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Sep 16, 2010 12:55 PM

Lockharts Vs. Lazy Bones - Suburban Detroit

Delbert McClinton, in the lyrics of a song, listed the few true necessities of Life one of which being nearby “good BBQ”.

An elusive treat in Michigan.

So, here is an unfair( unfair because visited each once, only) comparison of Lockharts to Lazy Bones.

Under the assumption that good BBQ is smoky and moist and slightly charred and never ever dry and sauce is a mere condiment:

Lockharts brisket is slightly juicer than Lazy Bones, though not juicy enough. Did not finish the brisket at Lazy Bones.

Lazy Bones pork ribs are juicier than Lockharts.

Lazy Bones burnt ends are dry(burnt ends should be caramelized and almost sweet with a slight crunch). Did not try at Lockharts.

Lockharts has beef ribs, which was the best of the meats tasted at Lockharts.

Lockharts is much more upscale and pricier and gentrified and the staff young and friendly.

Lazy Bones is more of a dive and much less expensive and their pork ribs are calling to me.

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  1. I also have been meaning to add something about BBQ lately. and

    They apparently are in Cahoots....selling Que made by the Hickory guys and reheated by the Toarmina's crew. I have never bought the reheated Que from Toarmino's but....

    The HickoryBBQ guys have a BBQ Smoker rig that they have been dragging around from Pizza Joint to Pizza Joint and let me say this. They have redefined to me how good BBQ can be. The Brisket is absolutely jaw droppingly grand...every bit had delicious beef juice running down my chin. The Pork Ribs were the finest I have ever had. I wish they would advertise better about when they are pulling up to any place....If you are ever looking to get a party these guys!

    I will stand in the middle of Hail, Lightening and Tornado's for that Que.

    I have yet to get to Lockhart's but I am seriously Jonesing for some BBQ after thinking about some tonight.

    17 Replies
    1. re: JanPrimus

      Thanks for the info on Hickory & Toarmina's. Sounds great! Been looking for really good 'que around here, and have been disappointed thus far.

      Lockhart's is alright. Given their location, which necessitates being hip and cool, they do a pretty good job of trying to preserve the Southern BBQ shack style... but the food is just okay. Pulled pork is decent, sweet potato fries stellar, and burnt ends pretty darn good. But the ribs were disappointing -- dry and nowhere close to "fall off the bone" tender (really had to gnaw at 'em). Pickles and mac 'n' cheese both very blah. Overpriced (tiny little 3/4-cup size of gumbo for $3.29!). Would go again ONLY if: (1) I was really jonesing for BBQ and didn't want to travel any further than 3 miles from home, or (2) I was with a group of people who wanted BBQ in a "scene" type restaurant.

      3700 N Lilley Rd, Canton, MI 48187

      1. re: jjspw

        JJSPW: is Lockhart's any better than the crap that is/was Memphis Smoke?

        1. re: boagman

          Umm, yes, Sir Boagman. Definitely better.
          (be the very first person to read my posting from last MONTH)

          I'm thrilled to hear jjspw's burnt end experience was good, because I plan to try them again. (For ribs, though, I don't necessarily require that they fall off the bone...I just want smoke, and residual intramuscular fat...and no friggin' excessive added flavors that can't first be scraped off so that I can actually taste pork,--or beef!, to hear au lait tell it.)

          1. re: vtombrown

            VTB, I did, in fact, read that post of yours, but you didn't compare/contrast it with Memphis Smoke in that post, either. Just trying to get my expectations in line with reality, you know?

            I've not become *that* lazy! ;)

            Memphis Smoke
            100 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

            1. re: boagman

              First off, excellent summary, VTB. Some of the burnt ends were a tad on the tough/dry side, but that's to be expected with burnt ends, I suppose. The flavor was what sealed the deal -- sweet, but still savory; the sugars slightly caramelized around the outside; not overwhelming so as to hide the flavor of the brisket itself.

              As for the bones, they're dry-rubbed. The rub easily scrapes off, but IMO didn't add excessive flavors. Seemed to enhance the natural sweetness of the pork.

              boagman, Lockhart's isn't even in the same league as the nasty that was Memphis Smoke! :-)

              Memphis Smoke
              100 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

              1. re: jjspw

                I do not even speak the name of that place....

        2. re: jjspw

          I think the travel factor is actually a pretty big deal for those of us living around Royal Oak. Sure, the drive out for Lazybones carryout was worth it when the alternative was Memphis Smoke. But that calculation changes considerably with Lockhart's in the picture even if it's not better than Lazybones.

          I basically agree with everyone's assessment of the food:
          1) pork ribs dry and wanting in tenderness -- flavor not bad though.
          2) "red hot" sausage -- more hot than flavorful
          3) pulled pork and beef brisket were fine; brisket perhaps a little too fatty
          4) sauce options perhaps too similar to each other (with the exception of the Carolina)
          5) I didn't think the mac 'n' cheese was "very blah." It actually had some flavor beyond cheese. I thought it and the fries, pickles, etc. were all fine, but just fine.

