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Yer Fave BBQ Spots!


Bluehensfan
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While a comparison bbq run seems like it might be lots of fun, I lack the capacity to consume prodigous amounts of food...however, please continue documenting your important work

Philadining is a trained professional; as he says, amateurs should fall back on the leftovers option.

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While a comparison bbq run seems like it might be lots of fun, I lack the capacity to consume prodigous amounts of food...however, please continue documenting your important work

Philadining is a trained professional; as he says, amateurs should fall back on the leftovers option.

noted and agreed and yes leftovers are a good thing.

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We went to Jimmy's last week. The brisket was good, though perhaps a little dry and not as ... intense as the genuine article. The pulled pork was very good, so were the ribs, though they were on the firm side.

The bacon 'appetizer' OTOH merits abundant praise and the beans on the side were also very good. Collard greens were OK, mac & cheese decidedely not.

On the whole, I think I preferred Lucy's.

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I think we all agree that you can get acceptable bbq in PA/Philly/etc. But if you're ever heading down I-77 south towards Charlotte on a Wednesday or Friday, take the Statesville exit and visit Port-A-Pit for the best Pork ribs you will ever gnaw on. They don't need it, but the spicy, slightly vinegary red sauce is excellent too.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=509

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I think it's really interesting that reactions are so diverse. I'm confident that there's day-to-day variation in the product, maybe even hour-to-hour or rack-by-rack, brisket-by-brisket, butt by butt. Then there are personal preferences, and as I mentioned above, the likely unreliability of our memories...

So, oh darn, more testing will have to be done! And I'd certainly like to hear from more people.

From my recent visits, in my opinion, Dante's is way out in front.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Stopped by Jimmy's today with my vacationing 10 year old. We've had our share of BBQ and grilled meats in our travels both locally and remotely, and we were very pleased with the whole expereience.

We had the brisket sandwich and the pork rib platter with sides of beans and collard greens and a bit of cole slaw. The meats were nicely seasoned with a good balance of smokiness and saltiness. Of course there was the nice smoke ring pictured above on the ribs. Everything was tender though I would say just a bit dry with a nicely carmelized crust on the ribs with sufficient moist fat to balance. The beans were nicely seasoned, not too salty, though not as firm as I prefer. The greens were not cooked to death, and they had a marked sourness which worked well. Cole slaw was very good with no off taste whatsoever, and I would have like some more.

And Jimmy...he makes that place glow! I must say that there is nothing like being under the care and feeding of a BBQ fanatic who knows and lives real BBQ. Jimmy personally checks in with each table, seeking opinions and comment, and he is rightly proud of his operation there.

We definitley rate this as very good, and we will be back with the wife and older child, hopefully soon.

As for Dante's.... YOU ARE NEXT, and I can hardly wait!

Amazing to think how, just a few years ago there was little to no REAL BBQ in this area(we'd make our own and drive the Route 40 Mays Landing toward the shore for somethings resembling BBQ), and now there are several decent places. I think all the great beer caused this! :biggrin::biggrin:

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few random comments:

--Had the occasion to dine at Devil's Alley a few weeks ago (when the carpenters weren't picketing) and was underwhelmed. The ribs tasted grilled, not smoked. The sauce was OK, though. (The carpenters were picketing because the owners are using nonunion labor on their forthcoming restaurant @ 11th and Sansom. Despite my experience at Devil's Alley, I will probably give the new place a try when it opens.

--Sounds like I need to head out to Dante's soon -- looks like a worthy successor to Dwight's, which was (is still?) in that same area.

--Of course, I'm sensitive to mislabeling when it may involve my hometown; the battle against the "New York strip", I'm afraid, is lost, but I note another growing misusage that it may be too late to nip in the bud:

"St. Louis-style ribs."

Inasmuch as the term is used to describe how they are cooked or seasoned, it is wildly inaccurate: St. Louis has no native barbecue tradition -- the city's big contribution to common cuisine is Steak 'n' Shake. The term refers to how the ribs are prepared for cooking -- rather than being cooked in a whole slab, as they are in the cross-state city that does have a native barbecue tradition, they are partially separated before cooking.

In terms of preparation, the differences between Kansas City-style and Memphis-style ribs are quite small; the chief distinguishing feature is the sweeter taste of KC BBQ.

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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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Bluehen,

Come check out Bebe's Barbeque in the Italian Market!

Now I am biased, as I've been helping Mark Coates (Owner) out in the kitchen and with some guerilla marketing.

