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Boston Area Barbecue Restaurants

Just ate at Lester's BBQ in Burlington last weekend. While I usually go for Kansas City style 'Q', I must say that Lester's puts out a mighty fine meal. We shared chicken, brisket, sausage, and chopped meat. They were all nicely smoked, moist, and the portions were more than adequate. The sides worked, and the sweet tea topped it all off. It was still a little too cool to eat outside, but I imagine that tables get quite busy during the warmer months. I like the atmosphere and the wait staff/help were both friendly and knowledgeable. We will definitely be heading back to Lester's!

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  1. Lester's makes the only good brisket in the area. Nobody else even comes close.

    22 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      Absolutely - moist, flavorful. and not too fatty. They do a great job of carving it.

      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        I stopped in to sweet cheeks last night to check on their brisket. Having just returned from a bucket list trip to Lockhart this past weekend the taste of Smittys Blacks and Kreutzs is fresh in my mind and the smell is still haunting me.

        I have to say the brisket was legit. It's sliced too thickly it's true. But Tiffani is taking her cue from Lockhart and I was not SORELY disappointed. I really feared I'd be ruined now.

        The biscuits are as good as the hype too. Washed down with a nice tea infused whiskey smash and I was happy to see that I don't need a plane ticket to scratch this itch.

        I know many of y'all will skewer me for this but Iiked it. A lot.

        1. re: yumyum

          yumyum, so glad you finally got to Lockhart! Smitty's is my favorite but they are all great. I will have to get to Sweet cheeks although Smitty's and company have spoiled me as far as price and atmosphere go. However your insight is enlightening. I keep failing to add the cost of the plane ticket to the overall cost of lunch in Lockhart! (:

          1. re: yumyum

            OK, I'm finally convinced to give this place a try kicking and screaming in my self righteous way. Hope that the big three in Lockhart lived up to billing. I trust they haven't cleaned off the blackened walls at Kreutzs Market.

            1. re: gourmaniac

              FYI: Smitty's is the original Kreuz Market ( some kind of divorce or family rift resulted in the change of name) and definitely has the blackened walls. You will see them when you purchase your meat. The new Kreuz is a large open place but you will also see the pits there. Black's is more like a restaurantt with counters and the pits are in the back. A visit to all will be a very cool experience for you. If you are in the area ofr more than a day, consider a drive to Taylor (which is not too far) and try Louis Mueller's as well.

              Keeping on topic though, I am still interested in trying the brisket at Sweet Cheeks.

            2. re: yumyum

              Hey, yumyum,

              Thanks for the report. With trepidation, I posted in the long Sweet Cheeks thread that the brisket may have been our favorite taste of the evening, although the biscuits were also killer. The brisket was thick for sure, but juicy and tender and beefy. We loved everything, with maybe the pulled chicken being our least favorite.

              I still have to give Lester's brisket a try. I'm a fan overall, and Jenny Ondioline doesn't give out praise lightly.

              1. re: bear

                I agree that Jenny is a true maven which may be because, iir, she is a true Texan? I am hoping she tries BT's Smokehouse in Sturbridge which is my new favoriete NE b'que spot although too far for regular visits.

                1. re: Northender

                  agree on BT's. It's the best brisket I've had outside of Texas. It's even better than Arthur Bryants. Jenny by the way is male and is indeed Texan or at least spent time there. RE Kreuz's. I guess it has been that long since I've been as I remember the original (now Smitty's).

                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    I have a vist planned tomorrow to Ms 9's family tomorrow and it looks like BT's is only a few miles out of the way. Besides the brisket, any sides that stand out. I'm sure we'll back up the truck with takeout ribs, pulled pork, etc.

                    1. re: 9lives

                      Onion rings. Onion rings. Onion rings.

                      Did I say: onion rings?

                      1. re: hondodog

                        Thx..The whole menu looks great. Very psyched after reading the comments on the board.

                      2. re: 9lives

                        I'm a slave to the brisket reuben. And the fries. The sweet tea. The pecan pie square. Lordy!

                        1. re: 9lives

                          I always get a pound of the mild beef jerky to go.

                          1. re: 9lives

                            Made it to BT's today..wow! best brisket I've had including a long ago trip to Arthur Bryants, (haven't been to the TX greats)excellent pulled pork and mac n cheese. Got rack of ribs to go for later..just no stomach space for a lot of sides, Saw the spare ribs on another table and looked great. Also shared a beef rib bone..girl said they were $10.75 and worth it. She was right..fantastic!

                            Hounds nailed this one...exceeded my already high expectations.

                            Keep this one to yourselves..:) but the young woman at the counter told us they are looking into a Boston food truck..there may be lots of larger clothes in my future.

                            Cambridgedoc, it should all hold up well for an hour. .though I packed in in a cooler.Pulled pork I usually microwave..something with a bark/crust, like ribs, I like to finish in the broiler. Brisket, not sure yet, but probably mw unless someone has another idea.

