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Best Barbeque in Fresno

Reopened this week!

A barbeque joint opened up in January at N. Fresno St. and W. Clinton Ave. It closed down within a few weeks but I had a chance to taste the Q. If you like the Central Texas Barbeque in Castroville you'll like this place. I got a plate of hot smokey brisket and links that was the best I've had in this town and for just $7.

It's a divy place with take-out only but the price is right and the food is unforgettable. I'm hoping this will send them some business so they'll stay open. The only name painted on the building is "BBQ Joint opening soon", which was up there about 9 months before they moved in.

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    1. Your description is a little confusing, Fresno St. intersects "East" Clinton @ roughly the 2200 block or so. The NW corner has an auto body shop, the NE the Veterans Hospital. On the SW is May Cafe (Viet) and Fresno Seafood (gas and a couple of other businesses), the SE gas, Queenies (bakery & banh mi), and Pho 90(?).

      Please pin it down for us, last consensus, iirc, is that the local hounds are still searching for that elusive great Q.

      5 Replies
      1. re: PolarBear

        Lo siento. As of today there's a sign that says Ruben's Barbeque on the side of the building. It's the next building down from the autobody shop (toward Blackstone). Indeed it's on E. Clinton -- I tend to be directionally challenged sometimes.

        My roommates ate there today and say it's even better than it was last time. Hard to believe. But I'll find out for myself this weekend.

        1. re: Blueayez

          Thanks B, will be heading back into the office on Monday, just a half mile or so away, will give it the 4k11.

          1. re: PolarBear

            I look forward to giving it a try, too.

            1. re: PolarBear

              Did you get a chance to try Rubens?

              1. re: Blueayez

                Last week was flat out insane, didn't even have time to think about it. I did locate the place today, which wasn't easy.

                It faces Clinton (on the north side) in the building west of the auto place on the NW corner at Fresno St. The building looks abandoned, but the second door (moving west) is the one you want. There's no sign in front, just some orangish paper hung up on the window. If you're traveling west on Clinton you'll see a large sign on the east end of the building, strangely enough, there's a white hand drawn paper sign in the back that you can kind of see looking west on southbound Fresno. Here's the actual street address:

                2421 E. Clinton

                Hours: Wed - Sat, 11am to 7 pm

                Have to attend a retirement BBQ at work on Wed, so will probably be next week at the earliest before I can get back there.

        2. It has reopened, and yes, it is on East Clinton at Fresno, across from the hospital. Ruben's Rib Shack is now in that same space at 2421 E. Clinton. You park behind the building in a lot where you'll notice their two enormous BBQs smoking up tons of huge ribs, tri-tip and chicken breasts. The day I tried it I was so overwhelmed by having to make a choice that I got the Hungry Man Special--just one order--but enough juicy, smoky, spicy ribs, tri-tip, chicken and hot links, plus sides and garlic bread, to feed me and my husband with leftovers for the next day. It is inexpensive, authentic, lovely barbecue and the people running it are very nice and helpful. It has the feeling of a mom-pop operation: I hope they make it, so anyone reading this, please give it a try.

          1. Stopped in late Thursday afternoon and got the Hungry Man dinner and added two ribs ala carte for $5, had a lot of food left over, but demolished everyone of the ribs. Great sauce, nice kick and not too sweet. Easily enough chicken, tri-tip, and pork left over for another meal for two. Wished I'd thought to ask for extra sauce to make sandwiches with the pork and tri tip. Sausages were a little dry but most likely due to our reheating since we didn't eat for about three hours after I'd picked up the order.

            Sides: Baked beans are excellent, little pieces of what seemed to be rib meat and a little heat like the BBQ sauce, potato salad very good as was the 3-bean, decent pilaf, didn't try the corn.

            Ruben's a great guy, and handing out $1 off coupons good through May. Wishing I had a couple of orders of those ribs right now.

            [Edit to add]
            Ruben's Ribs
            2421 E. Clinton Ave (NW at Fresno St.)
            (559) 222-7422 (note, this no. wasn't answered when I called, had to dial their other line)
            (559) 375-6427

            1. I got a chance to stop by here for lunch with a colleague last week. We each ordered a beef sandwich & shared an order of french fries.

              While ordering, I asked what cut of beef they were using, expecting it to be brisket. I was told it's not brisket but is something else that I cannot now remember--he said it was just like a tri-tip but with less fat. Any ideas?

              When we parked in the back I noticed that the smoker was being loaded up with charcoal briquettes. The meat was very flavorful (wonderful, thick-but-not-too-much smoky flavor) & also moist. The bun was generally fine--I suppose it was a basic, buttered bun--but seriously: who's paying attention to the bread with such wonderful BBQ meat.

              First glitch: no sauce for our sandwiches. Was I supposed to ask for sauce or should it have come on the sandwich or on the side automatically? We did receive an un-ordered side of pineapple chunks in a styrofoam cup prominentaly labeled "PC"--was that supposed to be our sauce? I have no answers; only questions. It tells you something about how good the meat is, though, when we ate our entire sandwiches without sauce.

              Fries were good: probably hand-cut (each fry seemed to be a different shape & size), heavy on the seasoned salt. It was a large clam-shell container but still a bit pricey at $5. I'd probably skip the fries in the future just because they were not fabulous & I'd rather spend my money on more BBQ.

              Pineapple chunks were very sweet; uniform shape indicates they were out of a can. And like the french fries, I'd probably pass on the pineapple next time around.

              I asked about them being closed for a few weeks before they re-opened & was told that was a different owner. I wanted to ask more questions--where were they from, how did they get into the BBQ business, etc.--but a line was starting to form out the door so I had to put a lid on my game of 20 Questions.

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