Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

Fletcher’s BBQ – Roslyn, PA – New BBQ Joint

Thanks to Montgomery News for pointing on a new BBQ Joint that opened in early September in Roslyn, Pennsylvania called Fletcher’s BBQ.

From the article by Frank D. Quattrone, “What do you get when you mix a little bit of Texas, a little Louisiana and a little Tennessee? When you’re talking about flavor — better yet, when you’re talking barbecue — you get Fletcher’s BBQ.”

The article continues, “All our meat is gently rubbed with our own special blend of spices; it’s then slow cooked in our smoker using a variety of oak, hickory, and apple woods.”

Here’s the complete article
Here’s their menu

Let me know if you’ve visited or are planning to. Would love to hear more about Fletcher’s.

Check them out here:

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Smoke City Market – Sherman Oaks, California – BBQ Joint Review

Since I started my quest to find great BBQ Joints I’ve always looked towards Texas BBQ as barometer. If a joint seemed to be close in meat quality and passion to Louie Mueller Barbecue, Kreuz Market, Black’s Barbecue, Snow’s BBQ, etc. I knew that I would be in the right place. The thing is, I hadn’t found that until last night.

Smoke City Market opened on November 4th about a mile north of the 101 freeway in Van Nuys, California (across the street from an Audi dealership). I met Calvin Lee from Mayhem Studios there to samples what we heard was really good BBQ in the San Fernando Valley.

We were not disappointed. Like a good Texas joint, they sell all of their meats by the pound. Everything looked incredible, but we went for brisket (they had a choice of moist or lean…we chose moist), sausage (we chose the jalapeno and cheddar sausage which is house made), and baby back ribs (they had sold out of the beef ribs). We only ordered one side, macaroni and cheese, as we wanted to concentrate on the BBQ objective.


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Willie’s BBQ – Agoura Hills, California – BBQ Joint Review

This BBQ Joint review is a long time coming. I’ve heard rumblings about Willie’s BBQ for a while now, but haven’t had the chance to stop in (even though I pass by it every work day). Leave it to US Highway 101 in the ‘above the San Fernando Valley’ area, but to be quite honest, I’m sad I never did take the time to visit.

So a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to meet a friend (and fellow BBQ junkie) Jason P. for a lunch that was quite amazing. First off, I’ll let you know it’s not easy to find. Please use the map below or plug it into your GPS as it’s on a road below the freeway. Secondly, it’s a lot larger than you’d think from just pulling up. There’s a large dining area and an even larger patio area that is great to hang out at on a warm night (we’ll have them again soon enough).

Here’s a view of their interior:

I had the Southern Pulled Pork which is pork shoulder smoked for 20 hours over hickory wood and is topped with their coleslaw. Jason had the BBQ Chicken Breast Sandwich which is topped with coleslaw as well. We also got a chance to taster their ribs and brisket. My sandwich was incredible. The pork was cooked perfectly and the slaw did not over power. Also, they make their own bread (it’s very similar to a mexican torta’s bread) which rounded out the sandwich perfectly.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Fat Casual BBQ – New BBQ Joint – Macedonia, OH

Eric Marotta writes “Fast Casual”, is a restaurateur’s term meant to define a type of eatery that’s a step up from fast food. So what is “Fat Casual?” According to Walter Hyde and Scott Slagle, it means good, fast barbecue served up in a family dining atmosphere. The two opened Fat Casual BBQ, their “Ohio Style” barbecue restaurant at the west end of Highland Road, between Route 8 and Interstate 271, in October. They say “Fat Casual BBQ” is an expansion of the booming catering business they started years previously when Hyde was executive chef at the Crazy Horse gentlemen’s club and Slagle was rounding out a self-imposed, five-year course of weekly experiments with barbecue.”

Read the entire article from The-News-Leader.com here

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Lillie’s Q – Chicago, IL – BBQ Joint Review

Another BBQ Joint that is getting a TON of press and is one that is on my list for my Chicago visit is Lillie’s Q. Luckily I have another guest review from good friend, Jeff Belmonti. He’s the owner of the online BBQ store BBQ Pro Shop. You’ll be blown away the selection. I’ve told people looking for anything BBQ before, if you can’t find it at the BBQ Pro Shop you’re not looking hard enough.

