Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

New BBQ Joint – The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint – Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The Hattisburg American is reporting that The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint opened Tuesday in downtown Hattiesburg. This would be the sixth location for the popular BBQ joint that’s best known for it’s ribs and festive atmosphere that always involves music.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Moore – Hattiesburg American

Photo Courtesy of Ryan Moore – Hattiesburg American

Here’s some additional information about The Shed from the horses mouth, “The Shed’s not a fancy restaurant, as a matter of fact, it’s not a restaurant at all….it’s a full fledged JOINT….The Shed is an Experience, a Destination to enjoy. ShedHeds bring their families, sit around the bonfires, hug their kids, and eat the best darn BBQ on the bayou. On Saturday nights the sounds of live Blues music radiates from the stage bringing with it the essence of what a barbeque joint should be. That my friend is the true story of The Shed.”

You can read the entire story here

Check them out on Facebook here

You can find the new BBQ Joint here:

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Updated – New BBQ Joint Opening – Blackstrap BBQ – Winthrop, MA

Update 10.12.10

Just received an email from Chris Thompson, chef and owner of Blackstrap BBQ who was kind enough to update me on the new phone number and website which you can find here. He also said that the joint will be opening at the end of October.

Here’s some additional info:

“Blackstrap BBQ takes its name from blackstrap molasses, an ingredient you’ll find in many of Thompson’s barbecue recipes. The menu features all types of traditional barbecue, from regions all over the United States. Items will include: Texas style beef brisket, Memphis style dry rub ribs, and Louisiana style catfish po’ boys. Don’t forget the side dishes: collard greens, pork rich baked beans, and two types of coleslaw. Although meat is king in barbecue, there will be good eats for vegetarians here too, with offerings such as barbecue mushroom sandwich, a daily soup, and seasonal farmers’ market vegetables.”

Thompson states, “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We just want to make food that is damn good, in a community that isn’t already over-run with restaurants. The spot is nice and small, so we can focus on doing it right.” Winthrop local, Economides, says “Winthrop has been my home for 10 years now, and I’m proud to bring Blackstrap BBQ to this neighborhood.”

Blackstrap BBQ will fire up its smoker (a Southern Pride that can hold up to 650 lbs. of meat) later this month. The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Sunday, for both lunch and dinner.

Here’s some additional information on the two owners:
Thompson and co-owner, Jim Economides, met while working together at the legendary East Coast Grill, in Cambridge, MA and have since formed a partnership through their love for good, old-fashioned barbecue. The duo has worked in restaurants throughout the Metro-Boston area, notably at The Blue Room, and new industry hot spot, Highland Kitchen. Economides also co-opened the All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, MA, a Boston Magazine “Best of Boston” award winner. Now Thompson and Economides compile their years of restaurant experience and food adventures to put forth a 16 seat, fast-paced, mostly take-out joint.

Here’s their motto: BBQ = Love + Happiness

From what it looks like, this is going to be great BBQ Joint in the Boston area. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Previous Post – 10.11.10
Boston Restaurant Talk is reporting that Boston will be soon home to a new BBQ Joint, Blackstrap BBQ.

No real information other than the hours (not even a phone number). You can see the story here. I’ll get you more once I have it, but if you know anything about the menu, BBQ style, etc. please feel free to contact me.

Check them out on Facebook here

Find the new joint when it opens here:

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New BBQ Joint – Chicago Q – Chicago, IL – Steve Dolinsky

Steve Dolinsky, Food Reporter for ABC 7 Chicago, always writes about amazing food happenings in Chicago as well as around the country. You should definitely follow him on twitter or at the very least read his Adventures in Urban Eating blog.

On Friday he did a write-up about a new BBQ Joint in Chicago called Chicago Q. It’s one of the many upscale “urban” BBQ joints that are cropping up in big cities across the country (it does seem though that Chicago is having a BBQ renaissance at this time with the large number of joints opening up all at once).

Photo courtesy of Steve Dolinsky

One thing that may peak a number of hard core BBQ aficionados is who is the chef partner behind this venture, none other than Lee Ann Whippen. Lee Ann runs the Wood Chicks BBQ team, owns the restaurant Wood Chicks BBQ, and was a featured competitor on the first season of BBQ Pitmasters. From Steve’s article, “Lee Ann Whippen masters her shoulder and butts as well as anyone else in town. The Virginia-based competition barbequer recently opened up Chicago q in the Gold Coast, and like Lillie’s Q in Bucktown, is going for the “urban barbeque” vibe – nice booze, good music, comfortable chairs and a dining room that could only have been pulled off by a serious interior decorator.”

