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Good BBQ in central jersey

cinnay Feb 16, 2013 04:32 PM

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. f
    fourunder RE: cinnay Feb 16, 2013 04:43 PM

    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
      jnk RE: fourunder Feb 16, 2013 05:44 PM

      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
        fourunder RE: jnk Feb 16, 2013 08:47 PM

        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
          chuck98 RE: fourunder Feb 17, 2013 10:24 AM

          So true

          1. re: fourunder
            chowhounder411 RE: fourunder Mar 8, 2013 02:33 PM

            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.

        2. re: fourunder
          TomDel RE: fourunder Feb 17, 2013 02:12 AM

          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
            fourunder RE: TomDel Mar 20, 2013 05:41 PM

            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
              equal_Mark RE: fourunder Mar 21, 2013 01:11 PM

              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
                ELA RE: equal_Mark Mar 21, 2013 09:39 PM

                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
                  equal_Mark RE: ELA Mar 22, 2013 06:00 AM

                  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
                  jracpa RE: equal_Mark Mar 22, 2013 08:24 PM

                  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
                ELA RE: TomDel Mar 21, 2013 09:41 PM

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

                1. re: TomDel
                  ebchower RE: TomDel Mar 22, 2013 07:06 AM

                  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
                    ELA RE: TomDel Mar 24, 2013 01:20 PM

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

                    1. re: ELA
                      TomDel RE: ELA Mar 25, 2013 11:18 AM

                      I don't know the location but you can watch the video here http://www.frequency.com/video/texas-...

                  2. re: fourunder
                    ELA RE: fourunder Mar 21, 2013 09:40 PM

                    The one in Parlin? Thanks.

                  3. m
                    MarlboroMan RE: cinnay Feb 16, 2013 06:35 PM

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

                    1. j
                      jracpa RE: cinnay Feb 16, 2013 07:49 PM

                      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
                        ELA RE: jracpa Mar 19, 2013 08:52 AM

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

                        1. re: ELA
                          chowhounder411 RE: ELA Mar 19, 2013 11:13 AM

                          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
                            MarlboroMan RE: chowhounder411 Mar 20, 2013 08:11 AM

                            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
                              ebchower RE: MarlboroMan Mar 20, 2013 08:30 AM

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

                              1. re: MarlboroMan
                                chowhounder411 RE: MarlboroMan Mar 20, 2013 08:39 AM

                                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
                                  eapter RE: MarlboroMan Apr 28, 2013 07:16 AM

                                  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
                                  chuck98 RE: chowhounder411 Apr 6, 2013 04:27 PM

                                  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
                                bapjo RE: jracpa Dec 14, 2013 08:28 PM

                                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. e
                                ebchower RE: cinnay Feb 16, 2013 08:33 PM

                                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
                                  bapjo RE: ebchower Dec 14, 2013 08:24 PM

                                  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
                                    The Professor RE: bapjo Dec 14, 2013 08:38 PM

                                    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
                                      bapjo RE: The Professor Dec 15, 2013 06:42 AM

                                      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. t
                                  TomDel RE: cinnay Feb 17, 2013 02:18 AM

                                  I haven't been there but Local Smoke in Cookstown (near Ft. Dix) looks pretty good. See http://www.localsmokebbq.com .

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TomDel
                                    equal_Mark RE: TomDel Mar 19, 2013 10:57 AM

                                    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
                                      gigotz RE: TomDel Mar 20, 2013 06:36 PM

                                      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.

                                    2. corvette johnny RE: cinnay Feb 18, 2013 07:19 AM

                                      Plus one for local smoke.

                                      I dig their ribs and jalapeno poppers!

                                      1. The Professor RE: cinnay Feb 18, 2013 07:39 AM

                                        You're correct to seek something other than Big Ed's (probably almost as 'meh' as Famous Dave's)...

                                        but Brother Jimmy's in New Brunswick does sound promising. Haven't been there myself as yet, but _everyone_ I know who has tried it had very good things to say.
                                        Will visit there soon, and report back.

                                        1. c
                                          camel653 RE: cinnay Feb 18, 2013 01:49 PM

                                          Became a big fan of Jersey Shore BBQ Company in Belmar. Great ribs, brisket, they offer brisket burnt ends, amazing wings, we love the jalapeno honey and apricot habanero.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: camel653
                                            chowhounder411 RE: camel653 Mar 8, 2013 02:30 PM

                                            I second Jersey Shore BBQ. It is probably the best barbecue in New Jersey. They don't do the 'cue competitions (I don't know why) so you're not hearing about them like some others such as Local Smoke, which is good, or Memphis Pig Out, who may actually boil their ribs (SACRILEGE!). The wings are big, full of meat, moist and great sauces. Decadent chilli. I love their rib tips and other great specials. I try other barbecue joints but none match what's going down at JSBBQ.

                                          2. p
                                            pianoboy RE: cinnay Mar 24, 2013 10:22 PM

                                            Not sure where you are, but it might be worth your time just to head down to Sweet Lucy's in Philly. http://www.sweetlucys.com/

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: pianoboy
                                              JustJake RE: pianoboy Apr 28, 2013 08:34 AM

                                              or one could also try Baby Blues BBQ in the University district in Philly. Far superior to either of the Local Smoke eateries.


                                            2. b
                                              bapjo RE: cinnay Dec 14, 2013 05:44 PM

                                              So where did you end up going?

                                              1. e
                                                eapter RE: cinnay Dec 15, 2013 01:17 PM

                                                New BBQ place in Robbinsville. Real Deal, and not a chain. Discussion going on here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922121#

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