Kevin's BBQ Joints

Kevin's BBQ Joints Blog

Japan – Pork Rib Sandwich Combo

Our roving BBQ correspondent in Japan, Devon, snapped this picture at the movie theater concession stand in Tokyo yesterday:

It looks like a McRib on steroids (that hot dog shown above it looks on the huge side too). Question is, would you order this combo meal (comes with a drink and popcorn) at a movie theater for close to 11 dollars?

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BBQ Video – Barry Sorkin from Smoque BBQ – Chicago, IL

Smoque BBQ in Chicago, Illinois has been putting out consistent, quality BBQ for the four years (some claim that they are putting out the best Texas BBQ outside of Texas).

Photo courtesy of Full Custom Gospel BBQ

From their website, :Smoque (smōk) BBQ is a neighborhood kind of place that cooks up BBQ good enough to make it a true destination. It was created by five regular guys who happen to be passionate about food in general and BBQ in particular. We believe barbecue is at its best when all of its powerful flavors combine and harmonize. The natural flavors of the meat. The savory flavor of hardwood smoke. The spiciness of the rub. The sweetness or pungency of the sauce. When these elements are in balance, you have found BBQ heaven.”

One of the founding partners, Barry Sorkin, has three videos put out by jbresland that show his passion for BBQ and how they do things at Smoque. I think you’ll enjoy them:

Part 1


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13 Places to Eat Before You Die – Anthony Bourdain

Men’s Health ran an article a while back (June of 2009) where Anthony Bourdain, author and host of No Reservations on the Travel Channel, chose the 13 Places to Eat Before You Die. I have the list below with links to the restaurants (it’s an impressive list and interesting to click over to the restaurant websites to see the amazing food they are putting out), but since #13 was a BBQ Joint, I wanted to highlight the piece again.

#13 Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue (Kansas City, Kansas) People may disagree on who has the best BBQ. Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It’s the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world

Photo of Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Olathe, KS via Lesley Zellers

From the article Tony says, “Any seasoned traveler can tell you that the “best” meals on the planet are the result of an ephemeral confluence of circumstances. A table at the most expensive restaurant in the world does not guarantee a truly great meal. That said, if you’re planning on dying in the near future and want to knock off a list of final, glorious dining experiences, these places would make a very respectable binge. Start with one. Make a reservation today. Go on an empty stomach. Trust me: This is livin’.”

Here’s the list (note he wrote his reasons why after each one which you can see at the link below):
1 – St. John (London)
2 – elBulli (Girona, Spain)
3 – The French Laundry (Napa Valley, California)
4 – Per Se (New York City)
5 – Sin Huat Eating House (Singapore)
6 – Le Bernardin (New York City)
7 – Salumi (Seattle)
8 – Russ & Daughters (New York City)
9 – Katz’s Delicatessen (New York City)
10 – Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain) Victor
11 – Sukiyabashi Jiro (Tokyo)
12 – Hot Doug’s (Chicago)

You can read the entire piece here

So what are your 13 places to eat before you die? Or even 5 places? I’m working on my list which I’ll share soon.

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Austin BBQ – New BBQ Joint – Wheaton, Illinois

Thanks to Grace A. Reband from the Wheatonpatch for her piece on another new BBQ Joint that opened up in Illinois. Austin BBQ, from owner/pitmaster Doug Pierce, opened with the “goal is to bring you an authentic experience and taste of the Texas Barbecue Belt, from the Hill Country surrounding Austin.”

Photo courtesy of Grace A. Reband

From the article, “We specialize in Texas-style beef brisket, smoked until rendered and tendered. In keeping with the Texas market traditions, we serve it with white bread or saltine crackers, with pickles, onions, and cheese on the side. We also serve pulled pork, babyback ribs, St. Louis ribs, beef ribs, California-style Tri-Tip, chicken with a white barbecue sauce, smoked burgers and brats and hot links.” It goes on, “The neatest thing about this place is the all-wood burning pit. It uses no gas and no electric. The stove weighs 4,200 pound, and it took a crane to lift it off the truck when it was delivered.” The piece noted too that Doug gets all of his meats from the Wheaton Meat Company.

