HOME > Chowhound > Philadelphia >


Good BBQ in Philly or Wilmington?

Any favorites? I can't find anything other than Famous Dave's. Dave's is pretty good....but come on...it's a chain. Famous Dave's in Wilmington sits between a department store and the Olive Garden. Where's the real BBQ around here?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not really, a couple good places, but what kind of BBQ do you like?

    20 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      Carolina pulled pork...or some mesquite smoked brisket, or some good ribs. Pretty broad here.

      1. re: Babamos

        Can't get much good in Wilmington, especially BBQ. You may want to try Bebe's in the Italian Market section of Philly. Good, vinegary pulled pork and brisket (when they make it). The ribs can be hit-or-miss though. Wicked banana pudding http://www.bebesbarbecue.com/

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Yes Bebe's for Carolina pork, that is their specialty. Percy St BBQ on South St for smoked brisket.

          You could also try Sweet Lucy's in the Northeast. I've never been, but it is widely considered one of the better spots in the region. Kind of far, but might be an easier trip since it is close to 95 and they have parking AFAIK.

          1. re: barryg

            Sadly, Bebe's is one of my places that everyone loves and I don't.

            While Mark talks a good game about North Carolina-style barbecue, the sandwich (even with the highly-touted vinegar-based sauce) was a huge disappointment.

            Real barbecue is basted while cooking, not topped with sauce.

            1. re: Seeker19104

              Seeker, point taken, but I think you yourself have said that there is nowhere better in the area. So for $7 or $8 or whatever he charges for a sandwich, I think it is worthwhile and one of the better casual eats in South Philly.

              1. re: barryg

                I lived in Texas for several years and while I hated most of the restaurants there, they do a fantastic barbecue brisket. Unfortunately, the only place I've found around here with a good brisket is in Bethlehem - Dickey's, which is a Texas-based chain.

                1. re: Stormy9091

                  Dickey's is now open in East Norriton, I saw it Monday in the shopping center with the ShopRite grocery store on Germantown Pike.

                  1. re: jujuthomas

                    Dickey's gets destroyed on the Houston and DFW boards with responses from as far away as Florida and the Pacific Northwest.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Texans have their own little thing with BBQ. Parochialism.

                      1. re: sal_acid

                        Dickey's is from Dallas. We prefer good BBQ.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          A zombie thread! The Dickey's I had at an area location was disgusting! As CW pointed out, as a chain the quality depends on the person doing the cooking. From my limited exposure to Dallas BBQ in Dallas I would say this local shop would be out of business in a month. All I had at two large restaurants (chains I think) was fantastic and what I had was beef ribs which I understand are even more difficult do well. All the sides were great too. Dickey's is, as someone noted on another thread, sad!

                          1. re: Bacchus101

                            I saw a 2013 post and responded. Later I saw it was a zombie and I realized I had violated one of my own rules. Beef ribs are actually relatively hard to come by, which is a shame. The spareribs down here are delicious, however.

                            1. re: Bacchus101

                              oops! I guess I did kick a zombie back into action... I saw Dickeys in E. Norriton and did a search for the name to see if anyone knew anything about it. :)

                              1. re: jujuthomas

                                The only Dickey's I went to was in Texas so I guess I am off the hook.

                      2. re: jujuthomas

                        Ugh, just noticed it is a Zombie. Having tried two different locations of Dickey's I can say it is the worst BBQ I have ever had at a BBQ restaurant.

                2. re: barryg

                  Sweet Lucy's is very good. Its BYOB and They run a special on Mondays.

                  1. re: barryg

                    Sweet Lucy's did nothing for me. Decent baked beans but that's about it.

                    1. re: barryg

                      Percy St does have very good moist brisket, plus great mac & cheese and a truly awesome pecan pie. Place itself is big, open and very welcoming.

                    2. re: bluehensfan

                      You should really try Russell's barbeque on Centerville Road. They have delicous barbeque from sweet potatoes towards jerk chicken. It's a very large variety.

                3. I'm personally a big fan of Tommy Gunns. I ate at the one that used to be on S. Street and when they had an outpost in Ardmore (Pj Henry's). I know they still are open by the Wissahickon transfer station. Give them a try!

