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Anyone have experience with RedBones catering?

Looking for BBQ catering and my first choice has a $1600 minimum. Redbones prices are more my budget. Used to live near there years ago and loved them but haven't eaten there since moving to the 'burbs. A quick search showed nothing negative but nothing raving either.

Any feedback would be great…

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Red Bones BBQ
55 Chester Street · Somerville, MA 02144

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  1. Eaten there and have gotten take out but have not gotten the catering. By far the best Q in Boston however.

    4 Replies
      1. re: folkface

        Care to elaborate? Your response is not informative nor helpful.

      2. re: Mickav8r

        IMO blue ribbon bests redbones by far

      3. About 5 years ago my employer had redbones catering. I was on the selection committee, between them and blue ribbon and some other place. We went with redbones and it was excellent. The next year, we went with the the forgettable place, no good. After that, a smaller group at work ordered redbones a couple times, always delicious, more quantity than expected and really good. You will be pleased, I would be willing to bet!

        1. BT's Smokehouse is the best barbecue in the general area.

          The chef is a graduate of the culinary institute of america and a perfectionist as well as uses the highest quality meats. The few times I have dined at Redbones - admittedly I have not been there for awhile - I was very disappointed with the quality of the meat. The downside of BT's Smokehouse is that it's in Sturbridge (about an hour drive from Boston).

          If you are willing to drive to pick up the barbecue - it'd be both outstanding cuisine as well as cost effective. My favorites are the brisket and pork ribs.

          Try it, you'll love it!

          5 Replies
          1. re: CambridgeFoodie

            They were my first choice (love their brisket!) but they have a $1600 minimum which is outside my budget and therefore not cost effective. Throw in close to a 4 hour round trip drive from my house, on the same day of the party makes them not only even less cost effective it's not time effective either.

            1. re: foodieX2

              The minimum that you mention is for full-service catering, correct?

              The list a full pan of brisket (which feeds 75 - 100 people) for $270...not bad. This is the pick up price.

              But I hear you, the drive is a bummer but that brisket is soooo good!

              Have a great party!

              1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                Yup, I need full service catering, not take out. This is so not a DIY event, LOL.

                Still trying to finalize the band, tent and bartenders..

                1. re: foodieX2

                  Sounds like a swank party...I guess it will come down to value.

                  If brisket is your thing (as it is mine) and BT's is a 10 - I'd give Blue Ribbon a "6" and from what I remember, Redbones a 5 or even 4 (I remember it being dry and not well smoked).

                  Let us know what you decide! One other option is to hire a local catering company to do a pig roast...I've never heard of anyone complaining about a pig roast!

                  Good luck!

                  1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                    That was my first thought but they are $$$ and according to Brian at BT's you need at least 40-60 people to make a pig roast worth while. This party won't have more 25-30…

                    Maybe for the next big birthday!

          2. I've never had Redbones catering. But, I did go to a party a few years ago, catered by Blue Ribbon BBQ. My friends were thrilled with the level of service as well as food quality. I'm not the biggest BBQ eater but thought it was fine. It did seem that Blue Ribbon did go above and beyond and there was a ton of food leftover so that guests could bring home leftovers.

            3 Replies
            1. re: beetlebug

              Have you tried M&M Ribs? As you love BT (the best for sure) I think you might find M&M closer to the type of barbecue you're looking for.

              1. re: teezeetoo

                I have tried M&M Ribs. It's been years though. In the mid 90s, when I worked in Roxbury, I went to their truck and the sit down place in Dot. I did enjoy the ribs and the sauce. But, the original Speed dog would always win if we had the time.

                I've never tried BT and don't see myself driving out to Sturbridge for BBQ. But, it's a good option if I have to drive to CT, NY or western Ma.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  you might check them out as they have become more sophisticated than back in the 90s and they cater. i have to say i'm not a huge fan of either Redbones or Blue Ribbon. Soul Fire in Allston is better, I think, though on a day when I must have the pig, any of them will do.

            2. FWIW, Red Bones catered the family picnic event at my college reunion 4 years ago and it was memorably mediocre - the pulled pork was completely devoid of any pork or any other flavor. I was quite disappointed.

              By way of comparison, my favorite BBQ in MA is BT's (really love the brisket) though I also enjoyed Soul Fire during a recent visit. Blue Ribbon is convenient enough to me that I go pretty frequently and find it at least decent, if not as consistently good as it used to be (West Newton location.)

              1. I haven't seen it mentioned but you might check out blackstrap. I've beem at an event catered by them and enjoyed it. Not really a fan of redbones

                1 Reply
                1. re: jgg13

                  Yup, Blackstrap is way better than Redbones.

