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Feb 16, 2013 04:32 PM

Good BBQ in central jersey

Hi,I want to take my husband out for a birthday dinner to a BBQ restaurant. Any suggestions for central jersey area besides Big Ed's? Thanks

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  1. I've never been to one, but I've heard the Ribs are good at Texas Roadhouse. Are you looking for Brisket or Pulled Pork as well?

    Have you considered Dinosaur in Newark, or is that too far? There is also the Grub Hut in Manville.

    15 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      I've been to both "Grub Hut" and "Dinosaur BBQ" in Newark. While I don't think either one is great barbecue, I think Grub Hut is much better. I was truly disappointed in Dinosaur. There's "The Smokehouse" in Somerville that is by far better tan either of the other two.

      1. re: jnk

        I find BBQ...even in the best of places have consistency problems. I recently went to The Grub Hut with friends who hit the place once a month regularly once a month on AYCE night. Following their lead, I ordered the same. the first rack came out and was fair at best. Seconds and thirds come in the form of 4 rib sections of ribs. The 2nd and 3rd portions were excellent.

        I have not yet been to Dinosaur....but I'm sure I will one day. If not in NJ then in NYC,

          1. re: fourunder

            The ribs are Dinosaur are SKINNY. When I went, the meat was nearly entirely bark. I actually respect this more though than the pathetics ribs most "barbecue" places in New Jersey are serving that make me wonder if they even saw a smoker.

        1. re: fourunder

          Texas Roadhouse was just featured on "Unwrapped" and while their ribs may be good they're not smoked. They're cooked low and slow and then finished on a grill.

          1. re: TomDel

            Thanks for the info.....The one probably responsible for creating the popularity of Barbecue Rib Restaurants was Tony Roma's.....they used Pizza Ovens, the ribs were stacked on edge, the pan filled halfway with water and the exposed meat was covered with sauce...then the pan was covered with foil.....finished on the grill as well.

            While I enjoy smoked meats, not all do and think the pink meat is undercooked....I guess those are the ones who prefer meat that falls off the bone and you don't need any teeth to eat them...

            1. re: fourunder

              While Roma's ribs may be tasty and the chain may be popular and widespread, their cooking method does not constitute BBQ, and that term does not appear on their menus or literature.

              1. re: equal_Mark

                Agreed. Personally, for my tastes, likes, etc. -- I was never a big fan of their ribs, but apparently the chain is popular. Been around a long time. Regardless of whether or not it's "BBQ" or "smoked" or whatever -- I was just not a fan,

                I see places that say "BBQ" and they are not. That doesn't bother me as much as whether or not I like the food. I get that it's not accurate "advertising" and if they are truly misleading people (as opposed to trying to create interest, a brand, etc.), perhaps some view that as a problem or a fine line.

                1. re: ELA

                  Had been subscribed to several BBQ email lists and followed a number of competition teams for years, and their back and forth about what constitutes "real" BBQ could get ornery to say the least. Personally, at a minimum, there has to be some element of wood smoke involved, and it should be distinguished from grilling on a high heat.

                2. re: equal_Mark

                  Regarding Tony Roma's, while they may not be traditionally barbecued, they were welcome sight for me during a 6 or so month period about 15 years ago when I was spending alternating 2 week periods in Singapore. The food in Singapore is great, lots of Asian variety for sure, but after a few days of eating Chicken Rice, Hot Pot etc, Tony Roma's was a nice place to go for some good western style meat.

              2. re: TomDel

                Did they feature the one in Parlin? Thanks. Sorry I missed it.

                1. re: TomDel

                  I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to chains. I don't expect a whole lot, but Texas Roadhouse is subpar.

                  1. re: TomDel

                    TomDel...did you happen to see which location they featured? Thank you.

                    1. re: ELA

                      I don't know the location but you can watch the video here

                  2. I like Local Smoke in Neptune, which has been discussed on here. There is also Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar.

                    1. You may also want to consider Brother Jimmy's in New Brunswick. I've only eaten there once, the brisket was very good.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: jracpa

                        Heard a few good things about this place...thanks.

