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What is the big to-do about Duck Deli?

I've been told several times, by many people, how fabulous, and 'authentic' this bbq is.

ehhhhh....maybe it's just my experience?

It's cute inside, and I've had good service there, twice. But I felt the pork was teeth gratingly dry the two times we ate there (gave them the 'second chance meal' because of all the good recs) and we recently went to a catered event of a friends.

They laid out what I would consider a HUGE amount for a large amount of food pushed on them for the head count they stated. No one could possibly have eaten all that food.

Is there a better BBQ? Any other experiences with this place? I wish I had known enough to warn people away.

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  1. I agree with your assessment. I was there quite awhile ago and the people were nice but the food was mediocre. I used to live in North Carolina although I am originally from this area. The barbecue I got down there was an acquired taste but I learned to love it. I am talking about moist but not fatty pulled pork in a sauce with absolutely no tomato, just vinegar, salt and oil as I remember to bring out the best flavor of the barbecued meat. And for a sandwich, the barbecued pork was served with coleslaw, but not the deli style slaw you get around here. The slaw was very finely minced cabbage with an oil based dressing, no mayo in it. The slaw goes perfectly with the meat. How puzzled I was when I first tried it, how I long for a traditional NC barbecue pork sandwich right now. Hot dogs in NC were usually ordered with that same slaw. So I am suspicious when places around here claim to have NC barbecue because they always put tomato in the barbecue sauce. I lived in the Raleigh area and I can only wonder what the heck part of NC this tomatoey mess comes from? Oh and if anyone knows where I can get "real" NC barbecue please please hook me up with the info!!!!! I'll be your chowhound friend for life!

    1 Reply
    1. re: givemecarbs

      I thought I read somewhere that western carolina used a little bit of tomato in their sauce. Either way, I agree it's not that great.

    2. I really enjoy it, I would not call it the best barbeque around, but its quite good. I love their tuna hoagie - made with smoked tuna, not the canned stuff. Their sides are great too - I particularly love their hush puppies. They're not healthy at all but soooo good. One year I bought home a take out order of them right before Thanksgiving and mixed them with cornbread and sausage to make the best stuffing. But I digress......

      2 Replies
      1. re: AmblerGirl

        I've heard good things about a place called smokin' dudes, but they are based in croydon, and I'm not willing to travel based on the other reviews I got bombing.

        I know smokin' dudes do a lot of pig roasts...if they are still around.

        1. re: sommrluv

          I'll have to try the tuna hoagie, sounds good! But as for Barbecue, the place in Fairview Village, USA Barbecue owns me body and soul. Reading about Barbecue made me hungry so I headed over there again last night. I asked for and got two extra orders of that yummy texas toast with my sampler. They were busy but waiting a little was fun because I got to soak up all the enthusiasm from the staff and customers. The lady ahead of me got a full rack of ribs even though she said she had a home smoker and just made her own ribs last week. Her new motto is why cook when I can just get them here! Try the baked sweet potato as a side. It goes so well with the well-smoked meats!

      2. I agree with other sentiments, Duck Deli is ok, but just that. I also like the tuna hoagie, and have been wanting to try their wings- I think they smoke them? But overall, the bbq is not great.
        Agree with the pork sentiments, and the ribs weren't anything to write home about either.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JCap

          I think Duck Deli is in a fortuitous location, within spitting distance of affluent Doylestown/Buckingham -- home of many who vacation in Duck, NC. There are not a lot of other places in that area to get BBQ, and the Duck Deli is cute, homey, comfortable, and even has a faux fireplace for those chilly days when you want comfort food with a dose of cozy. I thought the food was OK. There is an old Spanish proverb that says (loosely translated); "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king".

          1. re: PattiCakes

            I live near Duck Deli and go there occasionally. I have had the ribs and the chicken and I was underwhelmed. I prefer a KC or Memphis style BBQ than the NC style and their KC type sauce is not to my liking (not spicy enough and too much tomato.) I have had smoked salmon from there that was quite good. And their hushpuppies and honeybutter are sinful

            I actually enjoy their breakfasts on the weekend, where you got homemade sausage and biscuits are worth going for if you live in the area.

            For wings in the area I prefer Mesquite Grill or the Candlewyck (for cheap)

            On a side note there is a new BBQ place opening in downtown Doylestown in the failed Quiznos/Talking Turkey Space. Have no other information about it.

            1. re: cwdonald

              Inspired by this chat, I just got back from there (Sweet Lil's) for lunch. Had a pulled pork sandwich, and it was good. Vinegary sauce, nice big shreds of meat, not too smoky to overwhelm the meat, cole slaw on top. Good bun too, an upgrade from the traditional hamburger bun.

              The smoker is right there behind the counter, and they were pulling out some ribs while I was there- they looked like Memphis dry (the menu doesn't discern region), and they looked good also. I'll be back the next time I get a bbq jones.

              1. re: JCap

                Thanks so much! Gonna try Lil's asap!

              2. re: cwdonald

                Ahhh the Candlewyck, I used to go there with my parents and I stopped by for lunch early last fall. The food was good bar food but what delighted me is that the place seems frozen in time. Absolutely nothing about the decor, atmosphere, and probably the menu has changed since I was a kid. Places are always getting a make over or worse. Like Julie's Steakhouse in willow grove. Sniff. Or even the A and N in Sellersville. I still cannot get used to all that glass block. But Candlewyck is exactly how I remember it. Words can't describe how unbelievably comforting that is. I have to get back there really soon before something happens and it's too late.

          2. We went to Smokin Lil's in doylestown this week and it was really good. Ribs and Brisket were spot on!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: ChefRich

              Drool. Tried to go there last nite but they were closed. They were people in there and it looked like they were in clean up mode so I guess I just missed them. It was about eight pm. They didn't seem to have any hours posted. Do they accept credit cards? If not I'll just go early and bring cash. Even standing outside the barbecue aroma was divine.

              1. re: givemecarbs

                They do take credit cards. The ribs and brisket are a must.It was more of a memphis style which I like. The sides were good ,but were a little expensive. Corn bread was also great.

            2. There is a new BBQ place in town that Lilly (from Lilly's in Lambertville and Cafe America) called Smokin' Lils that is supposed to be very good. I have not yet gone, but I've heard good things. On the topic of Duck Deli, though, we head out there for lunch occasionally. The owners are good folks and the food is above-average. The hush puppies are greasy and good.