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Good Southern Cuisine / BBQ in Providence/Patwucket, RI

  • g

The title says it all. I discovered BBQ, Ribs, Pulled Pork and the like coming to the us. I am now moving to Providence and I would like to find out a place to eat those things. I know that "you cannot have southern food north than some river" and the like, but could you guys suggest good southern-like places in the area?

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  1. As a displaced Texan, I can tell you the pickens are slim. Take a look at http://pigtrip.net/ for the whole NE

    1. LJ's BBQ on East Ave in Pawtucket (just over the line from the east side of Providence) is your best bet for now.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RIRider

        Best bet it may be, but please lower your expectations. I had a bizarre sandwich there. It was called pulled pork on the menu, but it was hunks of meat, almost no sauce, strange pasty coleslaw, and the sauce on the table was good, but nothing I'd call barbecue sauce (and I know there are many kinds-- this was none of them. I hope my experience was an off day. I haven't been back to check.

        (And my barbecue bona fides are that I grew up in Virginia, eating Carolina-style barbecue. Food of the gods, with juice down to your elbows.)

      2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/713132

        United recently closed to my great dismay. I wasnt a fan of LJ's in my 2 visits.

        For bbq in RI the list for me is:
        1. Smokey Bones
        2. Rick's Roadhouse
        3. LJ's
        4. Wes's

        It's quite sad that a chain top's the list but their Q is very consistent and fairly tasty. Rick's is also decent but not quite as consistent. I hope United's owners get things together and reopen!

        7 Replies
        1. re: joe777cool

          Yikes! I know the pickin's are slim but Smokey Bones and Rick's Roadhouse? Holy Smokes. LJ's isnt by any means good, but it's better than those two. If you're from texas i'm sorry but almost all the "bbq" over here is not up your alley. If you want grilled beef ribs wes's is your best bet.

          Red Fez has some good pulled pork and "southern style" dishes. But their menu changes pretty often so i can't say for sure. I'm from BBQ country as well and if i were you i'd just drive to brooklyn and eat at fete sau.

          1. re: greatscott11

            Wes's is only good if you need the rims removed from your vehicle. Their food and service has fallen so far Im suprised they are still in business.

            LJ's fell flat on my two visits, Ricks isnt bad, but I hold firm that Smokey Bones is the best of RI's sorry lot. United was clearly the best in RI, but it close a little bit back - and even then United was mediocre compared to Q I have had in other parts of the country.

            Smokey Bones is still choice one when I have a hankering.

          2. re: joe777cool

            Having BBQ in New England is much like expecting fried clams in the Carolinas.

            1. re: Clams047

              I disagree. Good q can be found all over New England, just not in RI. Its not like we dont have local quality meats or wood for smoking.

              1. re: joe777cool

                Problem is, do any actually smoke the meat? I've tried BBQ in at least a dozen places in New England. Not once would I ever want to return.

                Ok - I'll bite - name a place that would actually stay in business if located in the Carolinas (or TX for beef brisket).

                Wilsons in Fairfield, CT is about the best I've found, but also found their sides to be seriously lacking. KC rib shack in Manchester, NH was perhaps respectable, but $45 for two at lunch? (Their sides were also seriously lacking, especially the sweet, overly sugared, fried corn muffins they try to pass off as hush puppies.)

                Gold standard for me is the Georgia Pig in Brunswick, GA - perfection for pork BBQ as well as Brunswick Stew. (Their other sides are also quite excellent.). Whenever we find ourselves traveling down I-75, (perhaps once / year, if lucky) we make the detour to see if it's as good as we remember. It always is.

                Bodacious in Longview, TX is my gold standard for beef.

                1. re: Clams047

                  Kc's, Wilson's, and Blue Ribbon are 3 that come to mind. Im not saying that what we have in New England is as good as what one would find in Texas, KC, or the Carolinas, Im just saying that there are some options where you can get a respectable plate of Q whereas you would be less likely to get fresh lobster/clams in the heart of Texas purely due to geography.

                  1. re: Clams047

                    OOPS - make that the SPEEDY PIG in Fayetteville, GA as my gold standard for perfection in pork BBQ& Brunswick stew.

            2. I haven't been BUUUUUUUUUUUT I hear Becky's BBQ in Middletown, RI is very good.


              Personally, I really like Smoke House Cafe in Newport, RI -- it's the kind of place that uses Kobe beef for their beef ribs, but I've had a few really great meals there (and a few mediocre).

              2 Replies
              1. re: brokentelephone

                Only been to Becky's once - once was enough - nothing in common with southern BBQ.

                It's a trip from Providence, but I did recently find Kit Kats in Pawcatuck, CT (just over the Westerly border) to be quite excellent. They actually smoke their meats, unlike most NE BBQ. Don't expect much ambiance, but do expect outstanding BBQ and sides at a very reasonable price. FAR superior to anything I've found elsewhere in NE.


