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What's BETTER UNCLE PETES OR BLUE RIBBON

The last time i really enjoyed great ribs was on a buisness trip to Memphis . Any feedback would be apreciated abt these two or anyother ribs places

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  1. If your looking for Memphis style I'd go to Blue Ribbon.

    You then could campare Blue Ribbon to those great ribs from Memphis you had and post feedback here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      Yeah, of the two, Blue Ribbon, which in general is the best of a poor lot around here.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        As someone who grew up in Memphis, Blue Ribbon is the only place for passable BBQ in the Boston area. Redbones is terrible, and Uncle Pete's is OK but the Asian touches and sweetness throw me off when I am looking for something authentic.

      2. I have to disagree and vote for Uncle Petes. I think they have much better BBQ than any of the other locals, such as Blue Ribbon or Red Bones.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MeffaBabe

          I don't know what people complain more about around here BBQ or Mexican.
          ....anyway...
          I would have to go with Blue Ribbon, it will not live up to the ribs you had in Memphis (depending on where you ate) but it is much better than Uncle Pete's, which is overly smoked and a little too dry, also you wont have to deal with the disconcerting Asian touches that Uncles Pete's has on its menu that Blue Ribbon doesn't.

          1. re: jvish

            They should complain about BBQ b/c the Mexican has gotten a lot better!

        2. Try both and report back. There is no consensus on BBQ. Depends on what you like.

          For me, burnt ends at Blue Ribbon. Don't particularly like their ribs.

          12 Replies
          1. re: tdaaa

            We are going to blueribbon tonight and will report back. Thanks for the info

            1. re: eatenenough

              Pork ribs at Uncle Pete's...Everything else at Blue Ribbon.

              1. re: phatchris

                Completely agree. Uncle Pete's has the best pork loin ribs (IMO) but I don't really love anything else there. Then again, when I'm jonesing for pork ribs, I don't have to like anything else there.

            2. re: tdaaa

              >There is no consensus on BBQ. Depends on what you like.

              And it depends time of day, what day, what you order, what cut they give you, etc. BBQ can be quite variable, especially in this area.

              Been to BR many, many times over the last 4 years, but Pete's only once (on a Sat. afternoon) and I think BR wins hands down based on my limited experience at Pete's (take it fwiw) - unless of course you like everything sweet and asian influenced. A buddy of mine shared just about every meat on Pete's menu when we went and only the ribs were what we consider edible - PP was so slathered in a sweet soy/bbq sauce, brisket not tender and again slathered in sweet sauce, beef ribs were overdone, pork ribs were almost overcooked as well, but passable.

              But that said, I am starting to notice a slide in the quality of the meat at BR lately. Just doesn't have that smoky flavor (or the telltale smoke ring) it used to have when I first started going. Oh well, seems to happen in the Boston area, when places get too popular and start pushing out more and more. I'm thinking Lester's is at the top of the heap now.

              1. re: LStaff

                I have long been a BR fan dating back to the late 1990's when they opened and have noticed that the ribs I have been getting from the Arlington location have slipped a little in the last few visits. Much drier than usual. By way of background, I have been to Memphis -in May, Rendevouz, Jim Neely's etc, in Memphis and I have to say my new go to in Boston is SoulFire. Their ribs have now surpassed BR, Uncle Pete's etc. in my book. How come no love for SF here? itis a tough spot to get to, no parking etc. but do people not think it compares?

                1. re: Hambone Willy

                  I tried them when they first opened and I thought that their ribs were much better than what Blue Ribbon has been serving in recent years. I wasn't too impressed with their sides as I remember.

                  I tried going back to SF a couple more times, but after spending 25 minutes driving around looking for a parking spot, I eventually gave up. I keep meaning to check them again, but I always forgetting. Maybe with the kids gone for the summer, parking will be less of an issue.