                  1. There is no good NC barbecue around Wilmington, but you can find excellent ribs in the area, as long as you are willing to get out of Olive Garden-type neighborhoods to get them.

                    1) Sunset Restaurant & Barbeque, 3007 New Castle Avenue, New Castle. The restaurant is a Caribbean place, and they do ribs and chicken on a big barbecue outside. Sitting on a picnic table along Rte. 9 is not exactly a fine atmosphere, but the ribs are great, and you can get them to go if you want.

                    2) Durham's Best, 90 Fletchwood Road, Elkton, MD. This is just outside Newark, an ancient log cabin (really) that serves good ribs, sausage, and chicken barbecue. Picnic tables in the parking lot are the only seating--this place is mostly takeout.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: travelmad478

                      Funny, was at Durham after a run to State Line Liquors, and the owner of the wine store said he liked it, thus l went. Meat was smoked, that is true, but all moistness was gone. Ditched a brisket sandwich, sliced pork tenderloin, and a turkey leg, each after we had one bite. They all felt like eating leather. But the place was bustling so what do l know

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        I tried Durham's best a few years back hearing the rave reviews (granted it was the News Journal so that was one strike...). I think the shack-type atmosphere must be the draw here because my meat (brisket) tasted like jerky. You're better off at the TGIF of BBQ (i.e. Famous Dave's) if you want BBQ in Delaware if you ask me.

                    2. There is the PIGG OUT in Chaddsford and BEBE's in Philly that are my go tos.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: bluehensfan

                          Haven't been but have read mixed reviews. It's at
                          138 Glen Mills Rd., Glen Mills, PA


                      1. Good BBQ- Brandywine Picnic Park & Hickory House Catering
                        www.picnic.com WC Area not far from Wilm or Philly

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: dtown13

                          I did try the Sunset place on Rt. 9 over the weekend. The pulled pork was decent, a bit spicy with some burnt taste. Not bad but not worth rushing back for. The "red devil" cake was another story. I think it was supposed to be red velvet cake but once I tried to cut it with a fork and realized how hard it was perhaps they should rename it "red brick." It may be good when it's fresh but it seemed so stale I was afraid to bring it near my mouth.

                          1. re: bluehensfan

                            I've been to the shack on Centreville Road a few times near Boxwood and it's pretty good. Doesn't do brisket all the time but the pulled pork I've had is good. bbq sauce was just ok to me. Jerk chicken was also good. He said he does sausage sometimes too.

                            Anyone try the stand on 71 near the 71/72 intersection?

                            1. re: RC51Mike

                              Thanks for posting about the shack on Centerville Rd. (Russell's). The smell wafting across the highway is magnificent. Do you know if he he does any sides?

                              1. re: bluehensfan

                                Good question. I just get a sandwich and don't think to check.

                              2. re: RC51Mike

                                Thank you for posting about the shack! I see it every weekend and am always curious. I'll have to check it out next time!

                                1. re: jessicheese

                                  Said sides vary but collard greens, sweet potatoes and mac/cheese today. Said he's doing a brisket Thursday. I can't speak for any of that though.

                          2. My favorite barbecue in the Philadelphia area is Jimmy's in Malvern. Everything is good there, the meat and the sides. I am a barbecue chicken fan and they make the best. They make a "pulled chicken" to die for. Great brisket, ribs, pulled pork, but not Carolina style. www.jimmysbbq.com
                            Tex's barbecue, a truck that is usually in the Skippack area makes excellent brisket. www.texsbbqpa.com

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: thehungrything

                              I tried Jimmy's and the pulled pork and brisket were decent. The sauce they used seemed a bit sweet to me. The sides were ok. The cornbread had to be the driest thing on earth. Jimmy was the most gracious of hosts but the food did not quite live up to his hospitality.

                              1. re: bluehensfan

                                To each his own!!! I agree that Jimmy couldnt be nicer! If you go again try the chicken.

                                1. re: thehungrything

                                  Has anyone tried Big D's in Marshallton? Apparently one of the owners does a lot of professional competitions... http://blogs.delawareonline.com/secon...