                1. re: Clams047

                  this looks like a fun drive for an outing. think this will be on my summer list! thanks!

              2. Clams - thanks so much for the tips, went to Kit Kats today and loved it! RI is dead space for BBQ especially with United closing.

                Beware, if you are going for ambiance, dont bother. We almost drove by because it looks more like a house than a restaurant. There are 5 tables total and everything is served in red plastic baskets. The prices were dirt cheap, portions were modest. Food was VERY GOOD...we tried: cornbread (low light of the meal - kinda dry), pulled pork (smokey and delicious), brisket (very good), fresh cut fries (bbq seasoned, cooked with onions which I loved), and ribs (they brought out 3 on the house when we explained it was out first time there). They make 4 sauces in house, 2 of which I loved (sweet/tangy, sweet/sour), one my fiancee loved (kick it up a notch), and one mustard sauce that neither of us tried.

                The service was excellent, the owners waited hand and foot on us and catered to our every need. They talked to us about opening up the location, how he smokes his meats, ingredients in his sauces, where he gets his meats from....etc. They really care about their food and customers and it shows. I hope they make it, please give them a try!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: joe777cool

                  Glad to hear you enjoyed Kit Kats. We found it to be a real treat / an unexpected gem.

                2. It's a drive from Providence/Pawtucket, but Oak Hill Tavern in North Kingstown might be worth a shot. I don't eat pork, but they have great bbq chicken and there is definitely a lot of smoking going on there. You can smell the smoker from outside the place! It's very casual.

                  1. BBQ in RI not really. One chance is on July 21-22 at the hot air balloon festival there is a Kansas City sanctioned BBQ competition with about 40 plus teams from all over competing for cash prizes. More than likely there will be some nice smoked items there along with some tips for the home bbq cook.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Frank Terranova

                      The balloon festival looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for the tip. Do you know if the public gets to eat any of the BBQ from the contestants? That would be worth the drive from the Cape if so.

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          Hungry and Cape Cod Guy,
                          I will email the promotor and see if they are selling their products after the competition I will get back to you ASAP when I know plus I will email you the competition so you can track them and see if they have web sites. Think of it RI the next Red Neck Capitol of BBQ

                      1. Firstly, Southern Cuisine is an oxymoron. Maybe some of the top New Orleans restaurant excepted. Southern Cooking is a much better term. BBQ is a regional product but probably best classified as Southern Cooking although KC is not really in the south. Texas BBQ is different from SC BBQ which is different from Tenn. BBQ. RI BBQ? I don't think so. RI smoked meat, grilled meat...OK.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: LiberalCarolinian

                          I believe you cant find a good BBQ place in RI although LJ's wasnt bad. There is no such thing as RI BBQ. IMO Oaklahoma and KC is the best.

                          1. re: Frank Terranova

                            frank,you need to go to lockhart Texas!!!!!i liked Ljs in the past,havent been in awhile.Oakhill tavern was pretty awesome,but havent been in a few....

                            1. re: im hungry

                              Wish I could lump on a plane and go. I do coporate work for a large smoke house company from Oaklahoma and I am a senior Kc bbq judge and love bbq. I have been all over the place with this company and actually teach cured and smoke foods at school. I love brisket and baby back racks mostly. My daughter is a pulled pork NC style but brisket is the best IMO. Texas doess do it best Went to a place up on the Oaklahoma pan handle called Bad Brads this place was so origional that the company drove 2 hours like its was 15 min in RI hardly any cars but lots of horses and ATV's so they could round up loose steers. the food was unreal and when I asked for BBQ sauce they almost wanted to string me up they boudhe huge piles of pulled pork and slices of boring white bread you should have seen these homies chow down.Now all this take on BBQ now I will have to fire up the smoker and go nuts this weekend.

                          2. re: LiberalCarolinian

                            BBQ is a southern food and southern cuisine is an oxymoron? Huh?

                            BBQ is indeed regional, yet certainly not limited to the south. Yes, Texas, Tn, and Carolina's have very different types of Q, but so does St. Louis, Kansas City, and Chicago. All delicious. All different. None exclusively southern in the least. This is not to say that good BBQ is available in RI, but let's not be snobbish about regional specialties.

                          3. Apparently we are making progress in Southeastern Ct.
                            Kit-Kats was my only Father's Day request!
                            The ambience is that its a house- The place should be on "Triple D".
                            As we get our favorite dish on birthdays and mothers/fathers day, and although my wife doesn't cook, she is very willing to get "take-out", and Kit-Kats is always my choice- Pulled pork , collard greens and baked beans are excellent.
                            I don't really understand the difference between their creamy cornbread and their sweet cornbread. I thought they were similar Chesters in groton is very good as well.