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Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse BBQ


monavano
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I've wanted to try Sweet Lucy's Smokehousefor some time now, and it did not disappoint.

Outside, there is plenty of off street parking. Lucy's catering truck marks the spot, and is surrounded by hickory wood. Your olfactory affirms this as you get out of your car and the smoky air wafts up your nose.

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The restaurant, an old warehouse space, is light and airy with a touch of kitsch. The large windows allow plenty of warm light in and are augmented with hanging wash basin "chandeliers". There are tables and wooden booths which are spaced comfortably.

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Entering Lucy's, we were faced with several signs displaying the menu and specials.

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After ordering at the counter, we filled our soft drinks and found a booth. In under 10 minutes our name was called and Mr. MV brought our orders ,in styrofoam containers, to the table.

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For under $6, you can get a sandwich and 2 sides. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and coleslaw. Mr. MV got a pulled brisket sandwich with mac and cheese, corn bread and collards. We split an order of 4 ribs (for investigative purposes and to be thorough, of course )

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The moist pulled pork was a combination of shredded and chunky meat (including a couple burnt ends). The beans were absolutely delicious because they mingle with a generous amount of smoky pork. The coleslaw was fresh, crisp and creamy while not being too sweet. The corn bread was moist and tasty, with a bit of crunch from corn meal.

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The brisket, also moist, retained an assertive beef flavor. I'd skip the mac and cheese as it was flabby and not cheesy enough. The collards were quite good, but could have been sent into greatness if they were cooked with a ham hock, which I did not detect. Instead, the collards have a nice tang and heat from crushed red pepper flakes.

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The ribs were tender, but not falling off the bone. All had a beautiful smoke ring.

A special note is the brioche-type buns which the sandwiches are served on. Lucy's could have easily skimped on the bun and used the ubiquitous kaiser roll found in Philly.

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The meats come dressed with Sweet Lucy's bbq sauce and you can help yourself to more of the same, or Carolina style vinegar sauce. I found that adding the vinegar sauce (also with red pepper) cut the slight sweetness of the bbq sauce nicely. There are pickles, pepperoncini and sliced cherry peppers also available at the condiment table.

Note: Sweet Lucy's is about 10 minutes north of Center City, on I-95. Take the Cottman Ave. exit and make a right at the first light onto State Rd. Sweet Lucy's is 2 blocks up on the left side.

Edited by monavano (log)
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In under 10 minutes our name was called and Mr. MV brought our orders ,in styrofoam containers, to the table. For under $6, you can get a sandwich and 2 sides. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and coleslaw. Mr. MV got a pulled brisket sandwich with mac and cheese, corn bread and collards. We split an order of 4 ribs (for investigative purposes and to be thorough, of course  )

The moist pulled pork was a combination of shredded and chunky meat (including a couple burnt ends).

Burnt ends?

Now I've got to try this place.

The meats come dressed with their Texas style bbq sauce and you can help yourself to more of the same, or Carolina style vinegar sauce. I found that adding the vinegar sauce (also with red pepper) cut the slight sweetness of the Texas sauce nicely.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, sweetness is a characteristic of Kansas City, not Texas, sauce, but then again, there's nothing that makes this exclusive to KC. Nonetheless, it is more closely associated with KC 'cue than Texas 'cue. (In his recent foodblog, in fact, Kent Wang noted that the best-known places in the Texas BBQ belt serve their meats without any sauce at all.)

I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, and in many ways I am still a student of barbecue in every sense of that term, but I'd be inclined to challenge the pedigree of the sauce on those grounds alone.

There are pickles, pepperoncini and sliced cherry peppers also available at the condiment table.

Here are some pics on flickr. I'm sorry they are mingled with my pics from Port Richmond. I'm still learning how to use it.

http://flickr.com/photos/11055869@N02/show/

Those ribs look mighty promising.

Note: Sweet Lucy's is about 10 minutes north of Center City, on I-95. Take the Cottman Ave. exit and make a right at the first light onto State Rd. Sweet Lucy's is 2 blocks up on the left side.

ahem

Nearest SEPTA service: Bus Route 70 from Fern Rock Transportation Center, Broad Street Line, or Bus Route 84 from Frankford Transportation Center, Market-Frankford Line, to State Road and Bleigh Avenue. The restaurant is one block further north.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I probably assumed it was Texas sauce because they called the brisket 'Texas" brisket and it came sauced. I was a little surpirsed that all the meats were with sauce already, as I know that's blasphemous in some parts due south. The q sauce was tomato based with a good balance of sweet and tang. Definitely homemade,not your KC Masterpiece gloop. Actually, looking at the online menu, I can only see that they call it "bbq sauce".

Yeah, the ribs...how 'bout that smoke ring!

Thanks for the public transit info too!

Edited by monavano (log)
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I probably assumed it was Texas sauce because they called the brisket 'Texas" brisket and it came sauced. I was a little surpirsed that all the meats were with sauce already, as I know that's blasphemous in some parts due south. The q sauce was tomato based with a good balance of sweet and tang. Definitely homemade,not your KC Masterpiece gloop.

Don't get me started on that KC Messterpiece gloop.

Most Kansas City 'cue joints serve their meats sauced, so even though you were served Texas brisket, it sounds like the proprietors engage in some BBQ fusion. (Edited to add: Similarly, burnt ends are also closely associated with Kansas City.) Whether or not they're aware they do, given how they came into the 'cue life, may be another matter entirely.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Update: I changed the original pic link to shutterfly since Flickr was kicking my ass:

http://monavano.shutterfly.com/action/pict...e21b353173084b1

Wow, we tried Sweet Lucy's recently (since we now drive into town thanks to SEPTA's almost 100% fare hike in family fares. Aside from great cornbread and chicken, the other stuff we tried (ribs, pulled pork, greens, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and baked beans) were just so-so. And the sauce that day seemed like tomato paste. Perhaps we hit it on an off day?

