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Jan 6, 2009 11:53 AM


I was going through a HUGE stack of old Mpls-St. Paul magazines, and found one with the cover "Best BBQ!"

I've tried some of the Top Ten ( #3-Ted Cook's, #4- Market, #8-Famous Daves) and not been terribly impressed, but several I've never heard of. Anyone have any opinions on the following (including whether or not they are still open?):

1. Redstone- Minnetonka, Eden Prairie
2. Cap's Grille- South Mpls
5. Scott Ja-Mama's- South Mpls
6. Baker's Ribs- Eden Prairie
7. Rooster's- St. Paul
9. Whitey's World Famous Saloon- Northeast Mpls
10. Dixie's Calhoun (the mag did say that at lunch it was great and at dinner abysmal)

I know there are others out there, but this mag report was from March 2005 and probably predated a lot of newer places.

The mag also had separate lists of great places for particular meats (spareribs, hot links, baby back ribs, coleslaw, chicken, pork shoulder, sauce, brisket, rib tips, country style ribs, beef ribs. baked beans, Asian style and jamaican), but the above list was overall.

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  1. Oh, but you must see the results from the BBQ chowdown...

    #7 is to be avoided at all costs


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I'd fully disagree on avoiding Roosters, and in Fact I've got a lot of people hooked on their food, we had a lot of food catered from the in the last couple years, they always did a great job, never a bad dish IMHO, never heard a single complaint from the people eating it , yeah we had roosters a lot, people looked forward to Rooster's days.

      I like thier ribs, love their chicken, both the fried and the BBQ chicked, normally I just go with the BBQ chicken and I need a side of thier sauce, honestly it was love at first taste for me, totally different than a lot of the heavy sweet sauces you see so common in the BBQ here in mn.

      I will however admit their sides are pretty weak, their coleslaw is so bland, I think even a little horseradish would wake it up and it would be pretty solid. Their beans IMHO are pretty weak too. Their fries are very good though. It's a good take out place.

      We pretty much did a BBQ crawl after that last MSP BBQ article came out, Been to redstone and it's solid, been to caps, The wife really likes caps, something about the place and food doesn't do it for me.

      But overall Market BBQ was the best overall experince we thought, not the *best* ribs or chicken though it was very good, top that off with some solid sides, beans and coles slaw rocked.

      I also like Famous dave's I've also found that even though they are all suppose to be the same and such, there are certainly better ones out there, Apple Valley has been excelent the for the last couple years, whatever they do they seem to do it right. Overall ever being a big chain Famous dave's on a good day kicks a lot of BBQ places butt.

      1. re: mnxd9

        I completely agree that the sides at Roosters are dismal. You make an elegant case for Roosters BBQ, so thank you for that as I never understood the appeal to its many fans, other than it's incredibly affordable and convenient.

        Roosters is the kind of place that I wish I could love: small, indy, family-owned (and I love their oddball collection of ceramic Roosters), but I'm afraid I don't love their food. I put it in the category of, not only will I not drive across town for it, I won't even stop if I'm in the neighborhood. If I were going to have fried chicken from a divey restaurant (or bar), I'd much rather go several blocks East on Randolph to Skinner's. I reported on Roosters fried chicken here

        I think the molasses-based sauce on Rooster's ribs could appeal to those who crave that kind of sauce, but if I'm craving ribs I'd rather drive a little farther to Lee and Dee's, (also a little hole-in-the-wall family-owned kind of place) on Selby or, much better yet, a little farther still (on Fridays and Saturdays only) to Big Daddy's on University Oh, and everyone talks about the great GRILLED ribs at 128 Cafe, and one of these days, I'm going to go there.

        I think Roosters is a particular disappointment if your expectations are high, but if you adjust your expectations down, it's easier to take--I reported on their ribs here Nevertheless, I drive by frequently and am never tempted to stop in.

