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Apr 18, 2014 07:26 AM

How to spot bad BBQ

Now I feel better after suspecting the meat at the mall BBQ was boiled at some point.

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  1. One doesn't get real BBQ in a mall, period. Fun article.

    1. Have to agree with "falling off the bone ribs" Terrible thing to do to ribs.

      There are good barbecue joints in strip malls however. There are a couple Oklahoma Joe's that are in strip malls. Even better than OK Joe's is Brobeck's also in a strip mall.

      I'm sure there are real barbecue joints that serve sauce on the meat as well.

      8 Replies
      1. re: chileheadmike

        I distinguish between strip centers and malls. BBQ is possible in a strip center, probably to the dismay of neighboring tenants, but usually outdoor space beyond the demised premises is considered to be a common area which a tenant could not permanently occupy with a smoker and woodpile. In a mall, not possible.

        1. re: Veggo

          Probably won't find this in a strip mall.

          1. re: grampart

            Probably won't find that in the United States!

              1. re: grampart

                Been there, back in the 80's and 90's! Good memories.

                1. re: grampart

                  I've never been to Salt Lick but I remember back when the place was showcased in the 80's on Great Chefs of the West. Her secret ingredient in the BBQ sauce was the peach juice left from the canned peaches used in the cobbler. Nothing went to waste there. Funny. Some things you never forget.

                  1. re: miss_belle

                    The Great Chefs series was excellent. I remember a woman who made a Chile Relleno on GC of the West. Battered, deep fried, and oozing cheese, it got me to visit New Mexico. Same with my visit to Le Ruth's; saw it on GC of NO for the first time.

          2. re: chileheadmike

            I'm used to being asked if I want wet or dry or just given dry with an array of sauces available, never sauced before service.

            Wouldn't visit or re-visit a pre sauce place.

          3. Interesting - the article you linked notes that one of the ways to spot bad BBQ is:

            If eating the barbecue doesn't require your central and lateral incisors (and the meat could be sucked, with just a little effort, through a straw), the restaurant is boiling and/or steaming the meat first and grilling or broiling it to finish, which gives brisket, ribs, and pulled pork the appearance of being cooked over flames. Properly cooked ribs may pull or tear clean off the bone, but they should never slide off.

            And yet on a related article for "Best BBQ Joints in America"


            The first place listed, Fat Matt's Rib Shack in Atlanta, GA, is noted for their "fall-off-the-bone ribs and moist BBQ chicken."


            6 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              Ha! Nice catch. I wonder how that came about.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                You can also get fall off the bone, which is not always bad, buy wrapping the ribs in foil. I cook a lot of ribs in my WSM at 225 -250 and wrap after 2 hours. If I don't they get too smoky for my taste. You do have to be careful and not let them cook too long in the foil or they will become mush and that's no good. After foiling I like to unwrap and cook them for another 30 to 45 to give them a nice bark.

                But I think you're right these guys are boiling or steaming and that's just an abomination.


                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                  Yea, fall off the bone doesn't necessarily exclude real BBQ. I too use a WSM, they still have some texture, but you can pull the bones right out if you want.
                  That said, here is S Texas, you have to carefully to look to find real BBQ, most is not. Smoke ring is the real telling sign.

                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                    BBQ or smoked meat isn't supposed to fall off the bone, just shrink up it a bit and be tender.

                    Fall off the bone is for braises, not BBQ.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Food is for being made the way you like it regardless of what someone else says.


                      1. re: JuniorBalloon

                        I think however you like it is how you should make it. I just don't think what's been described is actually typical of the practice of bbq.

                        But of course, eat what you like.

                2. The best BBQ is the one that you personally like eating... personally, the more tender the meat, the more I like it. And the sauce is the key... the only really 'bad' bbq is the one that tastes like they got their sauce direct from Kraft.