demand but this place tried to serve markets (authentic BBQ and quality craft beer) that just weren't there and they did little or nothing (besides the occasional ad in one of those free weekly newspapers) to create a demand.

      1. re: JessKidden

        Well, the place is in the middle of nowhere and his prices were a little high for the blue collar crowd that went there. You’re right on about the beer but I thought the pulled pork was pretty good, when they had it. They seemed to run out of it every other time I was there. I never got to try the beef, it was always out. This certainly didn’t help their business.

        1. re: TomDel

          Yeah, I had the pulled pork on their nachos the one time I was there. It was freaking great (and just not really that good for me, I"m thinking). I went back and they were closed. Any other places that serve pulled pork nachos?

    2. Hey crazykidkate, thanks for the recommendation. I made it over there yesterday and had some very tasty ribs and excellent potato salad.

      One quibble, these ribs are probably braised - and almost certainly not smoked, though Winkler manages to add some nice fiery flavor - probably when he char-broils the ribs for order.

      They're still rich and flavorful and the sauce is excellent. Often braised ribs are richer than bbq'd, and so they pair very nicely with that sharp, sweet, porky sauce. Delicious. The "dry rub chicken" and "dry wings" sound like they might be smokier. I'm going to return to try some other stuff.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Paul N

        Oh, I'm sorry, they did taste smoked to me but I'm no expert! I guess maybe the char broil made me think they were smoked. They are great though, I am going to pick up an order tommorrow night and try some other sides - if he can do a great cole slaw I'll be a loyal customer forever! Also would like to try the catfish, I used to live in Dallas and it's an art form there...

        1. re: crazykidkate

          Is there a particular reason braised ribs always seem maligned?, They always seem frowned upon when BBQ is discussed, While not true Q, If done well they're still delicious, yes? I wish there was a thread dedicated to the best braised ribs. I'd imagine it makes it easier to control quality in a place that's not as busy. I think I'd rather have a well done braised then char broiled ribl than a mediocre several day old smoked rib.

          I wouldn't want to be deterred from Winkler's just because the ribs are braised. Are they worth a meal?

          1. re: jrd303

            Braising is maligned more because of its textural virtues than its drawbacks - ribs taste great when they are rich, moist and fall-off-the-bone.... who could complain about that? Well, barbecue competitions They'll eliminate you if they don't see a "smoke ring" in your meat.

            What braised ribs are missing is the smoky flavor and the "pull" that a lot of smoked Q lovers like when they bite into a rib. I LOVE great smoked ribs, and I smoke ribs myself all the time.

            But smoke, after all, is just a flavor, and rib meat can taste delicious in a lot of different ways with a lot of different flavors. In fact, when they're over-smoked the smoke flavor can crush a more important flavor... "porkiness."

            My favorite part of the flavor of Winklers ribs is the porky flavor he manages to get into the sauce, and how nicely that chars on the grill.

            When I make my own ribs, I smoke them for 3 hours, wrap them in foils on the grill for 1 (which is like braising, to keep them tender and moist) then grill them for about half an hour. Next time I do this, I might ask Winkler for some of his sauce, because I've never done one nearly as good.

      2. Based on the review, I took the short drive from my office for lunch today only to find that Winckler's is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Better luck next time, I guess.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jsfein

          Thanks for the info, I was wondering what days and hours he is open because it's not listed on the menu!

        2. I went there recently and the ribs were just ok. Definitely not smoked as is real barbeque. His sauce was good though but the rub got lost in the sauce. Pretty pricy for a whole rack though. Over $22 bucks.
          I found a new place in morrisville that has good smoked ribs. They are in the shopping center with the Dollar store. I plan on going there this week since I have heard good things about them.