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Must haves from Blackstrap and Sweet Cheeks BBQ

What are highlights from both spots and how do they stack up against each other?

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  1. blackstrap strategy.

    FRIED OR BBQ CHICKEN FAMILY 4 PACK!
    $19.99 before 6:00PM
    $24.99 after 6:00PM
    4lbs of Chicken cut into 8 pieces,
    2lbs Mashed Potatoes, Garden Salad,
    4 Biscuits + Gravy on the side

    go before six on wednesday.. monster deal. make cornbread at home.

    grab a side of collard greens and mac n' cheese@ 4.50 a pint and youre out for 30 bucks
    will feed six without a problem.

    1. I haven't been to Blackstrap yet. I went to Sweet Cheeks last night. I had the short rib tray, with mac 'n' cheese and the carrot raisin salad. I had a biscuit and a ginger beer. I was v. happy with the whole meal.

      1. Three out of four tries, the pork ribs at Blackstrap have been outstanding. The pulled pork has been spot on, too. I also enjoyed their new version of mac and cheese with smoked onions.

        Avoid the brisket, though. Maybe it just doesn't hold up to the thirty minute ride home, but it's been tough and dry twice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bear

          Agree with you on the brisket - the only item I tried there whih was less than great. Nice folks there too!

        2. as an aside, my visit to sweet cheeks was very good but my dinner ALONE cost more than my recommended blackstrap strategy above.
          it is one of (if not THE) most expensive straight bbq places i have ever been in in my life.
          just so people are aware.

          19 Replies
          1. re: hyde

            I have not been yet. Leaving the prices aside, is it noticeably better than other decent BBQ joints around town?

            1. re: DoubleMan

              Define "around town". W/ the possible exception of the new place in JP I'd say "yes" if one was talking about the immediate Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area but "no" if meant "in the general area"

              1. re: jgg13

                Let's say within 15 mins of Boston (with no traffic) - so the region would include both Blue Ribbons. What joints do you think best Sweet Cheeks?

                1. re: DoubleMan

                  If Blackstrap counts that's the only one I'd definitely put in that category. Blue Ribbon I"d say it'd depend on your opinion of Blue Ribbon. Again, excepting the new place in JP (I've not been there) I can't think of anything else that close in that I'd prefer, speaking purely about teh food & ignoring cost.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    Wait, there's a new BBQ place in JP? Where? What's it called?

                        1. re: L2k

                          Not even technically - heart of West Rox :)

                          1. re: L2k

                            Oops, for some reason I had it in my head that it was JP. I rarely leave camberville much less know anything about JP/Rox/Rosi :)

                2. re: DoubleMan

                  given this criteria, im not sure i will be able to answer to your satisfaction. as a capable home cook who does not take home a lot of money, price is always relevant to me.

                  to wit, the board love for neptune oyster is lost on me as the times i have been there an insufferable attitude coupled with tabs that steal half a weeks take home pay so color my experience there that i can not be objective about the food.
                  when a person at work described a roasted lobster dish at ICOB that sounded intriguing and then reported that it was "only 55 dollars", i burst out laughing. the next day (after a striperguy alert) i went with a friend to the 88 (or whatever it is being called now) and watched him buy TWO four+ pound lobsters for around 60USD.

                  have you seen a 4 pound lobster recently? they looked like they were going to mug us on the way home.

                  i understand that a tasting menu at l'espalier is going to run big dough but the truth of the matter is i just dont care about service that much. if they get the food to your table hot and leave you the hell alone (upsell drives me around the bend) im fine. that said, this is barbeque we are discussing not molecular cuisine.

                  while i want to applaud the possible use of better sourced meat, etc. that this place seems to have made a commitment to, a 30 dollar tray of 'que (or worse, the table next to me 25 dollar plate of beef short ribs which seemed to be TWO ribs) i cant seem to tell that it is THAT much better than food at blackstrap, or even blue ribbon on a good day.

                  i guess i can state that the brisket at BT's in sturbridge blows this one out of the water.

                  so i guess if you have unlimited funds and dont mind a bit of gouging to eat what a good friend used to call "barbeque for white people" in the city. go for it. but for me, ill put some gas in the tank and drive to sturbridge one in a while or take that 30 dollars and eat until i am stuffed in winthrop.

                    1. re: hyde

                      Of course, driving out to BT's would cost me more than the price difference between the two places - so if cost was an object it's cheaper for me to eat at Sweet Cheeks.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        I think the food is much better at BT's. I'm willing to wait when I'm in the Sturbridge area to eat 'cue. And, it is much less costly. The brisket was not good at Sweet Cheeks. It didn't look good, and it was a tasteless slab. My short rib tray, while quite delish, was only 1 rib. It was huge, but it was only one. I couldn't eat the whole thing.
                        Blue Ribbon has burnt ends, which no one else seems to have. We go to the one in W. Newton, so I can't speak about Arlington.

                        1. re: CookieLee

                          You don't get my point. Hyde brought up cost as being an issue, I pointed out that for me it would cost so much to get to BTs that it'd be cheaper for me to eat at Sweet Cheeks. In fact, it'd probably cost me more to get to BT's & back w/o actually eating there than it would for me to eat at SC.

                          We had basically all the meats at SC except for the short rib, I thought the brisket was the worst of the bunch by a large margin. We avoided the short rib as I was afraid it'd be $25 for a single short rib :)

                          Blackstrap has burnt ends, btw.

                          1. re: jgg13

                            The burnt ends at Blackstrap are excellent. ECG does a good version as well, but the rest of their BBQ is pretty average.

                            I agreed with Hyde's post in regards to Blackstrap. It is better than Sweet Cheeks IMO and much less expensive. BT's, while excellent, really doesn't belong on this board geographically (they do get bonus points for their beef jerky by the pound).

                            1. re: Gabatta

                              Yes, Blackstrap is both better and cheaper. If one wanted to limit things to the range of the T, IMO sweet cheeks (so far) has been the best I can recall coming across.

                            2. re: jgg13

                              I totally get your point. You can make the case to eat at Sweet Cheeks. I'm saying since I don't make cue part of my regular diet, I'm saving my cue calories for BT's.
                              We will give Blackstrap a try, check out their burnt ends, ty.

                          2. re: jgg13

                            what about east coast grill? i like their cue.

                            1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                              I liked SC better than ECG, although I've never been a huge gan of ECG's BBQ. I don't dislike it, but I don't love it either.

                              I'd also make the point that ECG isn't exactly the paragon of a value destination itself - their main platter is pushing $20 the last I checked.

                    2. The salt and pepper potatoes at Sweet Cheeks were amazing. Nothing else really stood out.