                        1. re: ELA

                          I was surprised by the good barbecue ribs available here. I agree with Pete Genovese that they are better than Dinosaur - the ribs are bigger though not as heavily smoked. Unfortunately, Dinosaur ribs were nearly all bark and no meat. It's not the best barbecue in New Jersey (Jersey Shore BBQ, Finks), but it's pretty good and there's nowhere within an hour of New Brunswick even trying real barbecue. Non-barbecue dishes succeed such as the fried chicken and even seasoned string beans. Sauces that accompany any dishes are good. Everything here seems to be good - decent barbecue and the rest of the menu is something like a step up from say Houlihans. New Brunswick personifies the phrase "lipstick on a pig" to me and I think receives attention for its dining because of the thoroughly complete lack of any decent food within 25 minutes in any direction with the exception of the Indian stuff in Edison but Brother Jimmy's is a worthwhile visit for above average barbecue and comfort food.

                          1. re: chowhounder411

                            Here's something a little strange.. there's an independent buffet in Linden, known as the Southern Smokehouse. I've been there several times.. it's quite decent, for a buffet.

                            Now, there's this guy with a blog, all he does is review buffets. So recently he posted an updated review of the Southern Smokehouse, but noted they had recently added a smoker, and that the ribs are actually decent... so, essentially, all you can eat barbecued ribs for less than $15? And that's within an hour of New Brunswick. :)


                            1. re: MarlboroMan

                              Never knew about this place despite often stopping at the Starbucks for coffee.

                              1. re: MarlboroMan

                                I'm rarely in this area but when I am I usually go to Stash's, maybe I'll stop here one time. FYI, Brother Jimmy's has all you can eat ribs on Sundays for $20 but the first time I went they stopped running it because they got slammed earlier in the day and were running out of ribs for later dinner services.

                                I found this amusing: "I know out there there are the readers who say 'fried food - terrible!' and are thinking there is nothing here for them." On a blog about buffets...

                                1. re: MarlboroMan

                                  Stupid, stupid me (again...) I pass this place every single Wednesday night on my way to play blues in juke-joint less than a mile away from it, and I've never stopped in because it LOOKs like a cheesy, chain buffet. Never did my research, never found out it was an independent...
                                  If anybody can think of a better combo than bbq and blues, I invite suggestions, but I know exactly where I'm going this next Weds night.
                                  Usually I stop at Bill's BBQ, a two-bit shack on Randolph Ave in Carteret on my way to the club; Bill's stuff is okay, but while it's cooked low and slow, I'm not ever sure it saw any smoke. Hopefully the Southern Smokehouse can be its replacement.

                                2. re: chowhounder411

                                  Grub Hut is 15 or 20 minutes away and pretty good. Ol West BBQ and the guy on 31 are 30-40 minutes and both worth it. Next time you're in NB skip the fancy downtown places and hit a neighborhood spot. The lower the rent the better the food.

                              2. re: jracpa

                                Brisket at Bro Jimmy's was moist. However, the quality of the meat was not so good. I mean most places would use at least Restaurant Depot packer Select or Choice. But Jimmy's was not using a good cut of meat. But of course, most ppl don't know the difference and will think it was good!

                              3. I liked Brother Jimmy's in New Brunswick, but it felt like a college hangout and I haven't been too anxious to return.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ebchower

                                  Really really? You liked Brother Jimmy's in NB? That is not good Cue. Famous Dave's and Jersey Shore BBQ are good for Central/South Jersey. Haven't been to Local Smoke, so I don't know.

                                  1. re: bapjo

                                    Wow. There you go...different strokes. Haven't tried Bro Jimmy's yet, but can't say I'd vote for Famous Dave's. Gave it a couple tries and just didn't find it to be very good. Better than NO "Q" though, I suppose. That sauce he smothers the meat in has to go, though. Not good.

                                    1. re: The Professor

                                      I usually judge a place by their brisket and then the ribs. Went to Dave's twice, first time so so, but the next time I had their brisket for lunch and it was surprisingly good. Consistency is a big issues at most joints.

                                2. I haven't been there but Local Smoke in Cookstown (near Ft. Dix) looks pretty good. See .

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TomDel

                                    The Local Smoke Cookstown location is celebrating their 2nd anniversary this month. Not gonna drive all the way out there, but may have to visit the Neptune place for dinner soon!

                                    1. re: TomDel

                                      Been to the Cookstown location. Ribs were good, the brisket also. Poppers excellent as always and the fried mac n cheese was very tasty. Nothing else in the area that rates near Local Smoke.