That's right Y'all, I'm in the BBQ world yet again! Still opening softly, working out the new smoker, space etc. But I think its good, those Smoked Joint boys taught me alot about BBQ.

This is much smaller operation, mostly to go right now till the Lunch counter is finished. North Caroline style, menu changes daily, but the basics are there, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Mac & Cheese, Collards etc.

Most of the recipes are from Mark's Grandma BeBe, some are from Aunt Tweensy, and a few are his nanny, Lucille's.

No website yet, but there's a fan page on facebook

9th & Kimball, Closed Mondays

Firehouse BBQ is the best by far in the area if you ask me: Firehouse BBQ

I still miss the Smoked Joint! Famous Dave's is OK (and a chain). Tried Sweet Lucy's and was very underwhelmed (but I am sure there are a number of fans out there for Sweet Lucy's) except for the great cornbread.

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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went to jimmy's for dinner last night. i got the pulled pork platter, hub got the brisket. i thought both were really delicious. i'm a big fan of NC vinegar-based bbq and his vinegar sauce was very tasty on the pork. hub's brisket had a nice crust on it and was moist. i REALLY liked his baked beans. As stated, the mac & cheese was pretty average, but it was better with some tabasco sauce on it (which is how i eat it anyway).

jimmy stopped by our table and i was asking him about the ribs. he brought us out a rib a piece so we could try it. the dry rub was spot on and the ribs didn't need any extra sauce.

glad it's so close to where i live and work!

"The perfect lover is one who turns into pizza at 4am."

Charles Pierce

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I stopped by Dante's on friday and was not in the mood for ribs for lunch, so I picked up a pulled pork sandwich... top-notch... not dried out, excellent smoked flavor, and a nice blend of hot/mild sauces.

I belch, therefore, I ate...

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I've been driving by Dante's (no accent, I think) for the last few weeks, but never stopped by; I pegged it for a parboiled-ribs kinda joint, and until I saw Phil A.'s report, didn't get it together to try them.  I'm glad I did!  The St. Louis ribs are very tasty.  Too much sauce for my liking- makes it hard to taste the meat- but the texture was very good.  I'll get them Memphis-style next time and see how I like them that way. 

N.B. that Dante's is in a less than lovely section of Lancaster Ave., and there's no place to sit down in the restaurant, so you'll want to take them home (or eat them in the car, as I did.)  And two layers of bulletproof glass at the counter just adds authenticity.  But it's most definitely worth trying.

I have already commented on the growing misuse of the term "St. Louis-style ribs." Consider this another warning.

Now that I think of it, I may have been to this place in a previous incarnation.

Fixing another omission:

Nearest SEPTA service: Trolley Route 10 (City Hall to 63d and Malvern via Lancaster and Lansdowne avenues) to 48th and Lancaster.

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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There seems to be a pretty widely-accepted definition for St. Louis-Style ribs, having to do with a particular style of trimming spare ribs, as described here.

And there seems to be at least a vague definition of St. Louis Style Barbecue as described in Wikipedia.

But more importantly, those are terms that Dante's uses to discriminate between two very different styles of ribs. What they call St Loiis ribs are the larger, meatier spare ribs, trimmed to a uniform size, with the membrane removed, and basted with sauce. What they call Memphis ribs are dry-rubbed baby backs.

It has so far been the consensus of everyone I've eaten with that the St. Louis ribs are clearly superior, at least at Dante's.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I've been to Dante's twice, each time having a half-rack of the very saucy, but not in a bad way 'cuz it's damn good, St. Louis ribs. Once it was the wide end, the other the other. Both times the meat nearly fell from the bones.

I've also had both the brisket and pulled pork sammies. I preferred the latter as a better fit with the sauce, but the beef was no slouch with its crunchy edges.

It's not far from home, so I can call, drive over for pick-up and return with hot stuff. It's also close to the Mann, with that season approaching.

Charlie, the Main Line Mummer

We must eat; we should eat well.

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There seems to be a pretty widely-accepted definition for St. Louis-Style ribs, having to do with a particular style of trimming spare ribs, as described here.

And there seems to be at least a vague definition of St. Louis Style Barbecue as described in Wikipedia.

But more importantly, those are terms that Dante's uses to discriminate between two very different styles of ribs. What they call St Loiis ribs are the larger, meatier spare ribs, trimmed to a uniform size, with the membrane removed, and basted with sauce.  What they call Memphis ribs are dry-rubbed baby backs. 