                            1. re: 9lives

                              wow, thank you 9; great news for my q 2 weeks red meat allotment.

                              i looked at the best BBQ places at boston.com; this was the closest, I believe, to Boston/Cambridge

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                Broiler made for dry ribs. MW worked well for everything else. Fortunately, plenty of leftovers to experiment with..:) BTW, brisket far better than the original Sonny Bryant's in TX.

                                I'm not a newbie to bbq, just most of my experience is in SC; Sweatman's, Dreamland, Wilburs..and home done. Never gotten the beautiful texture/flavor that BT's gets on brisket. Carolina's is pork not beef.

                                BT's really excels across the board..

                                O rings and more sides next trip.

                                1. re: 9lives

                                  Glad you made it there 9lives. I agree that BT's is much better than both Arthur Bryants and my memory of Sonny Bryants (from 1986) but not up to the one Lockhart place I've tried. That is high praise indeed for on New England joint. I've not tried any of the deep south places (Dreamland Sweatmans) so can't compare. BT's also smokes it's own sausage and bacon in case you were interested. I thought the sides I've had were pretty good but not game changers. I didn't try any of the fried things figuring I'd hit the threshold on aorta blockage with the meats.

                                  1. re: gourmaniac

                                    9, I went to Arthur Bryants in 1980 after reading about it from Calvin Trillin, long before Boston had any barbecue. Got there around noon time, stood in line, and met Arthur himself. I told him what brought me there. He smiled and gave me an Arthur Bryant mechanical pencil with a cow on top. Had delicious barbecue, brought ribs and sauce back to Boston. I got to show the pencil to Calvin Trillin some twenty years later and it brought back fond memories for both of us.

                              2. re: 9lives

                                Wow glad you agree about the brisket. it was smokey and delicious and I wish I had some right now!

                                1. re: 9lives

                                  Just had a three meat plate at B.T.'s and it was meh...ticulously prepared, and had possibly the best brisket I've ever had. Nice bark on the short rib and brisket, and the rubs really penetrated all the meats (I've had some perfectly smoked meats before that didn't have a lot of flavor). Sides were all excellent, we had the mac n' cheese (pretty sure I tasted gruyere in there) the potato salad, and cole slaw. We had the andouille bites for an appetizer - damns, they were good. Next time will take advantage of the byob. I get the sense from the other posts I've seen about bt's that they are consistent, so I will definitely be back.

                              3. re: gourmaniac

                                Yep, both a boy and a native Texan (family from HC, born and mostly raised in panhandle). And yeah, the reason I don't include BTs as "Boston-area" is that it's just too much of a trek out to Sturbridge to use it to fulfill a sudden brisket craving.

                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                  Sorry for the gender confusion but not sorry for BT's rec great brisket!

                                  Love your posts so keep them coming.

                      3. Love Lesters. I regularly choose it over Blue Ribbon Arlington - I'm halfway between the two in Burlington. If you go, you must try the collards. They are the tastiest, best cooked I've ever had including time living in Coastal North Carolina where collards are on every menu. I get Lester's brisket every time, and usually the pulled pork as well. The pulled chicken is sometimes dry/light on flavor and the ribs are consistently good, but not great. Don't bother with the spicy sausage.

                        Guess I know where lunch is coming from today.

                        1. Glad to hear some good words for Lester's. It's on my way home from work so take-home is pretty frequent. Waiting is not so bad with a frosty $2 PBR, either.
                          Gotta mention their side of homemade pickles. Mmmmmm.
                          Also, on Friday evenings they have a small show 'n shine for local rods in their lot.

                          1. While I suppose Sturbridge doesn't count as Boston Area, BT's Smokehouse down there is absolutely phenomenal.

                            5 Replies
                              1. re: CookieLee

                                Just stopped at BT's last night , getting enough for both dinner and a lunch today. At about a minute off the intersection of the MA Pike and 84, it's easy on/off it you're in the neighborhood.

                                Nice deeply smokey flavor brisket, mmmm.

                                1. re: Msample

                                  i go to nyc frequently; i wonder about stopping and bringing some BTs home; how to reheat? what will be fine after a 1 hour trip home?

                                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                    We also make the trip. In the winter, we just put the food in the trunk, and it's totally fine. In warmer weather, you just need a cooler and some ice. The ribs are easily reheated in the oven, at 350 degrees, for about 15 minutes. The brisket, I've done in the oven and microwave. We also try to time the trip home so we can have dinner at BT's, and bring some home.

                                    1. re: CookieLee

                                      Cookie, how long do you heat the brisket; should i get both the ribs and the brisket?

                            1. Had two great meals at Sweet Cheeks. The bloody mary's are ridiculously delicious. I love their ribs. The first time I had sandwiches, pulled pork and brisket and our waiter told us to each get a rib just to try them and they were awesome. Fun place.