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Looking for best BBQ brisket

robslats May 14, 2010 12:08 PM

Hey Hounders. I'm about to relocate to the Twin Cities and am looking for the best BBQ in the Cities - specifically brisket. But I love just about all BBQ. I've had Rooster's in St Paul, Famous Dave's, and I have Big Daddy's BBQ on the list. So any other locations/places would be awesome.

I'm also willing to travel to the burbs and beyond, so any MN or Western WI suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks everyone!

  1. Latinpig Sep 13, 2010 09:47 AM

    Dio not go to Jakes. I ordered their smoked brisket and it was dry and tough.

    1. Db Cooper May 18, 2010 02:36 PM

      Since you say you are willing to travel to the burbs and beyond, I'd suggest 35 going South for 6 1/2 hours. When you get into Kansas City, get off at the Brooklyn Ave exit, take a left, go four blocks and Arthur Bryant's will be on your left. Frankly, that's the closest thing you are going to find to the BBQ you like.

      Too much of what passes for BBQ around here is an insult to the medium. First of all, very few places smoke the meat correctly. Finding a smoke ring at some Twin Cities BBQ restaurants is akin to finding a diamond ring in a box of Cracker Jax

      And then you have the problem that the sauces around here are basically ketchup and brown sugar. That could be because the Twin Cities seems generally averse to anything that tends towards sour and/or hot. I mean, I know people who find mustard too tart for their taste.

      Most of the responses below are correct: Invest in a good smoker and make your own. Develop your own rubs and sauces. Most of the big time BBQ restaurants now ship via Fed Ex if you want to use their stuff. It's not that hard and it is worth the time and effort.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Db Cooper
        LuvsBBQ May 20, 2010 04:35 AM

        I stopped by the Dickey's in Shakopee last week. I was pleasantly surprised by the brisket. You can order it chopped or sliced and it actually had a smoke ring on it. The ribs weren't too bad either - kind of reminded me of the ribs at Bakers. They must use some oak for the smoking.

        Dickey's Bbq Pit
        11631 Fountains Dr, Maple Grove, MN 55369

        1. re: Db Cooper
          kevin47 May 20, 2010 07:08 AM

          The sauces at Q Fanatic aren't sugary at all. Even the honey BBQ is pretty tart.

          1. re: Db Cooper
            KC612 May 21, 2010 12:57 PM

            Not trying to start an argument, but good barbecue a smoke ring does not make....or something like that.

            1. re: KC612
              Db Cooper May 21, 2010 01:41 PM


              I'd agree with you, just because there is a smoke ring doesn't mean the BBQ is going to be good. However, it's usually a sign that you are at least off on the right foot.

              1. re: Db Cooper
                infamousdavid Sep 12, 2010 08:43 AM

                In the case of Brisket, imo, it better have a smoke ring and some bark thrown in to boot.

                Besides my own (which was commercially available) Lone Spur (Better name and place when it was Lone Star Grill & Bar way back...same owners however) is still on track trying to make real texas brisket. Bakers in EP is good yet inconsistent. Q-fan is not even close to authentic.
                I wont argue about "best 'que" as it is a silly argument. nothing is as subjective and regional as authentic smokehouse BBQ. (its all good in its own way if you LOVE 'que)
                now I am not talking minnesota barbecueS (with an s...aka sloppy joe's here in Scandinavia-jello-hotdish land) real honest to goodness attempts at smoked bbq (again minnesota, NOT grilling on the webber) is appreciated even if it falls a little short sometimes.
                brisket fails here as much for not being "fresh" enough north of KC cuz we don't buy it often enough. alot of southern joints have it right when the pitmasters make the days quantity and when its gone...its gone! (till he comes back that night and loads the smoker/pit)
                smoked bbq can be good even w/out the smokering (assuming you have no smoke-ring cuz you are using an electric element smoke box and/or have no true fire) if you understand the flavor profile, texture, cooking times etc...of good smoked proteins.