It has so far been the consensus of everyone I've eaten with that the St. Louis ribs are clearly superior, at least at Dante's.

It was the former I was thinking of. I read the Wikipedia article after making my prior post. After reading it, I will allow that they do barbecue in St. Louis, but I still maintain that the city lacks the barbecue history, tradition and culture of Kansas City. (Not to mention the molasses in the sauce -- though my favorite Kansas City sauce, Gates', eschews that ingredient completely; their "Sweet & Mild" sauce is a late addition to their product line, and their regular sauce is tangier, tarter, and a little more peppery than people have come to expect from Kansas City sauce.* I prefer their Extra Hot myself. You can order it online from Gates' Web site.)

It's been my understanding that St. Louis-style ribs are so called because they are trimmed and separated before smoking, not because of the sauce or cooking method itself. Kansas Citians smoke ribs in whole, untrimmed slabs, which are then either sold whole or cut in halves ("short end" and "long end"). The chief difference between Memphis and Kansas City ribs is that the latter usually have a touch of sweetness to them, either from the sauce or the rub (in which brown sugar is often used).

But I will allow that some of my reaction springs from wounded hometown pride. As with the strip steak, barbecue has a very close association with my hometown -- it's usually mentioned along with Texas and North Carolina as the places barbecue pilgrims must visit, and the official sanctioning body for barbecue competitions has Kansas City as part of its name. And here everybody's talking about St. Louis. Sorry, but that hurts.

*I noticed at the Super Fresh the other week that the store brand barbecue sauce comes in Original, Bold, Hickory, and Kansas City Style. Sure enough, molasses was one of the ingredients -- but (as was the case with Wegmans Kansas City Style barbecue sauce) high fructose corn syrup was the second ingredient listed. I passed on buying it.

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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Tried a take out brisket platter from Bebe's for lunch today. Good stuff! Brisket was appropriately smoky and tender. Side of cole slaw was zingy and yummy. My side of corn was a little dried out, but I suspect that it was a victim of steam table violence. They were almost out of collards so I got a little taste on the side. Really good, definitely cooked with some sort of porkiness in it and still just a bit al dente, not boiled to mushiness, which I hate. Sauces on the side were tasty, but I wish I'd had more. Thumbs up for Bebe's. I'll definitely be stopping by to check out ribs and pulled pork in the near future.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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They were almost out of collards so I got a little taste on the side.  Really good, definitely cooked with some sort of porkiness in it and still just a bit al dente, not boiled to mushiness, which I hate. 

Katie, the greens are actually vegetarian, no porkiness in the recipe, though pork-y flavor..hmm chalk that up to Tamara's fabulous ways...too bad the corn was dry, thinking of trying a method where we can keep the husks on.

There'll be ribs & pork tomorrow!!!!!!

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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They were almost out of collards so I got a little taste on the side.  Really good, definitely cooked with some sort of porkiness in it and still just a bit al dente, not boiled to mushiness, which I hate. 

Katie, the greens are actually vegetarian, no porkiness in the recipe...

Seriously?? Awesome. Aside from magical mystery porkiness, the al dente-ness is what got me. Texture was perfect.

I loved that the corn was grilled, but I just don't think that it's meant to sit in a steam table like that after cooking. Honestly, I'd be just as happy if you were lifting the corn out of a pan of hot water. It might be a tad overcooked, but it would still be juicy. If you had melted butter on the side that could make up for a multitude of sins...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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We dropped by Bebe's on saturday afternoon to see what they had. They were just about out of ribs, but we snagged a quarter-rack, just for a taste.

gallery_23992_6529_32494.jpg

They seemed a little over-done, because the meat had pulled pretty far back off the bones, and was on the dry side. However, it was still quite delicious, and even though the rub was pretty overpowering, it gave an interesting flavor, and had created a nice crusty bark. I'm not sure if they'd been cooked too long, or whether it was just a side-effect of being held, we DID get pretty close to the very last rib, but it was interesting that despite any problems, they were very tasty, and we happily gnawed those bones clean.

They had a good pink smoke ring, and exuded a pleasing smoky aroma. In fact we were eating them on the street, and someone actually stopped and asked us where he could get some of that! The smoke flavor was overwhelmed by the rub, so we wondered how they'd be a little less-seasoned, but we still liked the whole package pretty well.

