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More on BBQ

I was just made aware of the Philadelphia area locations of a national group of very successful BBQ restaurants; better said pits! Never been or even previously heard of them but here ya go! Any one tried them?

http://www.dickeys.com/our_food/defau...

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  1. Wow. I had no idea they were in the area. I have eaten at a Dickey's once and it was pretty darned good. Much better than Famous Dave's... I'm not so sure it justifies a drive to Norriton though.

    5 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      Remember, Dickey's is a franchise. A place will only be as good as its pit master. There is no formula to franchise in BBQ.

      1. re: bluehensfan

        My wife and I drove around the new Dickie's in Plymouth Meeting, and saw no evidence of wood let alone a smoker. We went to Zacharies a few miles into Norristown, and had our usual great 'cue. You could smell the smoke from the sidewalk.

        1. re: MainLiner

          First of all there are lots of different types of smokers (gas and electric) that allow you to impart a smokey taste without having to have piles of wood. That is to say you can use wood chips, for smoke flavor but not wood for the source of the actual heat. Looking online, Dickey's evidently recommends to its franchisees that they use southern pride smokers. http://www.southern-pride.com/. So I do not think your search for piles of wood is necessarily a tell tale sign of whether they smoke on sight. Whether the quality of the bbq is the same, that certainly is debatable...

          1. re: cwdonald

            I am very familiar with the various means of commercial BBQ preparation including the Southern Pride products. I have seen their smokers gas-fired, but wood-burning. Personally, as long as I have a choice, a prefer to patronize establishment that burn wood on-premise, and where I can detect this readily. To each their own, but my personal preference is to eat a BBQ joints where I know a pitmaster is present, and for their meats to be cooked low-and-slow by traditional means. I am not denigrating a restaurant where I have not eaten, but again, even chains like Famous Dave's and Red Hot and Blue meet my personal criteria.

            1. re: MainLiner

              Can't wait til Jesse's in souderton opens tomorrow. /sniff. sundays and mondays there is no chance of getting his bbq because they are closed. They even have rockin' desserts!

      2. Normally, I would give any BBQ a try, but if they are not smoking on premises, it may as well be at an airport. BBQ does (in general) vacuum seal well. I do that with my own 'cue, but if I'm going out I expect it to be fresh made.

        1. I like Phamous Phil's out here in Evansburg (Germantown Pike between Collegeville and Fairview Village). He's won a few major awards.
          CP

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chefpaulo

            Are they open for lunch on weekends? I grew up in Fairview Village, and still get out there occasionally.

            1. re: MainLiner

              Yes, closed Monday
              Tue - Wed 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
              Thu - Fri 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
              Sat 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
              Sun 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

              Big smoker along side Germantown Pike. Been there once a good while ago. Having had only a couple of items and understanding the inconsistencies of BBQ; I will only say that on that day for those chosen items it was good enough.

              1. re: Bacchus101

                I've been to Phamous Phil's multiple times and have had most of their menu. BBQ preferences are a personal thing, but I can't say that I was very excited by what I tried and I haven't bothered to go back since despite working nearby. Certainly not worth driving out of one's way for. Jessie's is much better in the area (although I still find their over-priced micro-sides mystifying).

                1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                  For me Philly it depends on which sides you order at Jesse's. My friend keeps ordering the collard greens and not eating them. We never finish our food at Jesse's and always get to go boxes so recently I got an inspiration and made some mashed potatoes to go with the collards and advised him to try the loaded fork technique and put half mashed and half collards on his fork. He loved them that way. I love me some collards and I like the slaw but those sides are big enough for me. Baked beans and red cabbage too.
                  Now the garlic mashed is another story. They only seem to have them on fridays but next time I go on friday I will get two orders of mashed and one of collards. And since the tiny squares of corn bread count as a side I'd have to order that too. If the corn bread doesn't just come with I think the squares should be larger. I always take pity on my friend (not John) and give him a bit of my corn bread after he polishes his off. I should probably encourage him to just get two slices when he orders. .
                  I guess I'm so grateful for Jesses that I jget what I want and smile and hand over my money happily. I still miss Barbecue USA and Smoke Daddy's so I'm gathering rosebuds while I may. Err Bbq.

          2. I've been to the Dickey's in Dover. I thought it was just fine. Way better than Famous Dave's or Sonny's. Good for a chain.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sal_acid

              To be better than Sonny's is not too high a bar to beat.

            2. On a less contentious note: all this chat about BBQ had me take a drive to Phamous Phil's in Evansburg on Germantown Pike west just before Collegeville for a second try on the comment by CP. "Closed for a food show!",Monday thru Thursday. The small parking lot had trucks, tents and cameras. Well seems we might have a local TV BBQ celeb among us. Not to be denied a BBQ I set my GPS for Dickeys in Royersford. I will only say this, the free cone of soft serve was refreshing!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bacchus101

                LOL... So what DID you order? BTW, I don't think I mentioned this, but Zachary's always offers customers (especially new ones) the opportunity to taste anything (without a bone) before ordering. I always do this before, and if the brisket were dry (which I have not so far experienced) I would just order something else. I think this policy is more than reasonable.

                1. re: MainLiner

                  Ordered their top of the line Pork Ribs and beans. Tossed most of the ribs and half the beans. If you go just pick up the free pickle and soft serve. The price for them is right!

                2. re: Bacchus101

                  I drove by today and they were actively filming (still an applicable term in the digital age?) in the back. Lots going on.
                  Phil has won many awards and now makes and bottles his own sauces. Stay tuned to see wee Evansburg put on the map.
                  CP

                  1. re: Bacchus101

                    can't wait to hear what that's all about!

