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MSP- MSP Mag Best BBQ

cheeseguysgirl 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.

  1. The Dairy Queen Jan 6, 2009 12:14 PM

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

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/448772

    #7 is to be avoided at all costs

    ~TDQ

    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      m
      mnxd9 Jan 7, 2009 06:05 PM

      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
        The Dairy Queen Jan 7, 2009 11:27 PM

        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 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360794#2194260

        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 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/306116#2836619 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 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3607... 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.

        ~TDQ

    2. m
      mncharm Jan 6, 2009 12:18 PM

      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. r
        russban Jan 6, 2009 12:23 PM

        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. bworp Jan 6, 2009 01:19 PM

          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
            cheeseguysgirl Jan 7, 2009 04:33 AM

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

          2. Jordan Jan 6, 2009 03:47 PM

            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
              bob s Jan 7, 2009 11:22 AM

              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
                d
                dalewest Jan 7, 2009 06:35 PM

                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!

              2. g
                GutGrease Jan 7, 2009 09:33 AM

                I had ribs at Cap's Grille two summers ago just prior to a light-rail pub crawl. I really enjoyed the entire meal, and was surprised because it didn't strike me as a rib joint. Having the outdoor seating made it even better.

                I haven't eaten Whitey's ribs but they always used to have dynamite hamburgers.

                Baker's Ribs (if I remember correctly) is across from the Eden Prairie Center. It was good stuff, but a little pricey and not that memorable. The problem is that I really can't remember the meal that well, so I doubt that I'd put it near the top of my list. The service was very friendly though.

                1. AnneInMpls Jan 7, 2009 01:14 PM

                  What about Big Daddy's Friday and Saturday Barbecue? Although I haven't had it for a year or so, I preferred it to any I've tried on the MSP mag's list (my 2 cents: Market-blah; Cap's-so-so; FamousD's-fast food; Roosters-ick; Dixies-meh; YaMama's-grilled meat,not Q; Ted's-good yrs ago, back when I ate BBQ).

                  Speaking of places that are new since that article was written, has anyone tried Brickhouse BBQ? I haven't made it up there yet, but have seen good reviews in this thread:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/544585

                  Anne

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: AnneInMpls
                    cheeseguysgirl Jan 7, 2009 02:04 PM

                    I don't think they were open at the time the article was written-- and honestly, their hours have never coincided with my cravings, or I'd have definitely tried them. They get good reviews around these parts.

                    Today for lunch I picked up Caps and brought it back to the house-- it's really quite close to us. I was pleasantly surprised. Nice moist meat (both ribs and chicken, but did not try country-style or pork chops), decent char flavor- not overwhelmingly smoky. Minimal pink ring, btw. I am a fan of dry 'cue, so I was also pleased they sent the sauce on the side (plus the sauce isn't too sweet, which is one of my pet peeves about many sauces)-- it tells me they are not trying to hide anything. For the price and the proximity, they are altogether acceptable... and when you're talking about barbecue up North, sometimes that's as good as you can get.

                    1. re: AnneInMpls
                      t
                      type2runner Jan 24, 2009 04:33 PM

                      Ordered 2 pounds of Baby Back Ribs last night, along with an order of onion rings for takeout. Both were awesome when I got them home. While I like their sauce, the ribs were good _without_ sauce. I dipped some, but mostly ate them naked. The onion rings stayed crunchy and were wonderful. They are using cardboard boxes, not styrofoam for the take home package.

                      The have an extensive menu, so if someone doesn't want ribs, they have chopped pork and beef, and burgers.

                      4330 Lyndale Ave N
                      Minneapolis, MN 55412
                      (612) 522-9411

                    2. wineglas Jan 7, 2009 01:19 PM

                      Redstone must have put a big add in the magazine that month. It is hard to take their selections of anything serious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wineglas
                        r
                        raforce Jan 14, 2009 09:07 AM

                        I agree. Redstone seems to be a non-trendy trendy place. I live in the western 'burbs, so it's not out of the way for me. I do think it's incredibly over-priced. Or maybe they are just trying too hard to be "fancy"? I still can't shake the "grown-up Champps" prejudice, possibly...

