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Anyone have experience with RedBones catering?

foodieX2 Jun 22, 2013 07:42 PM

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…

Red Bones BBQ
55 Chester Street · Somerville, MA 02144

  1. f
    foodieX2 Aug 18, 2013 02:19 PM

    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.

    1. davis_sq_pro Jun 24, 2013 07:37 AM

      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
        Boston_Otter Jun 24, 2013 08:17 AM

        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
          Msample Jun 24, 2013 08:57 AM

          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. a
        addiez Jun 24, 2013 05:44 AM

        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. v
          vengefultacos Jun 23, 2013 06:09 PM

          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. s
            smtucker Jun 23, 2013 06:08 PM

            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. jgg13 Jun 23, 2013 01:52 PM

              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
                Gabatta Jun 23, 2013 05:24 PM

                Yup, Blackstrap is way better than Redbones.

              2. n
                newyorker1 Jun 23, 2013 01:09 PM

                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. beetlebug Jun 23, 2013 06:12 AM

                  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
                    teezeetoo Jun 23, 2013 06:52 AM

                    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
                      beetlebug Jun 23, 2013 10:00 AM

                      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
                        teezeetoo Jun 23, 2013 12:35 PM

                        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. c
                    CambridgeFoodie Jun 23, 2013 05:49 AM

                    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
                      foodieX2 Jun 23, 2013 06:03 AM

                      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
                        CambridgeFoodie Jun 23, 2013 06:19 AM

                        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
                          foodieX2 Jun 23, 2013 06:21 AM

                          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
                            CambridgeFoodie Jun 23, 2013 04:04 PM

                            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
                              foodieX2 Jun 23, 2013 04:22 PM

                              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. m
                      momoftwo Jun 22, 2013 08:02 PM

                      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. m
                        Mickav8r Jun 22, 2013 07:47 PM

                        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: Mickav8r
                          folkface Jun 22, 2013 10:09 PM

                          Thats the wrong opinion

                          1. re: folkface
                            foodieX2 Jun 23, 2013 04:49 AM

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

                          2. re: Mickav8r
                            C. Hamster Jun 24, 2013 03:20 AM

                            IMO blue ribbon bests redbones by far

                            1. re: C. Hamster
                              foodieX2 Jun 24, 2013 02:47 PM

                              Catering or in general?

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