                1. re: infamousdavid
                  KC612 Sep 13, 2010 07:56 AM

                  Nothing wrong with the Weber as long as it's the WSM. I've got the 22" diameter one and use it year round.

                  1. re: KC612
                    infamousdavid Sep 13, 2010 08:24 AM

                    I hear ya...for home smokin, they work...I have had many commercial and household grills & smokers and if I had money for just one item, I would buy a little green egg. best smoker/grill for the money

                    1. re: infamousdavid
                      KC612 Sep 13, 2010 11:32 AM

                      My next one will be the Primo Oval XL. I just like the shape better than the round and to try to stay on topic they accomodate the shape of a brisket or rack of ribs better.

          2. d
            dougrw May 18, 2010 01:51 PM

            Mr. Barbecue, in Columbia Heights on Central Ave. They have very good beef brisket as well as a bunch of other yummy stuff.

            The place looks like a rundown chain. It's not. The food is actually really good, with even the side items and sauces made from scratch on the premises.

            Mr. Barbecue
            4621 Central Ave NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421

            2 Replies
            1. re: dougrw
              JimGrinsfelder May 19, 2010 10:02 PM

              Is that the new place in the building that was, briefly, a Vietnamese restaurant. It's almost all the way up to Menard's/694, right? I think I saw it when I went up to visit a customer in Spring Lake Park. I gotta stop in there.

              1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                BigE May 20, 2010 06:50 AM

                That would be the one...Central and 46th.


                I still haven't been there, for the record. I'm waiting for the Maplewood location to open. That is only a few miles from my job.

            2. l
              liney714 May 18, 2010 10:08 AM

              Porkers pit at the b-dale club (2100 n dake st, Roseville) http://aesopstable.com has a menu. Tony has competed and won bbq contests for years. i love his brisket the best. Also he nades some awesome chilpotle bbq sauce

              1. b
                BigE May 17, 2010 08:18 AM

                First of all, Big Daddy's doesn't do brisket. The beef ribs, however, are awesome.

                Q Fanatic is worth a look. It won't be anything like the legendary brisket you can get in Texas, but it's the closest thing we've got here.

                While it is worth a try, I would agree with Jim that making your own is probably the best bet.

                1. j
                  JimGrinsfelder May 14, 2010 03:16 PM

                  My advice: Make your own. Nothing here is any good. We're a distant second to what I've had in the Dallas airport.

                  1. MSPD May 14, 2010 12:45 PM

                    You are going to be disappointed with BBQ brisket here if your preference is in the style of the legendary Texas places (e.g. the ones in Lockhart, hand sliced and sold by the pound).

                    Your choices for that style are going to be Rack Shack in Burnsville, Baker's in Eden Prairie, Famous Dave's and maybe Q Fanatic (although I don't have first hand knowledge).

                    Truthfully, the lack of a decent brisket has led me to get my own smoker up and running, despite my woeful lack of free time. The best brisket I've had in MSP was one that was shipped to me from Texas.

                    I'm not saying BBQ is universally terrible here in MSP...but brisket is one of those things that doesn't seem to be understood/offered at all here. As I always say, I hope to be proven wrong.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MSPD
                      robslats May 14, 2010 12:56 PM

                      Thanks MSPD. I do like the Texas brisket and like yourself, I also get some brisket shipped in from Texas. My favorite place is the New Braunfels Smokehouse (www.nbsmokehouse.com).

                      Up in MSP, I have tried the Rack Shack (dry and tasteless), and I may give the others a shot. Thanks for the input.

                      1. re: robslats
                        MSPD May 14, 2010 01:54 PM

                        I'm finding that Rack Shack, as well as my experiences over the years at Bakers, vary depending on the time of day and, in the case of Bakers, how busy it is. Bakers is an outpost of a Texas mini-chain and they know the genre, but they aren't always busy enough so the food can sit in a holding pattern for a long time.

                        Good luck, welcome to MSP and please let us know if you find anything good.

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