          1. re: Leonard Kim

            Good point about the sauces, Leonard Kim. Forgot to mention those earlier. I couldn't really tell the difference between the hot and regular and sweet. They were a bit thin for my liking, too.

            And you also raise a great point about the travel factor. It's not worth trekking all the way to Lazybones if nearly-as-good (or as-good in some respects) is available at Lockhart's.

            1. re: Leonard Kim

              Then there are those, like me, who recoil from the "scene" of places like Royal Oak, Birmingham, and such. Even A2 would fall into the realm, and to a degree, so would something like, say, downtown Plymouth. The whole "see-and-be-seen" thing just doesn't agree with me on the whole, especially when it usually comes at the expense of things like quality, service, and wait times.

              I'm not condemning Lockhart's to live in death or anything, and from what most people are saying, Lockhart's is pretty decent eating...I just don't know that I'm prepared to pay for parking, wait in a long line with idiots who are there just because it's R.O., in a particularly loud place, probably with kids running around, for food that, for an extra 15 minutes of driving, I could be actually *eating*, in a decent atmosphere, with free parking, in a place that's earned their stripes, so to speak.

              I am *not* a part of the bar crowd, and I'm *not* in my early twenties. I do, however, like to eat well, and Memphis Smoke was a problem in just about every one of the areas that I've mentioned. If Lockhart's can solve more than just the food issue, then I'd certainly be willing to say that location might play a larger factor. To me, though, I'd rather drive a bit more for a better overall experience than stay lazy-local and suffer for my choice. To wit: I drove 45 minutes to Neehee's last Friday night from Waterford, and didn't regret my choice one iota.

              "Will Drive For Good Food". Even further for the better overall experience.

              1. re: boagman

                You misunderstand me sir -- I'm assessing Lockhart's strictly from a carryout standpoint. For me, it's call and order, drive 5 minutes, put a nickel in for street parking directly adjacent to the restaurant, pick up food, and drive 5 minutes back. For me, that's a real difference from the 20+ minutes drive to Lazybones (considerably more during I-696 rush hour) and back (even if the parking is free). And it does make a difference to the food how long carryout has to travel before you eat it as well.

                1. re: Leonard Kim

                  Oh, you couldn't be more right, LK, and I wasn't taking carryout into consideration at *all*. Heck, with carryout, you could have all of the goodness without any of the hassle! Good call.

                  1. re: boagman

                    I carried out again recently, and I have to say this time my reaction was, "hmm, maybe the drive to Lazybones is worth it over this." So I guess I'm a bit more down on the place than I was the first time. In addition to the standbys (brisket etc.) I tried the smoked sausage (as opposed to the spicy) and the ham.

                    I should mention that I recently tried Union Woodhouse in Clarkston. Sylvia Rector and Molly Abraham reviewed this place for their respective papers in late 2009, and they both anointed it as among the best barbecue in the area. (And in her recent barbecue roundup a couple weeks ago, Rector ranked it with Slows and Lazybones as "standout.") Maybe I was in a bad mood (the kids were behaving badly), but I was disappointed here too, though I have to admit that the pulled pork was the moistest I've had in the area.




          2. re: JanPrimus

            The address isn't working, sure you have it right?

            1. re: boagman

              That's WEIRD! I swear it worked perfectly fine for me earlier today when I posted my first response in this thread. But now it's not working for me either. Strange.

              1. re: boagman

                He got the addr correct. Seems their web hoster is down. you can view it in the Google cache.

              2. re: JanPrimus

                I should comment on my statement about standing in the Hail, Lightening or Tornado for the Que...I have already braved a electrical storm for it one day.

                I hope I am not tested further :)

              3. went ot lockhart's tonight. here's my take:

                big room. open & airy. you walk in and there is an open pit right in front of you. sausages hanging over the grill. meat on the grates. carving station next to it. smokey smell is present throughout the room.

                checked in around 6:45pm. told it was a half hour wait.

                went to the bar. about a dozen michigan beers on draft - shorts, arcadia, founders, motor city, etc. - love it. high marks.

                the room was busy, but not overbearing. the wait was less than 30 minutes. just being in royal oak is not necessarily a negative. felt like a regular place. not much of a "scene."

                sat down and started with some burnt ends. they showed up quick and they were good. everyone at the table liked them. not too burnt. good smokey flavor.

                dinner: kids got pulled pork sliders and they demolished them. three of us mixed up plates:

                pulled pork - decent, though maybe a bit pedestrian. my wife liked the pork the best.

                brisket - ok. a bit less tender than i like. oddly, there was a smoke ring on just one side of the meat. not sure why.