                            2. there is a brand new place on202N in Chaddsford/Westown/West Chester in the Dilworthtown Shopping Center. Was formerly a Bennigans. Haven't tried it yet, but look and see if there are reviews on here I saw the website and it looked good.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                There was a thread on that place a month or two ago which may have been removed (I haven't checked). Most of what had been written was quite negative, and sounded as though it might have been posted by a competitor trying to dissuade folks from going.

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  Ah..thank you neighbor Cindy for keeping me honest.................and drooling with the descriptions of all the places you go!

                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                    You're quite welcome! Have you been absent from these parts lately?

                                2. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                  You don't happen to remember what it's called do you?

                                  1. re: bluehensfan

                                    I think it's Bull Durham's... or something like that.

                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      It is called Bull Durham's, the reviews were quite negative and I for one never believed they were posted by a competitor as there is no real competition for Texas BBQ around these parts. But whatever. As for good BBQ, I go to Jimmy's in Malvern and Sweet Lucy's in N.E. Philly. And FWIW while I don't consider it BBQ, Mo's Rhythm Kitchen on Gay St. in West Chester Boro makes damn good fried chicken.

                                      Sweet Lucy's
                                      3201 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

                                      1. re: Rondo

                                        You're right about there being no local competition. Maybe it was someone with a personal "axe to grind."

                                        1. re: Rondo

                                          Every restaurant competes with one another. There are only so many dining dollars to go around, especially in the suburbs. Do families in Chester County really budget for both a Texas BBQ night and a Carolina BBQ night as was suggested in that thread?

                                          1. re: Rondo

                                            Yeah, I couldn't understand the conspiracy theory related to all the bad reviews of the restaurant because, as you said, there are no Texas BBQ places in the areas. I ate at the place and it was without a doubt the worst meal I've ever been asked to pay for. Which was a shame because I used to live in Texas and I was really looking forward to a genuine Texas BBQ experience.

                                            1. re: blackhound

                                              Sorry to say based on my limited experience with Texas BBQ your search for it here will be daunting at best. While I like all styles of BBQ I do have favorites which happen to be either Memphis types. My two experiences with Texas BBQ in Dallas just "blew-me-away". Both places were very large, busy and commercial looking, as in chain. The Texas BBQ at both places was fantastic! Good luck in your search and please should you find something you think is good, let us know!

                                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                                Went to Zachary's in Norristown as considered by this board as good, people were super, pulled pork was as well, brisket was tasted and tossed.

                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                  Thanks for the rec. Not sure what the problem I have with brisket locally has been. Probably 4 times ordered at different places; dry, tasteless and tough and tossed!

                                                  1. re: Bacchus101

                                                    The brisket at Fette Sau was perfect except it was barely tepid.
                                                    Best brisket had in the NE was at Hill Country in Manhattan on 26th St. Ask for the fatty, it was wonderful.

                                    2. maybe a little bit of a stretch but there are a few Amish meat counters at the Booths Corner Farmers market that smoke some meats and make really good bbq sauces and wings ......I also reccomend Jimmys for the pulled pork and agree that the cornbread is extremely dry ..the beans are great as is the dirty corn salad .......I was there a week or two ago and it was free PBR with every order night ...gotta love that

                                      1. Driving down Route 1 today, I noticed the new building infront of the Hampton Inn has a sign on it something to do with Texas,so maybe there will soon be two BBQ places (good or bad) in the area. At least it's not yet another bank!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                          I noticed that a few days ago, too. It's going to be a Texas Roadhouse -- burgers, overcooked ribs and steak. You know the kind of place -- peanut shells on the floors, servers line dancing in the aisles, loud yee-haws for birthdays, etc. Don't get your hopes raised for this one.

                                        2. In Claymont, there's a seasonal Mr. BBQ stand set up in the parking lot of the Naamans Beverage Mart on Naamans Road just before it intersects with Philadelphia Pike. Haven't had it in a couple of years but it wasn't half bad last time I tried it.

                                          1. Are you willing to drive for good BBQ? If so, I highly recommend Henri's Hott's in Hammonton, NJ. It is the real deal.

                                            1. Check out Le Cochon Noir on Parkside near the Mann Music
                                              Center for an uspcale take on some down home BBQ. The ribs are outstanding Memphis-style. They also smoke Prime Rib and London Broil. It is BYOB until the bar opens. Some pretty good jazz most nights toward and on the weekends.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: phillyjazz

                                                LCN has been closed about two years now..

