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Best BBQ so far in 2010 for Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington

Share your thoughts on which place you think has the best BBQ so far in 2010 in the Boston area (no 'burbs please, except Arlington if you like Blue Ribbon) and why? Do you have favorite, don't miss dishes from your favorite BBQ joints?

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  1. Last month, tender, meaty, smoky pork ribs & beefy brisket at BRB in Arlington. Very accomodating for our impromptu lunch crew of 9 on a Sat. at noon. Ordered the meal for 6 & still had lots to take home.

    1. Anyone been to Coast Cafe in Cambridge/ Central square location? I haven't been there in a few years, but I remembering those ribs and chicken were even better then Blue Ribbon in Arlington! The meat melts in your mouth and falls off the bone!

      1. I got the ribs at Coast Cafe a few months ago and I wasn't impressed. They did not taste smoked at all. I wondered if they were actually baked. At any rate, very disappointing. I do like their fried chicken though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BackBayGirl

          I hear Coast Cafe has some great soul food. I haven't made it over there. My understanding is that they don't pretend to serve BBQ and as BBG suspects, they don't smoke thier meets.

          The best BBQ I've had in the area recently was at Soul Fire in Allston. I think they hold their own against Blue Ribbon for pork ribs. Blue Ribbon and Uncle Petes had been my long standing favorites, but since we lost Pete - Soul Fire has offered some consolation even if it lacks Pete's personality.

          I like Redbones for the atmosphere and the contributions the owners make to the community (both put me in a great mind set to enjoy the food). They are my favorites for beef ribs, pretty much by default, even though they aren't up to Uncle Pete's.

        2. While obviously not a sit down restaurant (though we do sit at the lone outside table when the weather allows), M&M in Dorchester is my clear #1. The ribs and chicken can't be beat, and the sides (mac & cheese) are strong as well. Great value and friendly service to beat. The food at M&M is head and shoulders above the rest IMO.

          I love the t-shirts too "Eat Healthy, Exercise...Die Anyway"

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gabatta

            I haven't gotten over to Soul Fire, but I pass it on the bus every day. I guess I'll have to venture over there!

            1. re: BackBayGirl

              haven't had good luck with the ribs at Soulfire-- the ones I had there were dry and tough...have to get back to Redbones soon to compare...although it's not BBQ (and not cheap), the long bone beef rib at Scampo is a must-try for beef rib fans

          2. Hands down the best BBQ I have ever had is at Formaggio in Cambridge. On Saturdays in the summer they have a BBQ on the sidewalk outside the store and it is fantastic. It is not always convenient, as you have to wait in line outside and the wait is about 20 minutes. There is very little seating, so I always take it home. But the food is great. They have a pulled lamb sandwich which is my favorite. The spicy chicken sandwich and brisket sandwich are both very good too. They offer the option of adding extra sauce and sautéed onions to the sandwiches, which I highly recommend. The beef ribs are succulent tender and very flavorful. Across the board I think their meat is just higher quality than most other bbq places serve. It never contains little bits of cartilage or inedible fat that I sometimes find from other places. They use ciabatta rolls for the sandwiches, which hold up better to the heavily sauced bbq meats than the ordinary buns that most places serve. Also they toast the rolls over the wood fire, so the smoke from the fire gets into the rolls and it adds a ton of smoky flavor to the bread. They have very good sides too. Including grilled corn on the cob with, I believe, a lime queso fresco, and very good corn bread. The corn bread has a nice crispy crust, and the inside has real corn texture and flavor with actual kernels corn.

            For year round or non-Saturday dinning I think Blue Ribbon and Redbones are both fine. I think the meat and sauces are better at Blue Ribbon, but I like the atmosphere better at Redbones. Also Redbones has more seating, I like their fried pickles and jalapeños appetizer, and they have a great beer list.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Dan Boston

              Wow! I didn't realize that Formaggio did that!

              1. re: BackBayGirl

                I didn't realize it was actually smoked BBQ rather than "*a* BBQ" ie grilled stuff.

              2. re: Dan Boston

                Dan, do you know if Formaggio does bulk take-out? I'd love to get some for dinner one of these Saturdays.

                1. re: bear

                  They did bulk takeout as a special for the Superbowl. I don’t think they regularly do bulk during the summer, but I’d ask them to be sure.

