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New BBQ in Bedford!!!

A new Barbecue place is going into the spot that had (in the time I've been in the area -15yrs)
an Einstein's Bagels, Barnstormers sandwich shop, then the various incarnations of Knowfat, Lowfat to Ufood healthy restaurants. The new place is called (I think) Firebox Barbecue. Run by a couple of chefs, who've cooked overseas and done local catering. Nice Guys. They were installing a Southern Pride smoker yesterday. Opening is October 12th. The menu seems ambitious, from burgers to burritos to pulled pork and ribs. They want to be upscale it seems: talking about using seasonal produce, finding their own suppliers for meat, seafood, etc. Planning to have various specials to take advantage of their smoker, such as Jamaican and Dominican BBQ.
Looking forward to a new option in the area. I'm trying not to get too excited, but am hoping for a real quality spot!

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  1. I was just reading a little about this place (as well as the new Margaritas which is coming to the old Denny's spot down the street in Lexington). It's indeed called FireBox (they have a capital "B" in the name). From what I was reading, it will be a "contemporary" BBQ place, so yes, it sounds like it will be a bit more upscale than your typical BBQ joint.

    12 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      I was gonna mention the Margaritas (or start another thread).
      Should I be excited? Chain, but what quality? I actually kind of like On the Border in Woburn, how does this compare?

      1. re: justbeingpolite

        Eh. Margaritas is ok, IMO. I like the one in Waltham mainly because they have outdoor dining on the river (and their drinks are decent), but their food is so-so, IMO. I'd probably put On the Border just a skosh (a schtickle?) better than Margaritas.

        BTW, thanks for posting about FireBox. I've been in Bedford a few times over the past couple of weeks, but totally forgot what was happening with the UFood spot.

        1. re: hiddenboston

          No prob.
          I'm hoping the Q at the Firebox is at least as good as, and more consistant than Lesters. Maybe even at the Blue Ribbon level, gasp. I can dream, can't I? If you're in the area soon, drop in on them. The owners are charming, and happy to give a tour and discuss their plans. They're Chowhound fans, it seems, and talk a good game.

            1. re: justbeingpolite

              What do you think is inconsistent at Lesters? For a while there (before the lecture from the dr. and wife) I was eating the ribs at Lesters on avg. about every other week. Sure there was some batch to batch variation as is the case with bbq, but the ribs always ranged from good to f'n good. Always has at least a base level of smokiness (although the FG ones had more smoke flavor), tender, juicy meat that pulled away from the bone pretty easily and always have a smoke ring. Even when they were just "good" they much better than any pork ribs I've gotten from redbones or blue ribbon in the past 2 years.

              The brisket I've tried on different occasions was inconsistent though - one time was really good, others just ok. And I have never really liked the pulled pork there.

              Read recently that Blue Ribbon went back to their old style ribs - so hopefully the smoke flavor and bark will return with them too.

              1. re: LStaff

                Husband and I had a spit-it-out bad meal at Lester's. No chance, no how, ever again.

                1. re: three of us

                  I had a similar experience there about two months ago with my wife and son. The food was beyond bad and we'll never go back

                2. re: LStaff

                  Well there you go.
                  I am usually a rib eater, and I've had the occaisional dry bone from Lester's, something I've faulted Redbones (notice the appropriate absence of an apostrophe, MC) with as well. Blue Ribbon has been my local gold standard, though I've had some of those FG ribs from Lester's. Hope Smokebox (I do like the name) makes some of those FG ribs for LStaff to enjoy.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    I've had several below-mediocre meals at Lester's, all at lunch (it's popular with some of my coworkers). Among other issues, it doesn't look/taste like real slow-smoke BBQ to me. I'm not going back if I can help it.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      I've been a few times, but only in the evening for takeout or happy hour. Their ribs are a bit too dry, but at least they are not extremely fatty like Blue Ribbon. And their wings have super smokey flavor, although the sauce is too thin and doesn't adhere to the wings well. See below for the pulled pork. Never had anything bad, but just not as good as I hoped for.

