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Blue Ribbon BBQ - Newton vs. Arlington

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After a summer full of home barbecueing (not just grilling), I'm starting a little personal BBQ tour to see how I stacked up and how other places do their ribs, shoulders and briskets.

Anyway, I ate at the Blue Ribbon in W. Newton tonight. I enjoyed it - sides of baked beans and cucumber salad were very, very good, as was the cornbread. I got a triple combo - brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Mixed review from me; the ribs were pretty good, but all the meats really lacked any discernible smoke flavor and, similarly, had no smoke ring...that beautiful pink layer just at the edge of legitimate BBQ. I took a good look around the open kitchen and saw nothing resembling a smoker or wood barbecue. There were just a few Blodgett convection ovens. I even walked around behind the building after my meal to see if they were cooking outdoors but saw nothing.

Does anyone have any insight on this? Does the Arlington branch do things differently (I've never been)? Is it possible that they're doing "fake" bbq - cooking slow and low in the oven?

Finally, I know this subject has been exhausted, but here's my pretty short list of places I plan on going: Blue Ribbon Arlington, East Coast Grill, Soulfire (StriperGuy strong praise), Pit Stop, M&M

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East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Blue Ribbon BBQ
910 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

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  1. Best BBQ I've had this year is in Sturbridge, BT's BBQ. Awesome ribs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: trufflehound

      oh yeah, BT's rules!!! From the minute I saw the ribs, I knew I was in for the best rib experience of my life. And, they travel well from Sturbridge to Boston, so we could share the love.

    2. Blue Ribbon smokes their food for the restaurants and their catering business at a central commissary in Newton. They just reheat at the stores.

      I think Firebox in Bedford is worth checking out. They do a particularly good job with chicken. They smoke inhouse and are happy to give you a tour of their equipment.

      I smoke quite a bit, too, so I'm interested in hearing your assessment of the local bbq scene.

      1. My spouse recently ate @ Soulfire, and reported that sadly they had gone downhill from when they first opened. I'll be interested in yr review of the place.

        1. I would also recommend checking out the saturday afternoon only barbecue at Formaggio Kitchen, cambridge. I was sl. disappointed by the baby back ribs, but the pulled pork and brisket were outstanding. Planning a return visit next saturday.

          tb

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          Formaggio Kitchen
          244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138