Here’s the review: As soon as we heard that Chef Charlie McKenna a true competition Pit Master, a winner at Memphis in May, was opening a BBQ place in Chicago we were very intrigued and we made a point of getting to it the first couple of weeks Lillie’s Q was open. I have been there three different times and each time I have been very impressed with the quality of the food, the service and especially the atmosphere.

Named after his Grandmother, Lillie, McKenna brings real BBQ to the Chicago food scene in a great little space on North Ave, on the edge of Bucktown/Wicker Park. The place has great beers on tap and all sorts of specialty drinks with Moonshine at the heart of most of them. Moonshine is to BBQ as Saki is to Sushi! They have a wide open space, cool wood tables and some booths with a huge slop sink at the back for cleaning the BBQ sauce off.

We started with the fried pickles, which are a quality dill pickle fried in a very light and delicious almost tempura batter. This is served with a ranch dressing that has to be homemade. In looking over the menu, brisket is missing, and I asked Charlie straight up, “Why no brisket?” He stated that he wanted to put Tri Tip on the menu instead and being that he competes Memphis BBQ Association, makes sense to me. (Tri tip is done perfectly by the way.) So for our tasting, we tried a slab of ribs, pulled chicken, pulled pork and of course slices of tri tip. The sides, we went with Mac and Cheese, Bacon Green Beans, Baked Beans, “Carolina Dirt Dusted” Fries and Sweet Potato Fries.

The ribs had an awesome smoke flavor as did all of the meats because you will not find a gas line on Lillie’s Q smoker. McKenna has two custom built, gravity fed, charcoal fueled smokers under a hood in the kitchen. Best part, a BBQ Guru fuels the fire so it was about as close as you could get to true competition BBQ in a restaurant setting. The pork was tender with a nice smokey pink appearance, as was the chicken, a surprise as far as pulled chicken goes, tender and flavorful. The tritip was something special, a great appearance of smoke lined the outside with a great rub flavor and tender as all get out. In subsequent visits I have had all of these as a sandwich, highly recommended as he serves them on a soft buttered brioche roll that is divine!
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Taylor Cafe – Taylor, Texas – The Statesman

The Taylor Cafe is one of my important stops on my visit next year to Texas for a number of reasons. The top of the list would be to meet (and hopefully get some time to visit with) owner Vencil Mares. If you want to learn more about this BBQ icon and The Taylor Cafe you should check out Ricardo Gándara’s piece in the The Statesman.


Photo courtesy of The Texas BBQ Posse

The article starts out with this, “Vencil Mares was minding his own business at his cafe in early 2004 when a customer walked in with a copy of USA Today. Food writer Jerry Shriver had listed Mares’ brisket as one of his top dishes in 2003.”


Photo courtesy of Andy Sharp American Statesman

The article continues, “Mares, 87, was already a household name to locals because of his legendary brisket, beef ribs, sausage and, on Wednesdays, Texas chili. But this recognition was new, and folks from around the country suddenly began finding his hideaway, the Taylor Cafe, on North Main Street under the Texas 95 overpass.”


Photo courtesy of Andy Sharp American Statesman

To read more of the piece check the rest out here. Have you been to The Taylor Cafe? Let me know what you think of it.

Find The Taylor Cafe here:

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Chicago q – BBQ Joint Review

I’ve been hearing a lot of about Chicago q lately and definitely want to try it when I do my Illinois BBQ trip early next year. In the mean time, Jeff Belmonti from the incredible online BBQ store BBQ Pro Shop has provided a guest review.

We had heard rumors of this place for some time and when Steve Dolinsky reported that “Chicago q is the city’s first “elegant” BBQ palace” we knew the time had come. We were delighted to hear that Lee Ann Whippen of BBQ Pitmasters fame was the Chef and Partner, we knew we had yet another special BBQ place in Chicago. Lee Ann has moved to Chicago to make this place something special and that speaks to the mix of authentic competition and Virginia BBQ. Combine that with an atmosphere that you can only find in the Chicago Gold Coast, they did a fantastic job. The decor is like a chic Southern Plantation meets modern casual restaurant space. It is wide open with a cool bar, great dining area and a couple of private rooms including flat screens for watching sports. They also do carry out which they said is a huge part of their business.