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Update: I changed the original pic link to shutterfly since Flickr was kicking my ass:

http://monavano.shutterfly.com/action/pict...e21b353173084b1

Wow, we tried Sweet Lucy's recently (since we now drive into town thanks to SEPTA's almost 100% fare hike in family fares. Aside from great cornbread and chicken, the other stuff we tried (ribs, pulled pork, greens, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and baked beans) were just so-so. And the sauce that day seemed like tomato paste. Perhaps we hit it on an off day?

Wow, that sounds very different from our experience. We're not pro's, but being in Virginia where bbq has a bit more presence, we were wishing we lived a little closer!

Maybe it was the timing. We were there on a Sunday afternoon.

Edited by monavano (log)
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I probably assumed it was Texas sauce because they called the brisket 'Texas" brisket and it came sauced. I was a little surpirsed that all the meats were with sauce already, as I know that's blasphemous in some parts due south. The q sauce was tomato based with a good balance of sweet and tang. Definitely homemade,not your KC Masterpiece gloop.

Don't get me started on that KC Messterpiece gloop.

Most Kansas City 'cue joints serve their meats sauced, so even though you were served Texas brisket, it sounds like the proprietors engage in some BBQ fusion. (Edited to add: Similarly, burnt ends are also closely associated with Kansas City.) Whether or not they're aware they do, given how they came into the 'cue life, may be another matter entirely.

I know you're very talented in the kitchen, Sandy (great food blogs). Have you tried The Barefoot Contessa's bbq recipe? It's a lot of ingredients, but it makes a generous amount of excellent sauce.

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Update: I changed the original pic link to shutterfly since Flickr was kicking my ass:

http://monavano.shutterfly.com/action/pict...e21b353173084b1

Appears that slutterfly is doing the same kicking. A password is required to just view them.

SW used to be just a truck in the parking lot. High quality 'cue that we would eat a few blocks away in the park. Haven't been back since she got "walls". Looks like it's still good.

Dum vivimus, vivamus!

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Update: I changed the original pic link to shutterfly since Flickr was kicking my ass:

http://monavano.shutterfly.com/action/pict...e21b353173084b1

Appears that slutterfly is doing the same kicking. A password is required to just view them.

SW used to be just a truck in the parking lot. High quality 'cue that we would eat a few blocks away in the park. Haven't been back since she got "walls". Looks like it's still good.

I'm gonna upload to eG. Technology kicks my ass some days!

Edited by monavano (log)
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Have you tried The Barefoot Contessa's bbq recipe? It's a lot of ingredients, but it makes a generous amount of excellent sauce.

Is there anything she left out of the sauce? Talk about BBQ fusion -- it's all the major styles rolled into one!

Which probably makes it very intriguing. I will have to make some. I'll post a full report when I do.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I've been enjoying Sweet Lucy's since they opened their brick and mortar in Northeast Philly nearly two years ago. And while I've had much better 'cue in the South, for Philly, this place is the bomb.

One thing you should all know about is that SL's started an AYCE buffet back in March on Monday nights only, running from about 5:30 to 8:30. IIRC, it was about $17 or $18 for the trough.

The buffet menu changes from week to week and not all the regular menu items are served on Mondays but I never saw anyone walk away complaining. Last time I was there, the entrees included pulled pork, shredded brisket, smoked salmon, smoked sausage, baby backs, chicken and beef ribs.

Smoked Salmon is usually a Friday night special and is really good. The sausage is a regular menu item and is addictive (think smoked Keilbasa). Beef ribs are a sometimes special and not their best dish IMO. Alas, missing that evening were their regular ribs which I prefer to baby backs. They served all of their traditional sides, lots of their homemade cornbread (Yankee style) and their wonderful homemade rolls.

There are a few nods to the fact that it is in Philly -- there is garlic in the mash and the cornbread is sweet -- but this place is every bit as good as anything else the Northeastern part of the country has to offer. I honestly haven't had better 'cue north of the Mason-Dixon line.

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  • 1 month later...

The moment has come at last! I will be headed up there with a passel of Phillybloggers in about 30 minutes.

Of course, I'm taking my camera. Full report afterwards.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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  • 5 months later...

Sweet Lucy's offers an all you can eat buffet on Monday evenings from 5 PM - 8:30 PM. This coming Monday, March 17th, AKA St. Patrick's Day, they are adding smoked corned beef and cabbage to the menu.

Found out when I stopped by this afternoon for a brisket sandwich. Still quite good. Though the dining room was fairly empty there were six people ahead of me waiting for takeout. Most walked out with one or two shopping bag fulls of barbecue.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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  • 1 year later...

Finally got here for lunch today and was very pleased. I usually shy away from baby backs since I frequently find they lack sufficient quantity of meat. Not these, and the meat fell off the bone easily. Also had the shredded beef (excellent) which I vinegared up with the NC sauce. Slaw was good and the beans supreme. I don't like my cornbread as cakey and sweet as SL's version, but it was excellent example of the style, since it was very corn-y tasting.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Didn't know SL's served baby backs.

Those you usually don't find at Q joints. Spareribs, yes -- whole racks, half racks, St. Louis-style, or just a few on a combo platter. But baby backs, no.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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