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Oct 10, 2008 10:12 AM

BBQ in Philadelphia area

My BIL is dying for some BBQ (he loves ribs). My sister and I don't eat ribs, sister prefers BBQ chicken; I like chicken, brisket or sausage. We will have a 5 and an 8 year old with us as well. The 8 year old is an adventurous eater, the 5 year old eats only hot dogs or pasta with butter (don't ask!!). We would like someplace with easy parking that is not BYO, and we obviously want to eat in. Any ideas? BIL wanted to try Sweet Lucy's, but I've heard mixed things about it. Anything on the eastern side of the city, or even in NJ?

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  1. I think Sweet Lucy's is excellent - one of the few reasons I leave CC Phila and fits your needs perfectly - including a hot dog on the kids menu, but alas, it is BYO

    1. I hate to admit that I've tried Sweet Lucy's and Famous Dave's, and not wanting to recommend a chain over a local establishment, I'll pass on my feelings re: Sweet Lucy's. Other people really like the place, so maybe I hit them on an "off" day. It would be a good place location, parking, and atmosphere wise for your needs though.

      All in all, what I've found is that BBQ in Phily is mediocre at best and hit-or miss. Some places I've tried have been good some times while other times have been pretty bad. My favorite in CC Philly (long shuttered) was the Smoked Joint. I can't think of any other BBQ places (except Dave's) east of Broad since the one BBQ place on South St. closed a few years ago as well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bluehensfan

        actually there are still two places on south that do barbecue - ron's ribs and phoebe's. ron's ribs might work for the BIL, but probably not for everyone else. phoebe's is delicious, but it is take-out only. there is a barbecue joint somewhere on the edge of fairmount/brewerytown that is supposed to be excellent (but a little shady too). and you won't find good brisket many places (if you'll even see it on the menu), and bbq sausage (like what texans call sausage) you can only find at the chains as far as i know. good luck!

        1. re: mazza3

          Any idea what the place mentioned in Fairmount/Btown is called?

        2. re: bluehensfan

          agreed, Lucy's was bland and impersonal. A McRib had more personality.

        3. Thanks everyone. I know....having lived in Texas for several years, people here just don't know what real BBQ is. My old boyfriend was from Central Texas and his dad always had BBQ when we went up there. The smoker was the size of a station wagon, and they lit it up around 3 AM. By 6 in the morning there would be at least 20 neighbors outside that had come over to cook their meats on this contraption. BBQ is a community event there! I can still smell the wood burning. Lots of sausage in Central Texas and most people actually make their own. The brisket was outstanding, as was everything.
          Even the most mediocre BBQ places in Houston would be better than anything I've tried up here. But, my BIL has never been to TX, so he doesn't know any better!! I'm just longing for some, but my expectations are low, so maybe Sweet Lucy's will do! I did read about that BBQ place near Brewerytown, but I thought it was takeout, and the neighborhood might be a bit scary for the kids.

          1. Just went to Sweet Lucy's for the first time last night, and I was kind of underwhelmed. I had the ribs, Mr travelmad478 had the pulled pork, and we both got mac and cheese and collards as our sides. I found the rib meat tender although on the bland side, and I didn't like the sauce at all--gloppy and too ketchup-y for my taste. The same sauce was used for the pulled pork, which IMO was also a little bland. Mr travelmad478 is a North Carolina native and a pulled pork aficionado--he liked it, but hey, I don't believe that pulled pork is barbecue anyway (ducking now!) I like chicken, but the platter available was "pulled chicken," which I assume would come covered with that same sauce that I didn't like.

            The collards were good, mac and cheese OK although nothing can touch my own mac and cheese recipe. I liked the corn bread, but Mr travelmad478 found it "too fluffy." He likes the dense kind.

            We live not far from there, but even so, I wouldn't make a trip back. I am not a BBQ specialist, but in my opinion, the absolute best I have had in the area is at this little log cabin (really) just over the state line in Elkton, MD, Durham's Best (carry-out only).

            Durham's Best Barbeque Carry
            90 Fletchwood Rd, Elkton, MD 21921

            3 Replies
            1. re: travelmad478

              There is a different vinegar sauce for the pulled pork and pulled chicken - not sure why you got the bbq sauce.

              1. re: travelmad478

                travelmad, I used to live for a time in Cary and then Raleigh NC, so I learned to appreciate the NC BBQ in that area. Would dearly love a bbq pork sandwich Raleigh style rite now! I keep getting disappointed by places claiming to have NC bbq here in Pa. I never really ventured much out of the research triangle area except to go to the coast so I didn't even know there is more than one kind of NC bbq. But I am convinced that I will have to visit my old stomping grounds to get the sandwich or platter I seek. I have had my yearning heart broken too many times. Please let me know if you and the mister find the one true nc bbq, the one with the light, finely minced slaw and the pork with the clear sauce already cooked into that yummy pig. I just made myself tear up a little.

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  In the unlikely event that we ever find it, I'll let you know. Just asked Mr travelmad478 if he's ever had any decent NC BBQ in this area and his response was "I've never had any good NC BBQ outside of NC." So there you go. I am no judge, since I don't really appreciate pulled pork on a hamburger bun with vinegary cole slaw on it even when it is made the absolute proper way!

              2. I have to agree with Bluehensfan. I too am not a big supporter of restaurant chains, but have found for BBQ, you can't do much better in and around the city then Famaous Daves

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chefmonty

                  I really like Duck Deli in New Brittain (right outside of Doylestown). They have great ribs there.

                  1. re: ndelson

                    How about Tommy Gunns? Sounds good but haven't been there yet.