                                              2. Been to Jimmy's. Had the EXACT same experience as bluehensfan. Jimmy is a great guy but I didn't finish the food, too bad. Mashed sweet potatoes were good. I like Famous Dave's in Springfield - so it's a chain, the food is usually good.

                                                Newest discovery (after looking for a place post Jimmy's)


                                                This place is the real deal. Southern soul food. Spicy sauce was hot but great, ribs weren't too fatty and the sides - including the cornbread - were awesome. I ate like a pig and grubbed down on the few leftovers the next day. Can't wait to go again.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Orrmobl

                                                  Damn, just passed it this afternoon on the way back from the shore. Have you tried the place further east on 322? It's located at a gas station, two guys cooking chicken and ribs. Was pretty good.

                                                2. I'm curious if anyone has tried the BBQ restaurant that opened in the old Cravings location (next to the Pembroke train station in Lansdale)? I *think* it has Flame in its name? I drive by it every now and then and consider trying it, but whenever I look for info on the web I come up empty. (Guess it would help if I could remember its name.)

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                    Smoke Rack BBQ and Grill
                                                    410 Walnut St
                                                    Lansdale, PA 19446
                                                    (215) 855-0222

                                                    1. re: teddybare

                                                      Thanks, but I was thinking of the new restaurant right at the train station on Church Rd (the shopping center where Primo's and Umami are). Guess I'll just have to try it some time.

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        I think you mean Umai.

                                                        I didn't know there was a BBQ in there...will have to try it.

                                                        Been to Smoke Rack a few times, and it's the usual not terribly exciting BBQ. Jessie's is much better, although still not really drive-worthy.

                                                        1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                          It must be Via Marconi Smokehouse Tavern (What kind of a name is that? Italian BBQ?):


                                                          Doesn't sound that interesting.

                                                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                                            Yes, Umai . . . Freudian slip?

                                                            And that must be it . . . thanks for the link, it saved me a trip. Anyplace deemed a better value than Ruby Tuesdays or Fridays and which apparently focuses on numerous TVs isn't what I was really looking for.

                                                  2. Barbacoa in Admore is among the best. Also, they make Peruvian rotisserie chicken that is outstanding. Brisket is probably their best meat, but the St. Louis ribs are also great. Carolina pulled pork is not the most consistent, but when it's good it is quite good. Excellent sides and great combo prices.


                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: MainLiner

                                                      This thread's so old that I dunno if I posted it yet, but Blue Belly BBQ at 6th and Catherine has really good brisket, wings, mac and cheese, and brussel sprouts. It's my go-to place these days.

                                                      1. re: bluehensfan

                                                        When l return to Pa, will give it a try. It is on my list from the other time you mentioned it on a different BBQ thread

                                                    2. Zachary's in Norristown (a little strip mall) has some great 'cue. Excellent sauces and all home made sides. Better than I had ever imagined, ribs, chicken and brisket all outstanding,

                                                      1. anyone try Whole Hog Cafe (chain from Arkansas) which opened up in Cherry Hill recently? It's in the old Bob Evans location on 70E which didn't last very long.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: discndav

                                                          Repopping this to top to see if anyone has gone to whole hog cafe.

                                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                            I went about a year ago and was not impressed. Barbecue was just fair at best, no better than Famous Daves. I usually hit Sweet Lucy's or Fette Sau for barbecue these days, though each has its strengths and weaknesses.

                                                            1. re: carnicero

                                                              Thanks for reply.
                                                              Was it steam table or cut and pulled for each order ?

                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                It's a closed kitchen with a pass-through, so I didn't get a good look at their prep. Seemed pre-sliced and pre-pulled, though, by the texture.

                                                                1. re: carnicero

                                                                  Sweet Lucy's brisket was chopped, not sliced, and came with sweet BBQ sauce. Smokin' Betty was similar. I was most impressed recently with Deke's in Manayunk. Still have yet to try Fette Sau ..

                                                                  1. re: carnicero

                                                                    Went anyway to Whole Hog Cafe, found sides decent, but BBQ tepid in temp and the brisket presliced and for me inedible. Pulled pork was ok as was the cornbread. The ribs were boiled before smoking and were dreadful. Sauces althogh six of them were somewhat similar and the 'hot' one not much hotter than the normal, no return for me.