                  2. Self-confessed NC Eastern-style barbecue snob here.

                    At lunch one day at Karma while bemoaning there is no decent barbecue in Philadelphia, young man at the bar happened to be from NC and volunteered that it was available online from King's in Kinston, NC.

                    And, boy, is it good!
                    http://www.kingsbbq.com/p-22-kings-sa...

                    PS Dickeys is just sad, IMHO

                    1. Well here is another "pit" in the area! Anyone have a comment on the Rib House in Bridgeport? www.ribhouse.net/

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: Bacchus101

                        Yes, I was there last year. Prices were very reasonable and my BBQ chicken excellent. Can't comment on beef or pork, though. I do not partake.
                        CP

                        1. re: Bacchus101

                          I've been there a few times for blues jams, mostly. It is kind of a biker joint, but pretty friendly. The 'cue was not outstanding, but certainly passable (especially for a bar whose principal purpose is alcohol.) They do smoke on prem, over hickory. The few times I recall eating there they had a "buffet" style offering so the meats were "steam tabled." I think the chicken was my pick of the best. I'll have to try it sometime when I'm not buzzed on Jack Daniels.

                          1. re: MainLiner

                            Let me explain.....I was there in March of 2011 for a night honoring Norristown native Franny Beecher - the last surviving member of Bill Haley and his Comets. Franny was the lead guitarist who did that amazing solo on "Rock Around the Clock." I met him at the Collegeville Diner weeks before and, after having a 90-minute serendipitous Sunday breakfast at the counter with a rock legend, he invited me to his celebration at The Rib House.

                            At 92, Franny is still with us but no longer performing. His performance at The Rib House was likely his last public appearance. I feel most honored to have been there, especially at his personal invitation. I've also been invited to his induction into the Norristown High School Hall of Fame in November.

                            Such events may skew the palate but I will stand behind my endorsement of the BBQ chicken. Yes, there were bikers there, but the ambiance was friendly, consisted of all age groups and everyone had a great time.
                            CP

                            1. re: Chefpaulo

                              I had played with Frannie many times but in a Jazz context. A lot of people don't know he also played in the Benny Goodman bebop band.

                              1. re: Chefpaulo

                                BTW, I realize this is off topic, but Danny Cedrone played the guitar solo on "Rock Around the Clock." Frannie replaced him in 1954 when he died shortly after the song's release.

                                1. re: MainLiner

                                  I knew about the Benny Goodman years but ....Whoa.....I'm still digesting (at least we're using culinary metaphors, Mods). I did not know this. I always thought that Franny's year of joining Bill Haley (1954) and the release date of the song meant that he was the soloist. I have to readjust.

                                  But to have had a 90-minute breakfast with him and hear about the European years and the South American tours was priceless.
                                  CP

                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                    He played Japan quite a bit in the later years. Couldn't imagine him enjoying sushi much, though ... :)

                                2. re: Chefpaulo

                                  CP, ML Interesting stories, thanks for sharing.

                                  1. re: Bacchus101

                                    Ditto. About bbq: back to Jesse's on friday and they did not have the garlic mashed but they did have spaghetti squash with peaches as a side. I liked. After I ordered someone asked about burnt ends and was told they did have them. I didn't see them on the menu or daily specials so it might be a very limited supply. Maybe burnt ends next friday for me. I could maybe have changed my order or added on but my tummy was already set for those wings.
                                    They had a lot of desserts but we did go pretty early. Like five-ish. I got the peach crisp for later and it was tasty.

                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                      Burnt ends (made correctly) are expensive to make. Very low yield once the fat is trimmed off the point of the brisket, and an extra few hours of smoking time+cutting. Worth the price, though, IMO.

                                      1. re: MainLiner

                                        Smoke Daddy used to offer them too. I just hope Jesse does well. Great bbq does not seem to stick around in this area. Almost makes me want to move south. You really would like the smoked chicken CP. They offer a drumstick and thigh or a drumstick included with their sampler. And I love having leftover smoked chicken meat and bones to play with.

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          Oh Carbs, I did. I did sample his fare twice!!! His half-smokers were excellent. I was hoping he'd drag the trailer up here for a few weeks at the Eagle Lodge this past summer and assuage the old fans. But, nay. Daddy must be doing a bang-up down yonder. At least we have the memories to serve as our bellwethers for future assessment. AND...I hope... I can talk Phamous Phil into doing the same with the marinated and smoked half chickens (I've mentioned a few times. He says they dry out.) But he never tried MY recipe...
                                          CP

                                          1. re: givemecarbs

                                            I just drove past the Fairview Diner in Fairview Village today (which had great 'cue a couple of years back.) It had a "One Year Anniversary" sifn in the window right next to the "For Lease" sign. NOTHING lasts in that location.

                                            1. re: MainLiner

                                              Doh. Jesses did win some award for 2013. They had a big banner from the North Penn Distorter.

                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                Reader's choice award if I remember correctly... so it must be scientific and valid.

                                              2. re: MainLiner

                                                This is a surprise. For all the failed businesses that have come and gone at the Fairview Village location, I thought they were doing well. There were always 10 to 15 patrons when I went in and I liked everything I was served - solid diner fare and great milkshakes. The problem was likely being just a breakfast and lunch place that closed at 2:00. It was run by a very pleasant Muslim family. I hope they didn't meet up with any disrespect or intimidation.
                                                CP