                      We've also had them cater a few work parties, which worked out well.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        >it doesn't look/taste like real slow-smoke BBQ to me.

                        That is an odd statement to me that just doesn't jive with my experience at Lester's. I've been probably 20+ times (at lunch) in the last two years and although the level of smoke in various meats fluctuates, you can always tell it was smoked. Never had any meat there that didn't have a nice smoke ring or at least a hint of smoke flavor, unlike Blue Ribbon (on occassion) or Redbones (much more frequently).

                        1. re: LStaff

                          I used my groupon at Lester's this week and had the three meat combo, brisket, ribs and hot sausage with mashed potatoes and gravy and collared greens and I was very impressed! I have been going to Blue Ribbon since they opened their first location in Newton. Brisket was a bit fatty but very tender and oh so juicy, with a good smoke flavor and the same for the ribs, good smokey flavor with a nice smoke ring. The hot sausage was OK, overshadowed by the BBQ. Mashed with gravy was good and the collared greens was very good.

            2. I got a sneak peek at the menu this weekend. It looks like typical BBQ with brisket, ribs, etc., comfort food sides (potato salad, mac & cheese), and burgers and dogs. Strangely, there is a Cuban on the menu.

              It looks like simple food that, if done well, will be DELICOUS.

              1. So I went in today about 3pm. Really, REALLY friendly service, laid back atmosphere, cheery music, HD TV set on ESPN with a comfy couch facing it. I think it could be a great place to hang out with friends or if everyone in there wants to watch the same sports event. Beer and wine are available in the evenings. I had a combo platter with pork ribs and pulled pork. Ribs were quite tough; I was disappointed. Pulled pork was more "chunk pork" style which I like. Although it didn't really "pull" very well with my fork, it tasted good, especially when dipped in NC vinegar sauce. Sides were average. There's a "bar" of various flavored liquid sweeteners for their brewed iced tea, which was neat, but they'll have to brew the tea stronger to handle the dilution from the sweeteners. Nothing wowed me, but I filled out a comment card, and they were friendly and the place looks fun, so I'll give them another chance. More $$$ than Lester's, so they'll have to improve to keep my business (or my car will have to break, as I can get to FireBox on foot if I have to).

                -----
                FireBox BBQ
                347 Great Rd, Bedford, MA 01730

                1. Stopped in for the first time on Sunday ~1:30PM and ordered the pulled pork sandwich for takeout, $6. Eastern North Carolina style, similar to Lester's. But only slightly smokey, whereas Lester's puts a good smoke on theirs, and very very light on the sauce. I suppose I could have got more sauce on the side, but I didn't think of that. Also, contrary to michelles' experience, this was not at all chunky pulled pork. Looked more like it had been shredded by a machine into too-small fragments, much like Lester's, rather than the fork-pulled chunks of meat I would prefer. I'm not a BBQ expert, but I think this is what they called "chopped". Doesn't make for a very stable sandwich, or much texture. Whether it is authentic, others will have to judge. Did come with a nice pickle slice, which I suspect was home-made.

                  Interior is similar to the previous health food joint, so definitely not what I would call up-scale, but it is attractive. And they have a liquor license with an interesting selection of $6 wines by the glass from around the world (didn't recognize any of the labels, but it sounded like they had put some thought into what would go with BBQ and picked something more creative than 2-Buck Chuck).

                  I'll definitely be back, since I work close by, but based on my single pull pork sandwich (which is my BBQ touchstone), I'm not going to call it a drive to destination. In fact, I probably prefer Lester's at this point, given their much stronger smoke.

                  http://www.fireboxbbq.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                    Had lunch there today and think the pulled pork is more like ground pork and very bland. Mac and cheese was decemt; highlight was the cole slaw. Don't think we will be back.

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