        On the topic of Famous Dave's, I have a fondness for Famous Dave's for sentimental reasons (I think they do a great job catering for a fee of only $25 if you ever need to feed a crowd of non-chowhounds), I know they are a chain, but at least they are a MN-based chain. Their pulled pork sandwich is a decent choice for a chain restaurant and if, say, you find yourself at the MOA and hungry.


    2. Dixie's Calhoun is gone, isn't it? The Grand Avenue location remains -- fine BBQ last I was there, but certainly not mind blowing.

      1. If you are open to going out to the suburbs, Q Fanatic in Champlin is fantastic. Ribs, pulled pork and chicken, brisket, etc. are wonderful even without sauce. All of their sauces are homemade and their sides are great also. The only caveat is that they can be slow at times. My family loves bbq and trying new places but this has become our goto place.

        1. Redstone is a nice restaurant with good food, but not at the top of my list for bbq ribs. There chicken is very good and I also enjoy the mashed potatoes and cornbread.

          Baker's Ribs - haven't been in awhile, but it's a favorite lunch spot of mine in Eden Prairie, I usually go with the chopped Pork sandwich. They have 10 locations, but the other 9 are all in TX, not sure how Eden prairie scored this gem.

          Dixie's on Grand - Good smokey bbq, but it's the homemade jerky that keeps me coming back (available at the bar for takeout)

          Surprisingly, not on the list is Lee's and Dee's. A personal takeout favorite of mine, tender ribs, a good basket of rib tips and hot wings that will light you up. The catfish is supposed to be great catfish, but I've never given it a try. On a rare occasion the sauce hasn't been up to their normal standards, but the meat is always good. (the negative, they don't take credit so have your cash ready)

          1 Reply
          1. re: bworp

            Lee's and Dee's did make it on the list for spareribs and rib tips, but not on the overall list.

          2. Dixie's Calhoun is gone, and I think two restaurants have come and gone in that space since then. I have been to Dixie's on Grand, though not for BBQ. I found everything I had there to be pretty unimpressive.

            Cap's Grille isn't bad. I wouldn't go out of my way, but they do a nice lunch if you're in the area. It's not memorable barbecue.

            I thought Ted Cook's was pretty decent but not worth a special trip.

            For good barbecue... I leave town. I had a meal at a Missouri bbq CHAIN that puts everything in the Twin Cities to shame.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jordan

              The View, which replaced Dixie's Calhoun, was still open the last time I looked (a few months ago).

              I think Ted Cook's is entirely meh.

              1. re: Jordan

                I live in south MPLS and make my own Q (normally meaning ribs or pulled pork) on my ceramic cooker, I am in quick drive range to both Cap's and Ted Cooks. i have been to Dixie's on Grand Avenue in the past. It is OK but I not somewhere I would make a destination drive out of. . Anyway, my BBQ comments:

                1. Redstone- Minnetonka, Eden Prairie
                No comment. I will try to keep the name in mind if I am wondering around burbs in search of q.
                2. Cap's Grille- South Mpls
                I think Cap's is excellent if you want good value and high quality food. They stick to the basics and have very good BBQ ribs, chicken and brisket at good prices with the basic side dishes. If you are taking the LRT to the airport you should think about stopping here for a something for lunch. You will make your fellow passengers very jealous.
                5. Scott Ja-Mama's- South Mpls
                This is near to Pearl Park so any soccer parents should remember this place if they are looking for something to eat after soccer games or practice.

                Ted Cooks 19th Hole BBQ is a take away only joint on 38th Street near the LRT in south minneapolis. I have eaten their food (but not daily) for over 20 years. I understand the ownership changed some years ago but they kept the formula the same and my experience seems to correlate. The service a bit surly so it is best to be ready to order right from the start, like "Full rack dinner Medium sauce on the side".

                I haven't done it yet but you might want to add " extra crispy Jojo fries". It might work, it might not . it is that kind of place.

                Good Luck!