                ribs - i liked them. good flavor and a little bit (but not too much) of a chew. friend said that she would order them again.

                hot link (ordered as an a la carte side) - i liked it. decent spicy flavor and good texture.


                bowl of corn - pretty good. comes with a small amount of cheese on top. nice flavor.

                potato salad - decent

                slaw - a bit dry. did not care for it.

                okra - expected deep fried slices. it came out as a small omlete. different. ok, but not sure i would order it again.

                cornbread - a bit too sweet for my tatse but others at the table loved it

                greens - waitress said it was a new recipe that was two days old. seemd like a quick saute in bacon fat with some bacon bits and a few onions. i liked it. so did my youngest daughter.

                pickles - set on the table when you arrive. tey ere not as sweet as i expected based on the waitress' description (which is a good thing), but they had a great spicky kick.


                carolina - vinefar based with no tomato/ketchup. good on pork

                sweet - a bit too sweet for everyone at the table

                lockharts - nice middle of the road sacue

                spicy - my favorite. subtle spice but not over bearing

                total bill for three adults and two kids including a round of beers = $76

                good sit down bbq. much better than famous and memphis and 6 miles from home. i like denny's lazy bbq food better, but this was good. we will go back.

                4 Replies
                1. re: xman887

                  Oh, *dude*! I was eating there at the *exact same time* you were! Did you happen to see a single diner in a red t-shirt? That was me!

                  You got to sample a lot more food than I did. I ended up getting the pulled pork and brisket plate, with the potato salad and coleslaw as my sides.

                  I thought that my brisket was actually quite good. Fatty, yes, but I rather liked it. Had good flavor, but I wish it had been a bit hotter, temp-wise.

                  The pulled pork was fine. Didn't make me sing, didn't make me unhappy. It, too, was pretty fatty, and I liked that less so in the pork.

                  The potato salad was fine, but darn it, I've got to say this to the world: ATTENTION, PEOPLE!!!! IT IS NOW TIME TO START PUTTING SOME ONION IN YOUR POTATO SALAD!!!! Thank you.

                  The coleslaw was rather generic, but it passed muster, I suppose. I wish I'd had the greens you described, instead.

                  I didn't really like the Mason jar pickled veggies served at the start of the meal. I ate some of them, yes, but that was mainly due to being absolutely famished, and I would have eaten most *anything*. They were all very, very bitter, which doesn't interest me at all. The only difference, one veggie to the next, was the texture (with the exception of the onion, which offered a tiny bit of sweetness to couple with the bitter). I liked far better the dill pickle slices that came with the plate itself. They weren't anything to write home about, but they were good enough to ask for a few more of, as I finished them early in the meal.

                  The slice of bread was basically useless. Next time, I'll tell them to leave it off.

                  Service was quite good. Though my waitress Stephanie was quite busy, I never felt neglected, and she got everything correct, and relatively quickly. The hostess also told me my wait would be a half hour, and it was probably more like 20 minutes. That's the way to do it, you know...don't go telling me it'll be 15 minutes and have it drag to 20-25...*wrong*. They were handling things pretty well.

                  It's a bit on the loud side in there, but all in all, I wasn't disappointed. They're *certainly* not outdoing Lazybones or anything, but they're dumping all over the crap that was (is?) Memphis Smoke. Parking is still an issue, even early on, but it is what it is.

                  I liked it. I wouldn't go out of my way to go here very often, but I wouldn't refuse an invitation, and if I was jonesing for some decent BBQ, without wanting to travel too far, this would fit the bill.

                  Now let's see if the service level can be sustained.

                  Memphis Smoke
                  100 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067

                  1. re: boagman

                    Nice reviews from both of you! Nice to see a good option in town.

                    I think most places that are serving good bbq have been serving sides that are just "Meh".

                    The one exception is those GODDAMN BEANS at the Blue Ox BBQ in Lake Orion.

                    Knowing Chef Denny's (Lazybones) past experience under Milo's I expect better sides out of him...but his almost seem like GFS pre-done packages. I want some slaw with personality...maybe multiple versions....somewhere I would like either Blue Cheese, Fennel, Apple, Caraway, White pepper, or some other distinct flavor....

                    1. re: boagman

                      sitting at a high top in the bar area? i think i was standing right next to you for about five minutes waiting for our table.

                      i forgot to mention service. our witress was good, friendly, and attentive and the girl behind the bar was very friendly and prompt. they were all pretty good looking, too (added bonus).

                      1. re: xman887

                        Yep, that was me, indeed! Wish I'd known you were there...I'd have introduced myself and told my waitress Stephanie that you were picking up my tab! ;)

                        I, too, noticed that a lot of the servers were easy on the eyes, and that worried me initially, since I was wondering if that meant that they might be lacking in the actual area of *service*. All I can say is that the service from my server Stephanie was more than adequate. Nice to know, yeah?