                                                          2. There was a contestant on the latest season of BBQ Pitmaster from Philly. It's called Fat Jack's BBQ. Has anyone been? Any good?


                                                            14 Replies
                                                            1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                              FYI the Jenkintown location is the former Rosey's BBQ that they purchased. They have several locations all over, including in that Philadelphia suburb, Ithaca NY ...

                                                              I have not been ...

                                                              1. re: cwdonald

                                                                Looks like they have beef ribs on the menu ... and only St. Louis (vs. baby backs.) THAT's a good sign ...

                                                                1. re: MainLiner

                                                                  Reviving a "dead thread" but recently uncovered decent BBQ in Unionville, PA (that's conveniently located not too far from Longwood Gardens if you head out there for the Christmas Lights. The place is called Hood's BBQ and deli and they have good pulled pork, ribs (not at all fatty), and killer pulled brisket. They also have excellent cornbread, beans, sweet potato fries, and homemade baked goods. Hood's also serves BBQ chicken too but much of the BBQ options are only available on Saturdays. http://www.hoodsbbq.com/ http://www.yelp.com/biz/hoods-bbq-and...

                                                                  1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                    Pulled brisket.. that is something I do not hear everyday. Do you like it better than it being sliced? And is it smothered in sauce (one of my pet peeves... ).

                                                                    1. re: cwdonald

                                                                      I actually prefer the sliced brisket they used to serve at Blue Belly but the stuff at Hood's was thickly pulled and juicy. And the sauce was served on the side so you can glop as much as you want on it (see photo below):

                                                                    2. re: bluehensfan

                                                                      OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.Thanks!!! Good Q within 10 miles of home......gotta go check it out!

                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                        I was stunned that the place was there all along and I never heard a thing about it.

                                                                        1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                          This place has been on my list to try for months now...I think it was CindyJ that turned me on to it. I think we may need to make a CH pilgrimage!

                                                                          1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                            I'm not surprised. I don't think I've ever seen any advertising for Hood's. Unless you've got kids who play URA sports at the fields across the road, you might not even notice the place.

                                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                                              Back when I was spending about 6 days/nights a week at the URA ball field ( Usually helping out John and Kathy selling hotdogs while my kids played baseball/softball), I think that was just a corner mini grocery/limited sandwich place. Nice to see someone has made a real go of it and will get out there EARLY on the weekend

                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                I have been there at 6 on Saturdays (they close at 7) and thus far have not had a problem with them running out of food. But I will not push my luck in the future!

                                                                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                  FWIW, I've read about plans to open an ice cream shop near the ball fields, in a historic property right in the "village" of Unionville. Maybe it's already open. Doug Mooberry, world-class woodworker, owns the property and did the restoration.

                                                                          2. re: bluehensfan

                                                                            This is a very good place indeed. Tasty stuff.

                                                                            Looks like a nothing luncheonette from the outside. You have to know its there.

                                                                            1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                              And it's good to call ahead on Saturdays if you're after ribs or brisket because they often sell out early.

                                                                      2. With the revival of this thread, I thought I'd mention that Hood's is presently closed for renovations. They're supposed to start serving out of a food truck in their back parking lot, but I don't know when that will begin.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                                                          Cindy, Thanks for the heads up about Hood's. I bet it saved me a trip this weekend!

                                                                          1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                            It's not immediately clear from their website what their schedule will be, but there's a notation on their calendar that this week (Sept. 9-12) is "Opening week of outdoor Hood's BBQ Trailer."

                                                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                                                              I actually called and the truck is operational. It's in the back parking lot. It's open from 8 AM to 3 PM Tuesday through Saturday. But not late enough for me :(

                                                                              1. re: bluehensfan

                                                                                Thanks for the info, Bluehensfan! Too bad their schedule doesn't mesh with yours.

                                                                        2. Best NC-style barbecue to be had in this area is in your own home.

                                                                          Found King's which ships the real deal from Kinston, NC, when I was overheard at Karma bemoaning the sorry state of barbecue in this town.

                                                                          Have ordered this deal twice and loved everything other than the hush puppies (Baked, not fried. No chopped onion.)