                  1. re: Hambone Willy

                    You are right haven;t heard much abt Soul fire . What kind of ribs do they have is it dry rubbed Memphis style or the wet sweet stuff

                      1. re: eatenenough

                        memphis style in either baby back or spare ribs. I prefer their spareribs. I will say that I have probably eaten there 7 times, the rub can be inconsitent, cometimes heavy, sometimes light, but the smoke is always pretty good. I actually like their sides. Collard greens have nice chunks of meat in there and the fried mac and cheese dipped in their hot bbq sauce is the way to go. They serve good beers too, PBR, High LIfe, Brooklyn Ale, that you don't see everywhere. I can't help but think this place suffers being in a college section and a place with no parking but then again, the same is true for redbones and I just think that pace literally doesn't do ONE thing right with the BBQ (beer list another story).

                        1. re: Hambone Willy

                          Beer list has been going downhill too lately -lots of flagships and mediocre imports taking over the rare/high end microbrews - and the selection just doesn't change as much. Meanwhile the prices are going uphill in comparison to some other beer bars in the area.

                          But that said, occassionally you do get some really good bbq at bones, probably not worth going the 20 times or so to get that one good one though.

                      2. re: Hambone Willy

                        I recommend Soul Fire whenever I get the chance, and will do so now. As Hambone Willy mentions they also have beer, which is no small issue from my more novice BBQ perspective! I've also had no problem finding parking along Commonwealth when I've gone there.

                        1. re: Hambone Willy

                          Just don't ever, ever, ever get the brisket. All I'm sayin'.

                    1. Is this the Revere Pete's or the East Boston Pete's? I loved Pete's in East Boston and so looked forward to going in Revere we much easier parking. However, I went twice and REALLY DID NOT LIKE. Thus, I would say hands down Blue Ribbon.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: debidokun

                        I think the tevere Uncle Pete's Is the reincarnation of the east boston one which closed.

                        1. re: Northender

                          Sorry you could not understand what I meant. I know they are by the same owner. What I was trying to say was I REALLY liked Pete's when they were in East Boston but think it went REALLY down hill once they moved to Revere.

                          1. re: debidokun

                            Gotcha - and I think I would agree. I also just liked the old location more too.

                      2. Pete was trained in Texas. As a result his beef ribs and brisket are the best in Boston. His pork items pale in comparison. So for pork ribs go to Blue Ribbon. Then there is burnt ends. Joe's BarBQue in Brighton is my favorite.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: professor shorthair

                          According to the Uncle Pete's website (http://www.unclepetes.com/aboutus.html), Pete learned about barbeque in Norfolk, Virginia, and his first interest was pork rather than beef.

                          A television profile of Uncle Pete's showed the preparation process, including slathering a rack of ribs with huge quantities of margarine before smoking. And I've tasted the greasiness in his barbeque, on the few occasions I've been there recently.

                          I much prefer Blue Ribbon to Uncle Pete's. Haven't been to SoulFire yet, although the messages here make me want to try it out soon.

                        2. This thread inspired me to take a trip to Lester's in Burlington yesterday to see where they stand as of late. As close to perfection as I have seen in this area for bbq. I got the combo of pork ribs and brisket, both were tender, moist, not falling apart, and quite smoky. First time I was able to ever cut a slice of brisket with a plastic fork. Sauces have gotten better too, but the sides I had were just ok (mac 'n cheese/coleslaw)- but sides are just an afterthought when enjoying good bbq imo.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: LStaff

                            Was the brisket reasonably free of fat? Barmy, being Texan by birth, prefers brisket over all other BBQ, but is fussy about fatty meat (obviously it can't start out lean or else it will cook up too dry, but it should be cooked so as to render out most of the fat.)

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              The guy who cut mine up did a good job trimming the fat. Noticed that he cut off a fatty end after slicing. But I guess it will depend on who's slicing the meat for you.

                              Just scarfed down a sandwich with the leftover meat from yesterday that I chopped up and put their spicy sauce on. Delicious.

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                Well, really, it's that it should be cooked with the fat cap on, but then the fat cap should be trimmed off before slicing. I'm just surprised at how many places either do the entirely wrong thing of trimming the fat cap before cooking the brisket -- thereby ensuring tough, dry meat (the big problem with the brisket at both Redbones and Soulfire) -- or don't bother to trim after smoking, which means you can get slices of brisket that are half fat. The fat in the brisket itself doesn't bug me, as long as it's been properly cooked: too much solid fat in the meat is a dead giveaway that the brisket didn't spend nearly enough time on the smoker.

