Brother Jimmy's Barbecue - New Brunswick
Has anyone tried this place yet? I think they opened in the last month or so.
More than a year ago, the Home News Tribune ran a story that the complex housing this restaurant was now open. I took a ride only to find that it was a hard hat area still well under construction. I left them some nasty comments for irresponsible reporting.
They will probably be hurt by the NHL lockout since a lot of fans get the train in New Brunswick and it would be a place for them to go before or after the game.
I stopped in here tonight. Definitely a college hang out with a staff that seems to be comprised largely of students. I had the signature bbq burger which was really good. The buffalo wings were probably the largest and meatiest I've ever had. It was an appetizer but enough for a main course. I then got a coffee at the new Barnes & Noble next door. Two stories with little floor space allocated to books.
Thanks for the heads up. And yes, it's way better than Famous Dave's.
Thanks for the review. I was in NYC today, came back by train to the New Brunswick station, down the stairs, looked right, saw that Brother Jimmy's was open, contemplated for a few seconds whether I should stop in, but decided to turn left and head for the car.
Next time I will stop in.
Had wanted to stop by Brother Jimmy’s for a while now and had been procrastinating, but a few weeks back, they showed up on Amazon Local with one of those “$20 for $40 worth of food” coupons, and that’s often a sign that a place might not be around too much longer, so figured it might be now or never.
Should have waited until “never.”
As has been said here, Brother Jimmy’s is a “mini-chain.” They have six places in NYC (including in Madison Square Garden) and I believe one in Miami and have a branded presence at Yankee Stadium with a stand and some carts. The original one is in the east 70’s, and perhaps 20 years ago their food at that place was true to their “North Carolina BBQ” focus. Today, their focus is a little different: on their website’s “About” page, the words “Brand,” “Venue,” “Merchandise,” “Condiments and Apparel for-purchase” abound, and the word “food” doesn’t occur once.
The place looks like a great student hangout but I wonder how many students can afford the prices, which aren’t unreasonable for a northern BBQ place, but without drinks and tip, you’re going to spend $20 per person and I’m not sure the college kids can do that on a regular basis. There are two dining areas, both on the large size, and a good sized bar. Jimmy’s is also a “sports bar” to the extent that every square foot of wall space not given over to quaint “BBQ signs” is taken up by TVs showing basketball…
Now to the food. Being by myself, I simply ordered two lunches – one pulled pork sandwich and one southern ribs mini-platter each with a side; in my case, collard greens and mac & cheese, being the two sides that need to be spot-on in any decent BBQ place.
Let’s start with the good news: The collard greens are very good. They have a little crunch, they’re not at all bitter, without being overly sweetened. The pickles, that come with both lunches, are good, and for the same reasons. The pulled pork is mildly sweet with plenty of bark mixed in with the meat.
Okay, a pretty short list. Want a bigger list? Now for the bad news:
The cornbread (served with the ribs) is not overly sweet, but nothing special. You can do the same with a mix. The pulled pork, which while, as noted above, is nice tasting, is missing any smoke flavor. Think “Famous Dave’s.” The Mac and Cheese was grainy, not cheesy enough, and had no more flavor than the stuff out of a box. The “Southern Ribs” (they sell “northern” – BBQ’d and then grilled with a sauce and “Southern” –which are Memphis Dry Ribs) (There used to be a third type, but they seem to have made the “Brother Jimmy’s Dry Rub Ribs” into the “Southern Ribs” and gone to 2 types) were a true disappointment. Somebody needs to explain to the pitmaster (if there is one) that “Memphis Dry Ribs” refers to the lack of sauce – there’s no reason to make the RIBS this dry. It’s really is HARD to make a St Louis rib this dry… Again, no smoke flavor on the meat but a lot of smoke-ring visible, which often means mixed wood in the smoking or even pellets.
The lemonade I had was watery, but not overly sweet (an unexpected plus). The sauces at the table consisted of the three sauces and the one “hot-sauce” [think Tabasco or Texas Pete’s] you could buy on your way in or out (there was no mustard sauce and I know there used to be one – perhaps they realized it wasn’t NORTH Carolina style, or perhaps they had just run out.) The Original Sauce is Memphis-style, not North Carolina; much thicker, sweeter, and hotter than a NC Piedmont sauce or a Lexington sauce. The “Carolina sauce” is an eastern Carolina sauce (Cider Vinegar, hot pepper flakes, and water) with too little vinegar and too much water. The “Chipotle” sauce (yeah, I’m sure you see a lot of THAT in North Carolina) was no hotter than the original sauce; it’s only real difference was that it didn’t have the molassas that the original sauce has.
I want to see more people eating BBQ and if it takes tourist-trap places like this to get them started, then so be it. It’s accessible, the staff is cheerful and pleasant, and nothing here will kill you.
Okay then, that’s my review: “Nothing Here Will Kill You”