Photo courtesy of Steve Dolinsky


Low and Slow BBQ in Tokyo, Japan – Hatos Bar – The Real Pit BBQ

I have a number of correspondents for Kevin’s BBQ Joints who send me reviews from time to time, but when I opened my email this morning I was really amazed. I never assumed I would be getting a review from my correspondent, Devon, from Tokyo, Japan. Here’s his report on Hatos Bar “The Real Pit BBQ and Craft Beer”:

I’ve been living in Tokyo for 8 years, but I still fall for the same thing all the time. I’ll be walking down the street, see a big “BBQ” sign, and start thinking, “maybe this time they’ll have brisket or ribs or pulled pork or even baked beans!” They never do. BBQ in Japan means Yakiniku, thin, bite-sized strips of meat grilled over charcoal or gas/electric grills, usually at your table. Yakiniku is amazing and I love it, but it’s much different than slow-cooked, American-style pit BBQ. Tokyo is one of the world’s great cities with every kind of restaurant you can imagine. It is estimated that there are 80,000 restaurants in Tokyo…by comparison New York has 15,000. But after years of looking I had never found any restaurant serving American-style BBQ.


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Contest – The Q Card – John Mueller – Free BBQ Meal for 10 People

The Q Card is at it again with an even better contest than last week. It’s pretty insane. Here are the details:

“We had such great response to last week’s giveaway of a brisket smoked by John Mueller that we’re having another giveaway this weekend, courtesy of John. And it’s an awesome one. The closest prediction for the final score of this Sunday’s Titans @ Cowboys game (3:15 PM Central) gets a meal for 10 catered by John during the Texas-Nebraska game (Sat, Oct. 16, 2:30 PM Central) – brisket, sausage, & trimmings. And The Q Card.”

More details, “Again, like last week, this is not a joke. John Mueller will cater your party of 10! (In case of a tie, we will draw a name from a hat.) Don’t live near Austin? No worries. As John said, “BBQ flies.” If you win, he’ll ship it to you, so wherever you are, enter!!! The only thing that is bad about this giveaway is that I can’t win it.”

Who wouldn’t want an entire BBQ meal prepared for you by John Mueller for you and 9 of your friends? You’d be crazy not to enter for a shot.

It’s really easy to enter. Here are the ways:
You can email Drew your prediction at
You can leave a comment under the post here
Post it to Facebook here
Or Tweet it to Drew here

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Review – The Barbecue Company – Carpinteria, CA

I can honestly say I’ve driven by The Barbecue Company in Carpinteria, California at least fifty times without stopping. It’s not that I wasn’t curious, it’s just I’m usually on my way up north to a specific destination or heading south trying to get home as quickly as possible. Another issue might have been that I didn’t know of anyone that had eaten there before so there wasn’t that tug of necessity to try their BBQ. Well this Saturday I made it a point to eat there and I was pleasantly surprised (let me also say that these photos are from my iPhone as I didn’t have my camera with me so I apologize in advance for the lack of clarity).

Upon entering you are met with a very cozy and homey vibe (it didn’t hurt that a guilty pleasure of mine, Neil Diamond, was filling the air) . The restaurant is medium sized with a bar in the back that faces an open kitchen. I sat at the bar and struck up a conversation with a Jackie who was filling plastic honey bears with fresh honey. Turns out, she is part owner. Jackie and Gary Neilson opened The Barbecue Company in February of 2009 at the former Smokin Jacks Kansas City BBQ location right on the northern outskirts of Carpinteria. Gary (a Carpinteria mayor and a City Councilman back in the day) a classically trained chef who worked in the restaurant business for years handles the kitchen duties while Jackie, who worked in the legal world managing firms, handles the front of the house and the business side.


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Randy’s House of BBQ – 2 Locations – Illinois

The Belleville News Democrat is reporting that Randy’s House of BBQ is opening not one, but two locations in Illinois. One is in Troy and the other is in Maryville.

Per the article “Randy’s cooks pork, ribs and beef brisket over burning hickory and oak wood” and per their site “Randy’s boasts of winning seven American Royal International Reserve Championships and 27 other championships across the U.S.” Sounds impressive.

Here’s the Troy location:

Phone: 618-667-2250

Here’s the Maryville location:

Phone: 618-288-0227

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Cripple Creek Barbeque – Kickstarter

I’ve been following the goings on of Cripple Creek Barbeque for a while now and have gotten to know one of the owners John Lynch. He’s a great guy who has a strong passion for his company, their sauces and rub, and believes in a ‘pay it forward’ philosophy that’s nice to see these days.