                  They actually start smoking the meat two days ahead.

                  1. re: Dan Boston

                    Thanks. I'll stop in and ask, and partake of their generous cheese samples while I'm at it.

                    1. re: Dan Boston

                      This is the Huron Ave. location, yes?

                      1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                        As far as I know Huron is the only location that does BBQ, but maybe someone else will chime in.

                        1. re: bear

                          Yes the BBQ is at the Huron Ave. location.

                      2. re: Dan Boston

                        Anyone know when the summer bbq starts? (soon, hopefully...)

                        edit- a quick look at their website confirms that "summer" starts Sat March 27th. If only if felt like it outside.

                    2. re: Dan Boston

                      I also love Formaggio's BBQ. I always get their brisket sandwich with extra sauce and onions and some cole slaw. Definitely worth the wait!

                      1. re: Dan Boston

                        i second this whole review. and as a former fk employee i can vouch that they use top quality meat and fuss over the smoker like its a small child. eric is the bbq man and he takes his job seriously. my only complaint was occasionally undercooked beans but i think they've remedied the problem and the flavor is over the top smoky-sweet goodness.

                        1. re: pocketgarden

                          I live around the corner, and in the summer when my windows are open, I'm inevitably drawn there by the wonderful smell, even though I often promise myself I will resist.....!

                      2. We hit Blue Ribbon last week on a day when they had a wet ribs special. Score. If they ever have a wet ribs special, don't miss it. (This is ribs smoked and then reheated in sauce, I believe.) Almost as good as Jake & Earl's (from the inman square days) or Jake's Boss BBQ's old trash ribs.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: pekmez

                          Don't they have that just about everyday? I just assumed its ribs leftover from previous day(s) reheated in sauce - like the Redbones lunch combo.

                          1. re: LStaff

                            I don't go every day, but in probably 2 dozen+ trips since they opened I've seen it twice so far.

                        2. Mrs Jones'. We now live very close to Blue Ribbon and I'd been happily going there to satisfy my rib cravings for years, but since discovering Mrs Jones', I simply can't eat at BR anymore. Never mind that Mrs Jones' is about a 40 minute drive out of my way. Every time I make the trek, I am thrilled with the food and kick myself for not visiting more often. The Virginia ham (Saturdays only) is the best I've ever had. The value is incredible and the Joneses are really, really nice people.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: peelmeagrape

                            Really that much better then Blue Ribbon? Can you elaborate?

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Yes, I think it is, but I'm not sure that I can elaborate helpfully - it just feels more carefully done. About half the time Blue Ribbon's ribs seem like they were rushed so that the meat is hard and a bit dry, rather than tender. I find you really need the sauce to give it taste and juiciness. The meat on Mrs Jones' ribs is always soft and moist. Also, the sauce at Mrs. Jones' is darker, thicker and more intensely flavored, like it's been cooked longer. Sort of like the difference between a very syrupy aged balsamic vinegar and an inexpensive balsamic.

                              For sides, the candied yams and the cabbage are my favorites. (Everything comes with 2 sides.) I like to pile on by ordering one of their desserts - the layer cake slices (I've sampled red velvet, chocolate and mocha) are cartoonishly huge and nostalgic fun in a straightforward, home baked way. The banana pudding is really good too.

                              1. re: peelmeagrape

                                Heck, I might have to make a trip, thanks.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  I believe BR somewhat recently went back to their orginal rib. Back when they would smoke meat at the Arlington location, the ribs were big, smokey, and juicy - usually a little tough, but not off putting. Then the ribs shrunk in size and quality after all the smoking went to the Newton commisary. I had them cater my 40th birthday party last summer and the chicken and pulled pork (best I have ever had actually) was excellent, but the ribs were a disaster - as if they were baked until they fell off the bone and not smoked.

                                  Last couple of times I've tried the ribs though they have been much better - the smoke ring and some of the smoke flavor is back.

                                1. re: Taralli

                                  Mrs jones is one of the nicest people in any restaurant i have ever been to the place is so clean and I have never had anything fall short of perfect. bbq joint on morton street pitstop maybe a close second just perfect brisket grab a order and set up shop at pope john park perfect

                            2. Formaggio starts up again Saturday, yes?