                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                  There's a couple of pics on this page that shows Lester's brisket.
                                  http://www.pigtrip.net/review-Lesters...

                                  I think you would enjoy it if you went. Check it out and let us know what you thought.

                              2. re: LStaff

                                Oh boy! My husband works nearby, and I'd love to be able to get a bbq fix without having to go all the way into Boston. This'll be fun to investigate.

                              3. Blue Ribbon is the best in town. I happen to like Redbones, and SoulFire is pretty good too. I went to Uncle Pete's this wkd for the first time w/a bunch of people and the verdict: never again--we were so disappointed.

                                --mashed potatoes were either instant or half instant/half real; "i can't wait to have real mashed potatoes to get that taste out of my mouth"
                                --corn was brown and from a can, drowning in butter-like chemicals; "i don't think the corn is as fresh as the menu says"
                                --sweet potato biscuit was dry and overly spiced
                                --my cajun fish tasted suspiciously like frozen fish fillets drowned in a sweet and sour sauce/fish sauce. Neither cajun nor fish. The only saving grace was the fresh cucumber and mango salad (nee salsa on the menu) that heaped the plate.
                                --the texas sliced beef was OK; "the sides were gross"
                                --burnt ends were the special and came in a fried tortilla...why?
                                --a pre-appetizer was brought to the table: a quesadilla...why?
                                --ribs were dry and fairly inedible
                                --pulled pork was OK

                                So now we have a BBQ joint with an Asian accent and Mexican flair. Service was good and the restaurant was fairly busy. Pete and his wife both came by to see how everything was, which is a nice touch. I would normally think we must have ordered the wrong things, but honestly...why bother with fake potatoes? BRBBQ can take my money any time. Yes, I know, ordering fish at a BBQ place is silly, but that's what I do and haven't been so disappointed before.

                                Also, a pretty serious point when entering a BBQ joint: it did not smell like BBQ. Think on that one.

                                1. I don't know why everyone on this board seems to hate Redbones. I grew up in Tennessee, and my Dad makes BBQ (boston butt and baby backs, that is) the same way that his mother made it, which is the same way which her mother made it. I've been to Blue Ribbon, and the sauce tasted a little bit off to me. The meat was cooked well, but the sauce was a little bland. Redbones is just much more like my family's recipe, and I can say with a totally straight face that my family is the real thing - Tennessee plateau farmers going back to 1706. I don't know why everyone here is so quick to dismiss Redbones. (Though I suppose it's true that it's not precisely Memphis-style, I would say it is more Appalachian or Georgia-style)

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: knclouse

                                    For me, it's the sides at Red Bones that I don't like, and I mean all of them. Slaw, beans, hush puppies etc. just bring down the whole package for me.

                                    1. re: Hambone Willy

                                      have you tried the corn relish? serious heat and flavor.

                                      1. re: ScubaSteve

                                        No, I am game though. Also, this weekend I went to Uncle Pete's and Soul Fire. I am a fan of the overall BBQ, sides, ribs, brisket, at SF but man their ribs this weekend were completely devoid of smoke and rub. Big downer. pete's on the other hand is a truly odd place. The menu is schizophrenic BBQ and all over the map. That being said, the straight up comparison of rib to rib, I'll tell you, Uncle pete's was tops. Now this was my first trip their so I am reserving the right to check for consitency in the future b/c this is where SF has lost me at times.

                                        1. re: ScubaSteve

                                          Redbone's 'Atomic Relish' is reason enough to go there -- that is probably one of the hottest items on any menu in the Boston area.

                                          RE: Redbones in general: I think their BBQ is very good-- maybe not quite as good as Blue Ribbon, but they still deliver a fine meal at a good price. And their catfish is excellent. (And don't miss the buffalo shrimp.)