See the entire piece here

Sounds like we might have a winner in Wheaton. It is nice to see someone with real BBQ passion opening up a joint with the sole thought being to provide great BBQ day in and day out. Please let me know if you’ve been here as I would love to hear your thoughts.

You can find Austin BBQ here:

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BBQ Video – Fette Sau – Brooklyn, New York

If you haven’t been to Fette Sau in Brooklyn, New York, but always wanted to, check out this almost first person point of view from the Wandering Gourmand.

Visit Fette Sau here:

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1st Visit Preview – Bigmista’s Barbecue Catering

I was finally able to stop by and meet (meat?) Neil Strawder from Bigmista’s Barbecue Catering last week and try his BBQ. I am going to be doing a full report over the next couple of days, but here’s a couple of pictures.

Neil (smiling like always) and Me (squinting and mid smile)

Bigmista’s Barbecue ‘Big Ass Meat Plate – Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs, Turkey, and Pig Candy

Neil and his team are cooking up their top notch low and slow BBQ around Los Angeles every day except for Monday at Farmer’s Markets. You can see his schedule here

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BBQ Video – Interview with Bobby Mueller and Vencil Mares

This is the kind of video I was looking for. It’s by Mike Gebert from Sky Full of Bacon and features interviews with two legends in the world of Texas BBQ: Bobby Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue) and Vencil Mares (The Taylor Cafe). I think the best thing about this is that it gives you a little more that just a straight interview as both Bobby and Vencil delve into the history (at times tough to swallow history) of Taylor, TX.

Sky Full of Bacon 03: The Last Brisket Show from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

Although I haven’t visited, you sort of get a taste of what it’s like to stop at Louie Mueller Barbecue through this video. Sadly, Bobby Mueller passed away not long after this was filmed, so I know this is treasured by his family and is really a treat for BBQ lovers.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

See the rest of the videos from Sky Full of Bacon here

PS. On a side note, Louie Mueller Barbecue just won Best Beef Ribs for 2010 at Man Up: Tales of Texas BBQ. You can see the story(and great shots of the ribs) here.

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Chris Phillips – My Favorite Joints – Volume 2

This week I was lucky enough to get Chris Phillips, drummer for Squirrel Nut Zippers to provide me with his must stop BBQ joints.

Photo of Squirrel Nut Zippers – Chris is third from the right

Here are his choices and his great commentary:

Honky Tonk Pig Smokehouse
4358 Old Walkertown Rd
Winston Salem, NC 27105
(336) 767-2211
A new favorite of mine was introduced to me by my brother. Its in my home town of Winston Salem, NC. Its take out only, and owned and run by a new generation of old school, family style BBQ folks. Exquisite!

Pulliams Hot Dogs & Barbecue
4358 Old Walkertown Rd
Winston Salem, NC 27105
(336) 767-2211

Photo of Pulliams Hot Dogs & Barbecue courtesy of Serious Eats

Well, this is more of a hot dog shack than a BBQ joint. But it can’t go without mention. A long time favorite of those on the NW side of Winston Salem NC. It draws the faithful perrenially. Last time I was there I of course ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in many years. We sat on the stumps, drank Cheerwine, and ate dogs. One must be loyal to this Hot Dog Honky Tonk.

The Oinkster
2005 Colorado Blvd
Eagle Rock, CA 90041
Neighborhood: Eagle Rock
Have to admit, for Los Angeles, this place is pretty tasty. Carolina style BBQ right here on the East side. Never again need I venture East of Western. Praise be and pass the sauce.

Photo of Oinkster pulled pork sandwich courtesy of

I’m basically a Southerner living on the East side of LA. I crave fried chicken every day, and subject my children to unthinkable crimes here on the east side such as excessive amounts of butter, lard, and various dishes with pork fat lurking in the recipe. Through all my years with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, we have always eaten well. In fact, fried chicken is one of the corner stones of our bands sound and aesthetic. BBQ is right next to it. If you happen to be close to any of these spots, make sure to have a sit and enjoy meal and a Cheerwine.