                2. In the past three weeks I have attended one party catered by Redbones and another catered by Blackstrap. For full disclosure, I hired the Redbones folks for meat only. We ordered a tray of brisket and another tray of pulled pork. Since I really don't care for their sides, I made the five side dishes. The brisket was very dry and needed tons of sauce to be edible. I made a bunch of sauce for the leftovers since the amount of sauce that we were given was a bit miserly. The pulled pork was not great, though not as bad as someone else suggested. Delivery was on time and the food was warm. The whole process was easy.

                  Blackstrap's offerings were ribs, brisket and pulled pork with five sauce options. In my opinion, the pulled pork was the best of the three meats. The ribs had some odd dry rub added after cooking, but were properly cooked. They didn't fall off the bone; instead there was a nice pull to the meat. The brisket was dry since it was pre-sliced. The flavor was nice, but hadn't been smoked long enough to let the fat melt completely. Sides were collard greens, cole slaw and mac n' cheese. The collard greens were not traditional, but actually quite tasty. The cole slaw was a bit under seasoned, but was not a mayo gloppy mess, and it was a relief to have some raw vegetables on the buffet table. The mac n' cheese was just bizarre. All you could taste was the molasses; no cheese, no dairy at all. The food was not kept at "temp" during the event, so make sure that they will bring ice baths and warming stations.

                  Of the two, Blackstrap is far superior. Just don't understand why we can't get decent sides with BBQ in this town! Hope this helps.

                  1. My company has had their catering twice. First time, I guess they went with a deluxe package, because they showed up with a grill and smoker, a tent, the works. I recall it being quite good.

                    Second time around, I guess they had a lower budget... Redbones showed up with a bunch of those rolling insulated boxes full of trays of pre-made food. Service was bit BBQ Nazi... we weren't allowed to dish out our own stuff, we had to have them do it for us (I guess they were worried about running out? I'm not sure). That food was pretty lackluster, since I guess BBQ doesn't travel well.

                    So, maybe the moral is... go big or stay home?

                    In general, I am OK with Redbones, but give a slight edge to Blue Ribbon. I've had better BBQ in the past, but those two are really the only two easily available options I know of.

                    1. I once went to a party with East Coast Grill catering - probably isn't cheap and it's definitely non-traditional, but it was delicious!!

                      1. Commenting just on catering; I'll reserve the question of relative BBQ quality for some other thread:

                        I used Red Bones a few years ago for a party for maybe 25 people. They were extremely professional, showed up on time, everything we ordered was there, there was way too much food (better than not enough, in any case), and they brought insulated containers to keep everything warm.

                        Bottom line: We were very happy with the service and value. If you enjoy the food at Red Bones I would highly recommend the catering service. If you don't, go elsewhere.

                        By the way, regarding vengefultacos's comment: No one from Red Bones stayed around to help serve or anything like that; I'm wondering if vengefultacos's company paid for that particular service?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          I've never used their catering, but I live on the same block as Redbones & have seen them load their catering vans quite a bit; I think they have many levels & options for their catering. I'm 99% sure you can even get them to send an on-site smoker, like they use for their food truck in Copley Sq.

                          1. re: Boston_Otter

                            I've used a variety of BBQ caterers over the years, as Boston Otter points out, there are varying levels of service you can get. On site cooking will cost a fair bit more, both because of the need to haul cooking equipment as well as paying staff. A mandatory service charge can sometimes be included, be sure to get a detailed quote.

                            On site prep can cost more, but for large groups its worth considering IMO. Not only does it add to the atmosphere, but you are much more likely to get stuff cooked fresh. Dropped off 'Q, as others have mentioned, often does not travel well . Brisket and pulled pork can take on a pot roasty/steamy texture.

                        2. Just a quick update. I had redbones cater my husbands b-day party last night. I ordered the trio deluxe which was memphis ribs, BBQ chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket. One the sides were potato salad, mac n cheese, cole slaw, rolls and corn bread. We had one "head waiter" who did all the set up, serving and clean. She was pleasant, polite and very flexible. The party started at 3 and we were supposed to start serving at 4 but the fashionably late crowd pushed that until 5:30.

                          Food was hot, fresh and very tasty. Plenty of sauce on the side and everyone raved. The brisket seems the most popular. I supplemented with a huge garden salad and platters of sliced watermelon.

                          Came in under my budget and we have plenty of leftovers. The only bummer was we didn't think to ask for the sauces so we are making our own for tonights dinner.