Recently I noticed that he was involved with Kickstarter, a company I had vaguely heard of, but didn’t know anyone that had a project going with them, until now. John explained “The premise behind Kickstater is that people “pledge” money to your project and at the end, IF you have gotten ALL of your goal then you get the money. IF you haven’t reached your goal you get nothing. No one get’s charged until the end of the project and the goal has been reached.”

Seems like a great idea. It’s an easy, inexpensive way of helping out a small company or person with a good idea. What’s cool about Kickstarter is you can pledge as little as $ 5.00 and in the case of Cripple Creek, they offer different incentive pledge levels (i.e. you will get some cool CCB swag as well as an entire meal’s menu written by John with recipes and wine or beer paring if you pledge $ 150.00).

Their ultimate goal is to raise $7,500 of which as of today they are at $2,365 with 65 days to go. So what do they intend to do with the money? “Our intention with the money is to buy more bottles, lids, ingredients and do some advertising.” Seems like something I’d want to help out with.

They have four different types of sauces and one spice rub. You can see them here:
Carmalized Onion
Roasted Garlic
All Purpose Spice Rub

If you want to learn more, see some videos about their company, and pledge to assist them go here

Here’s more information about Cripple Creek Barbeque from John, “We started in January of ’09, after some convincing from my wife that my sauce was good enough to sell. We got our name from a reclamation project in Washington State. There is a Cripple Creek, that had some flow issues from road construction, they added a culvert and re-established an almost extinct salmon run. That fit in with our view of the environment, sustainability, and taking care of our “neighborhood”. We are a “mom and Pop” company that does all our own bottling, spice blending and labeling (in an approved kitchen!! you’d be surprised how often this comes up)”.

So if you’re into BBQ or just want to help out a small company, head over to their Kickstarter page and pledge even a small amount. They’ll definitely appreciate it and put it to good use in building their company and brand.

Check out the Cripple Creek Blog here
Check them out on Facebook here
Follow them on Twitter here

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Not BBQ – Review – Taqueria Cuernavaca – Ventura, CA

It really confounds me that there are so many bad Mexican restaurants in Southern California. It convinces me that the Hispanic community here is most likely cooking at home instead of going out as I think they’d find most of these places unacceptable. Come to think of it, it seems that a lot of restaurants (Chinese, Italian, Japanese, etc.) just seem to phone it in, figuring mediocre is good enough for the masses. It’s sad actually, but I guess that’s what makes a gem of a place even more special. I digress though.

I wanted to do a little piece on a Mexican joint near me that takes great pride in putting out quality food that is far superior to almost anywhere I’ve been. Taqueria Cuernavaca in Ventura, California (on Ventura Avenue) is one of those places that you don’t want others to know about because it’ll get too crowded, but since they’ve made me happy with meal after meal I figured I’d return the favor. One thing that I love about this place (other than the food, the sauces, and the scratch made chips) is that they have a sign that says ‘this is not fast food’, which pretty much lets you know it’ll take some time, but it’ll be worth it.

Michelle and I get tacos every time we go (although I’ve never seen a dish come out of their kitchen that doesn’t look amazing), so just I’ll let the pictures of these tacos speak for themselves.

Potato tacos

Carne asada, pastor (yes that’s a pineapple slice on top), and suadero


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BBQ Road Trip ’10 – Kevin Pang / Keith Claxton

I started following Kevin Pang on Twitter after his first BBQ Road Trip in February of this year. Going on a road trip that focused solely on checking out BBQ Joints in a specific region is one of my goals in life (especially as a BBQ addict), so anyone that was taking a trip like this was definitely worth a further investigation. Turns out the traveler was just as interesting as the trip. Kevin is the dining reporter for the Chicago Tribune and named “The Cheap Eater” columnist in April 2010. “Each week he tries to find great food in the city without breaking the bank.” Keith Claxton, who is a designer and editor at the Tribune, was his side kick for this journey (and he appears to be the main driver on this new one so he deserves extra kudos).

Photo courtesy of Kevin Pang – Chicago Tribune

You can see their current trip in all it’s graphical, picturesque, and video glory as it progresses here, but I figured I would assist in giving links and maps for the BBQ joints they cover (updating often) so that you too can stop at these joints (and maybe along the way find different ones that they missed).

Photo courtesy of Kevin Pang – Chicago Tribune

They began their trip on Saturday October 2nd heading south and east from Chicago in a Chevy Malibu. They made a few ‘not’ BBQ stops, but since most BBQ lovers are fans of food in general, I’ve given links and maps to those locations too.

DAY – 1

Link to the joint: Camp Washington Chili – Cincinnati, OH

Here’s their piece

Link to the joint: J.J. McBrewster’s – Lexington, KY

Here’s their piece


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