                      2. d
                        DukeFan Jan 7, 2009 06:22 PM

                        huge fan of Baker's; get lunch there all the time. BBQ sandwiches are great and the tomato salad is a huge favorite of mine.

                        1. The Chowhound Team Jan 8, 2009 09:01 AM

                          Pardon the interruption, folks, but we've split off a subdiscussion regarding whether there is anything wrong with chains to the General Chowhounding Topics Board. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5861... Please limit your discussion in this thread to the chow and restaurants in the Midwest.

                          Thank you for your understanding.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: The Chowhound Team
                            g
                            GutGrease Jan 15, 2009 09:08 AM

                            I just ate some Ted Cook's 19th Hole pork ribs on Tuesday night. This is my third time there at it was still as good as I remember. Although I've only known about the place for a year or so. The sauce was sweet but I don't mind it and the meat pulled right off of the bone. Maybe some folks have fonder memories of ribs past, but it's still very good food.

                            1. re: GutGrease
                              q
                              qaeater Jan 22, 2009 09:00 PM

                              Until somebody tells me they can compete with BBQ in Memphis or Texas I just don't bother anymore. There isn't anything magical in the air down there they just do it better and generally cheaper.

                          2. w
                            WIburgergirl Jan 23, 2009 06:14 PM

                            Caps is good. I suggest the pork sandwich memphis style with the cole slaw on the sandwich.

                            Daves is pretty good too. I usually get the loaded potato and get pork, that is on the lunch menu, you can order it all the time. Not all locations serve it- like the Apple Valley location. I've found it is the sit down and be served locations.

                            1. Latinpig Jan 25, 2009 11:15 AM

                              I am surpised no one has mentioned Ikes. They have the closest thing to the old Pickled Parrot Ribs in town. Veyr good. I do like Redstone as well.

                              1. k
                                KyleThomas Jan 26, 2009 08:17 AM

                                On the advice of this board, and my general curiosity going back several years, I tried Capps. My take is this:

                                The menus said "best ribs" and "best pork chop" in town, so I ordered a combo platter with both. The ribs were definitely passable, as they had a nice char on the outside with a very light smokey flavor within. The sauce on the side was more tangy than sweet, which is my preference.

                                The pork chop was dry. Pork chops are often dry, and rarely well executed at any restaurant in my experience, except higher end chop houses. Well, these were no exception. The outside of the porkchop had light grill marks, and then was covered in sauce. I believe this was a different/sweeter sauce than that placed at the table. I did not like the sauce on the chop. Combined with the dry texture, the chop was a complete miss.

                                My wife had the pulled pork sandwich. This was a good looking dish. The pork was clearly hand pulled, presumably from a shoulder roast, as I believe it should be. It also had a light smokey flavor, and was really a lot of meat. The fries were excellent, as they potato wedge style, crispy with a little salt.

                                Unfortuneately, they did not have any beer or booze. Call me crazy, but bbq just doesn't taste right without tall cool beer to accompany.

                                Overall, I give this place a C+. Perhaps its just personal preference, but I prefer a low and slow bbq, with more smoke flavor. Also, also prefer a thicker seasoning/sauce crust on the meat. While I realize that there are many different styles of bbq, and that different people have different expectiations when it comes to the dish, this one simply did not do it for me.

                                1. d
                                  drower Sep 9, 2010 09:02 PM

                                  Anyone else been to Bob's Smoke Stack Ribs? I just went there. I was not impressed and actually really disappointed. And only pulled chicken not whole. Just for fun, I went to Rochester and picked up some of John Hardy's to compare #1 vs #10 - we'll see what my coworkers think.

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