We also tried a pulled-pork sandwich, which we liked quite a lot.

gallery_23992_6529_317356.jpg

The first few bites showed only sauce, a tangy vinegary, tomatoey concoction that's common in the western part of the Carolinas, we were told. They do have a non-tomato version if you're an eastern-style zealot... So I was a little disappointed with it at first, because although it was a tasty sauce, I wasn't detecting much character from the pork. But a few bites in, an interesting thing happened: the smoky, meaty flavor of the pork emerged, and got in balance.

Nick Nichols talked about the roll at Bebe's in his recent column in the Inky and I think it's a perfectly appropriate roll for this sandwich. This kind of basic hamburger roll stays out of the way, and nicely mops up the juices, but has enough structural integrity to remain intact. Plus, Bebe's toasts it, which is nice.

That's about all they had left on saturday afternoon, so we didn't get try sides or any other meats, but we did like what we had, so we'll surely be back for more.

We like the food, and we got a really nice vibe from Mark and Tamara, they seem like super nice people, so here's some tough-love:

You need to be open more.

You need to make more food. It's great that you're busy enough that you're running out, and of course we understand that barbecue takes time, but the sides? Coleslaw? You're in the Italian Market! There are cabbages about 5 feet from your front door!! You could probably just yell "somebody bring me some cabbages!" And they'd show up!

Of course it's early days, we do realize that it takes a little while to get in a groove, and figure out how much of what people are buying, so we'll be patient... but we really are looking forward to going back for more, I think this place has the potential to be a real highlight in the barbecue scene.

And they said something about doing hot biscuits with prosciutto on sundays. I got a little dizzy at the prospect.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Speaking of barbecue, I made another run by Dante's a couple of weeks ago, and it just confirmed everything I'd already found: the St Louis-style ribs are awesome. The Memphis baby backs are good, but pale in comparison. Pulled pork and Brisket were both really good. I highly recommend asking for the sauce on the side. Hot and mild are both good (and not very different from one another) but I found the meats were a little better left dry, and then dipped or drizzled with the sauce. But that's a personal preference thing...

The hot sausage was kind of blah - it had a decent smoky flavor, but it was a pretty pedestrian sausage, it reminded me of one you might get at a hot-dog cart. The smoking helped it, but I think you need a better starting point to make a really good barbecue sausage.

Sides were mostly only decent, except for a couple of standouts: the collard greens, mashed sweet potatoes and much to our surprise, the sweet potato fries. They were not only nice and crisp and not oily, but stayed that way. I was shocked to be nibbling on them an hour later, and still enjoying them.

gallery_23992_6529_49362.jpg

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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The pulled pork at Bebe's is quite good! Next time, I'll ask if I can have it with sauce on the side, though. No disrespect to the sauce, which was fine, but it overwhelmed the meat a little. When I had it this afternoon, they were pulling it right off the bone, so getting it sauce-free wouldn't have been a problem.

The collard greens were first-rate. Firm texture, great flavor without a hint of bitterness.

I'll echo Jeff's criticism from above: at noon on a Thursday, they had only pork (no brisket or ribs) mac and cheese, collards and cole slaw. Fortunately, I like all those things! But I get the sense that the owners are still really scrambling to get the operation going at full speed. I certainly give them my best wishes!

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I tried Famous Daves (the one on Columbus Blvd), and boy, was it awful. Oh my G-d. Wings, burger and sides, not strictly BBQ but the same world. I hope I am not sick....

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David:

We could have warned you. It's not only chain BBQ, but BAD chain BBQ. What on earth were you thinking?? I hope you digest well... :unsure:

I had a rib platter from Bebe's for dinner tonight. Delicious! Dry rubbed ribs with a nice crust, and a not too spicy sauce on the side. I have enough varieties of hot sauce at home to jazz it up with, so no problem there. Big serving with two sides and a hunk of cornbread for $10! A steal. Next time I have to try the pulled pork...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Katie is of course right. But let me add mrbigjas's sage advice on eating around Delaware Ave.:

let's face it: when you're down there, just go to chick-fil-a.

unless it's sunday.

ok let's face it REALLY: just go to john's. or tony luke's.

unless it's sunday.

in all those cases, just go to wendy's. or ikea! meatballs in dingleberry sauce!

I'd take Ikea over Famous Dave's any day.

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eGullet rules:

1) Check eGullet for best advice available

2) eGullet not responsible for user's temporary insanity, dissociative episodes, or just plain self-destructive behavior.

Though the guy in the chicken outfit outside the door (I am not kidding) should have been warning enough...

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