Photo of Chicago q Smoked Kobe Beef Brisket and Fries

Staff was really knowledgeable and this was an important part of the experience. When we mentioned that we owned a BBQ store we were treated to visits from the General Manager as well as Lee Ann herself! Lee Ann was really friendly, shared some of her experience of Chicago and was happy to spend the time and energy needed to make the place a success. Our waiter was awesome too, he was very attentive and even got us a kitchen tour, complete with a look at the smoker! This place is the real deal, a gorgeous kitchen complete with a smoker that is gas fired, but real smoking wood stacked right next to it.

We had to try the Kobe beef brisket and went for the Competition Spare Ribs as well as baked beans, fries and mac and cheese for the sides. BBQ is served with the sauce on the side, one is a mild sauce and the other has a little spice to it. The Kobe Beef Brisket was a little dry for my tastes, but very tasty and had a great smoke flavor. The bark on the outside exposed the Lee Ann Whippen Family signature rub “Pig Powder”, which tells me that it was cooked right but needed sauce to make it delicious. The Competition style Spare’s were so damn moist and pink that they pulled right off the bone. They had a great glaze to them which was tasty and perfectly complimented the rub. When we took our kitchen tour we noticed that each rack is wrapped in foil, just like most do in competition and pulled out of the smoker just before serving to you.


Photo of Chicago q Competition Style Ribs, tender and smokey delicious.

The sides are where you could taste all the love. We have heard that their onion rings are not to be missed, sorry we missed them. The Mac and Cheese was special, not your run of the mill side dish, and we loved it. Overall, it was great to have something this authentic and special in Chicago. It is a great atmosphere and the prices are reasonable based on the neighborhood and the level of service you receive. They have a balance of southern hospitality and fine dining. You could go there to watch a game in the bar, carry out, have a nice dining experience with friends or enjoy a large party in one of their signature private rooms. Exciting to see Modern BBQ hit Chicago, and to have a real BBQ Pitmaster and a high standard of service complete the experience.

You can book a reservation right from their site, I would recommend one as you never know in Chicago. They are kid friendly, casual dining and have more on the menu than just BBQ (The qBurger sounds out of this world).

Read this and all his other reviews here

If you’re in the market for anything BBQ please check out BBQ Pro Shop as you’ll be amazed by the selection.

You can check out Chicago q here:

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Chicago Q on Urbanspoon

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Shukri’s BBQ – Waynesboro, Virginia

I haven’t heard of Shukri’s BBQ before, but if you’re in Waynesboro, Virginia and crave authentic BBQ you’d be in the right place at Shukri’s. I have Jo Ellen Opyoke to thank as her piece in The News Leader clued me in to the joint.


Photo courtesy of The News Leader

It sounds real deal, especially with their emphasis on low and slow, but so far I don’t have a ton of information. If you’ve been or live in the area, please shoot me an email as I would love some additional information and some photos of the BBQ. You can read the entire piece here.

Find it here:

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Epic Meal Time – Meat, Meat, and More Meat

A friend shared this with and after about ten seconds I knew I wanted to share it with everyone that loves meat (or guess who mix booze with food). Here’s one of my favorites so far:

They are all really funny and creative.

Here’s a photo of their ‘Double Kill’

You can see the rest of their videos here

‘Like’ them on facebook here
Follow them on twitter here

Let me know what you think or if you have any ideas for an ‘Epic Meal’ of your own.

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John Mueller BBQ – Brisket Delivery

I won a contest a little while back from the great blog on all things BBQ in Texas, Man Up: Tales of Texas BBQ. I don’t remember what score I had to predict or for what game it was, but I do remember what I was hoping to win. It was a brisket from legendary Texas Pitmaster John Mueller (you may know him from the Mueller BBQ Family from Taylor, TX). You don’t forget things like that, especially being a BBQ addict from California who longs for a trip to Texas to try the 50+ joints on my list.

I figured I would give you a play by play view of my brisket arrival and ensuing Texas BBQ meal I put together (I do have a disclaimer. After reheating carefully I was so hungry that I sort of ‘butchered’ the slicing (John even mentioned I needed slicing lessons). Please disregard the slicing and simply enjoy the photos).

First off there was I a well placed and well intentioned copy of the Taylor Daily Press. Although I had no doubt, this further identified the contents as coming from Taylor.

I would have been content with just a brisket, but Mr. Mueller was kind enough to include a vintage JMBBQ tee (actually there were two tees – white and red. I’m very proud to be the new owner of them).

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