                                    2. Blue Ribbon, Blue Ribbon!!! I am such a Blue Ribbon junkie....it's bad.

                                      1. I'm surprised there has been no mention of The Pit Stop. I haven't been there in a while, but when I lived closer I thought it was very good. Has it gone downhill?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: firewrx612

                                          I will report back tomorrow; I hadn't been for a couple years but I stopped by today and picked up a rib plate (5 bones for $7.75); as a general rule, I prefer my ribs dry-rubbed with the sauce on the side as an option; Pit Stop sauces their ribs but they have always been excellent. I will let you know how they were when I eat them later. FYI, I didn't get them but they had a new option on their menu where you could get center cut ribs for a little more money.

                                        2. My personal favorite has to be Smokin' Joes in Brighton. It's a hole in the wall but the food is FANTASTIC! They have an assortment of sauces that you can choose from so no matter what your prefered style there's something for you. Plus they have live blues on the weekend.

                                          1. How would I get to Blue Ribbon using the T? Either location is fine.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Matt H

                                              Arlington: Hop the 77 bus out of Harvard Square. Blue Ribbon is right across the street from the Stop and Shop on Mass Ave.

                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                  Or get the 77 bus from Porter Square or the 79 bus from Alewife (peak hours or plan carefully for this one, however)

                                              1. I have a soft spot for Uncle Pete's (when they were in E. Boston), where I had some really memorable pork ribs, plus some southern hospitality in the form of Pete himself dropping by the table and shooting the bull about his personal bbq philosophy, etc. However, all the reports from my friends since their move to Revere have been negative. Blue Ribbon is a place I WANT to like. The owners are great guys. They are nearby. They seem to be popular on CH. But maybe my friends and I are the only ones who have been disappointed most every time we went. I wouldn't say it's terrible, but perhaps I'm ashamed it's supposed to be the best in Boston. I go there once every 3-4 months for a quick fix, but only because it's nearby. My current favorites are Lester's (best brisket in Boston...though a bit fatty, at least they're not choking-dry), and SoulFire (solid entrees...great sides). Redbones is only passable for large catering jobs, where you have to lower your expectations anyway. The Pit Stop was good the one time I went...but not the beef ribs, just the pork. If all the bbq joints were lined up outside my house, I would probably go to M&M the most, because of the bang-for-buck. They don't do anything stand-out, but they have lots of interesting items and their prices are noticeably lower (being sold out of a truck helps!). Firefly was not bad...I thought for large groups, they had a great "picnic" package deal. The ribs were very mediocre...same goes for Famous Dave's. I have a(nother) soft spot for Village Smokehouse. They get rocked on most reviews, but I think I like their sauce, their sausage and their fries the best. Texas Smokehouse's ribs are supposed to be award-winning. I think they're a poor imitation of real smoked ribs, but they have their fans...and besides, the restaurant has plenty of other tasty non-bbq items. East Coast grill has acceptable bbq, but when I go there, I want to eat non-bbq food. Tennessee's was very mediocre...a common pattern for all the chain bbq joints. Next on my try list is Smoken Joe's. My one wish is for the Food Network to stop doing bbq specials from the South...they're torturing me to no end.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: NYA Joe

                                                  You can substitute any side, even the specials for the beans and the slaw,

                                                2. So I finally got to Blue Ribbon this past weekend. I have been trying to find some decent BBQ since we moved up here from Florida. Red Bones was pretty terrible and Smokehouse in Brookline was even worse.

                                                  Blue Ribbon though will be my go to BBQ joint in town after our experience this weekend. I ordered the sliced brisket and burnt ends with coleslaw, baked beans and cornbread. The burnt ends were delicious and the brisket was tasty and moist. My wife ordered the pulled pork and Ribs, both were great also.

                                                  The sauces were also great, the spicy being my favorite followed closely by the sweet. The only complaint I would have is that the cornbread was a bit on the hard side and didn't flake off the way I am accustomed to from my time in the south.

                                                  All in all a great experience, you don't know how happy we are to have found a solid BBQ joint in the area.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Matt H

                                                    Boston cornbread is more like cake than cornbread.