Chris Phillips
Squirrel Nut Zippers

Check them out on facebook here
Follow them on twitter here

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Southern Pride – Woodburning BBQ Pits & Smokers – Company Overview

As a big fan of BBQ, I’m always interested in knowing what type of smoker or pit a BBQ Joint is using and of course what kind of wood they use (quick side note: this is information that I am slowly adding to every joint on my BBQ Joint Search Engine so you’ll know ahead of time). Die hard BBQ junkies tell me they will not go to a joint that uses anything other than ONLY wood, but that’s not feasible everywhere around the country. Also, there are a some smoker makers that have developed excellent quality woodburning/gas smokers that big time BBQ Joints use to turn out solid, quality BBQ day after day.

This is the first in my series of pieces covering pits, smokers, and wood so I can get a better grasp of what each company does and what makes them stand out on their own. Southern Pride is a company well respected in the BBQ industry. Their smokers are used by hundreds of BBQ joints including Fette Sau, Smoque BBQ, Jim & Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Robinson’s #1 Rib, Van’s Pig Stand, and Pork Barrel BBQ Del Rey will be using them once they open in Late February/Early March.

Here’s the background on Southern Pride:

Mike Robertson began in the BBQ restaurant business in the early 70’s and saw the need for a more consistent, less labor-intensive way to prepare traditional smoked BBQ. Together with his father B.B. Robertson, they designed the first version of their wood-burning rotisserie BBQ smoker.

In 1976, they decided to try to build and sell an improved BBQ rotisserie smoker and formed B.B. Robertson Company. Mike started building the first commercial BBQ pits in a garage in Marion, IL and B.B. hit the road to demonstrate and sell their early design. That first year in business, they built and sold 6 smokers. The family business was off and running with Bert Robertson handling sales, Mike doing the manufacturing, and with “Mom Monte” Robertson keeping the books and trying to keep both the boys in line.


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Real Urban Barbecue – Highland Park, IL – BBQ Masters Night

I am lucky to have been given a fly on the wall view of the festivities surrounding the BBQ Masters dinner Monday night at Real Urban Barbecue by none of than Dave Raymond of Sweet Baby Rays. He recently gave us a review of Lexington #1 BBQ and of course he’s the owner of Sweet Baby Rays in both Wood Dale, IL and Elk Grove, IL. Here’s the scoop from Dave Raymond, our Illinois correspondent:

Nothing to Do on a Monday Night…

For a while now, I have been getting together to hang out with the barbecue guys in Chicago. We eat and talk some barbecue, and have some fun and laugh. We also support and encourage each other. Last night was another one of those nights.

Real Urban Barbecue in Highland Park Illinois– a bit of a trek, but worth it. Jeff Shapiro is the first of my friends to open a barbecue restaurant and actually have restaurant experience (just a tad smarter than the rest of us), and if I may say, Jeff has put that experience to good use. I am quite pleased to say that there has been at least a dozen or so authentic (in my opinion, and in my opinion I know) barbecue places established here, and it’s great to see it happening, and we are all learning from each other, and life is better in Chi Town for it.

Photo courtesy of Dan Thompson

This is how it works. I get out my trusty (and ever-growing) list of Chicago barbecue buds, pick a place and a time (usually 3-4 weeks notice), send out an e-mail, and it’s game on. We all are busy, we all have lives and wives and work and family. Nevertheless, in small little flurries– the e-mails come back. Lists are made, information is passed along, arrangements are made.

Photo courtesy of Dan Thompson

I’ve tried to be organized and structured, on time and prepared, but nobody is here for that. But that does not mean we don’t want to be there and Q-ing. It means it is what it is, and we are who we are, and friends and barbecue folks aren’t about that. So far, we are about nothing, and loving every bite of it. Speaking for myself, I think it is the coolest thing that I can just call up my friends and wind up hanging out with some pretty damn good barbecue men and women.

Who? Barbecue restaurateurs, KCBS and MBN competition cooks, ribbers, backyard barbecue enthusiasts, a BBQ author, a couple of butchers and KCBS judges, and some new guys that I am just getting to know.

Photo courtesy of Dan Thompson


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