When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.
The owners of Bobbi Sue BBQ are proud to hail from the South. To pay homage to the heritage of Southern food—with its focus on wholesome ingredients and slow cooking—they draw on family recipes to smoke beef brisket and ribs, brine pork shoulder for an entire day, and deep-fry hand-battered chicken. After their dinner guests chow down on classic barbecue dishes and a veritable who's who of starters and sides, ranging from chili and fried pickles to collards and fried green tomatoes, they can complete meals with red velvet cake or deep-fried Oreos.
Moby Rick Baum and Nathan Baum—the father-son duo behind Moby Rick's Bar-B-Q—strum up a menu of sauce-laden ribs, chicken tenders, wings, and burgers in a rock 'n' roll themed establishment. Patrons can order wings slathered in one of nine sauces ($8 for 10) or combine dressings for an extra burst of flavor that captivates taste buds with spicy aromas and rousing motivational speeches. Entrees such as the hickory-smoked spare ribs ($11 for a half rack; $18 for a full rack) and hand-breaded chicken tenders ($9) snuggle up to texas garlic toast and a choice of two sides, including corn on the cob and baked potatoes. Chefs assemble the gigantic Superman Bar-B-Q burger from a 1-pound beef patty crowned with pulled baby-back-rib meat, bacon, and enough barbecue sauce to plaster napkins with a kryptonite restraining order ($14).
Most barbecue joints slather their food in one type of sauce?the smoky Texas style, the sweet Memphis style, or the vinegary North Carolina style. That?s not the case at Red's Backwoods BBQ. There, six signature sauces from various regions coat fall-off-the-bone ribs, slow-cooked pulled pork, and juicy chicken.
The chefs also use a secret rub to bring out the flavor of their homemade gator bites. And though the large portions of meat and two sides offer filling meals by themselves, taste buds pine for decadent Southern sweets such as housemade banana pudding, Kentucky bourbon pecan pie topped with scoops of ice cream, and frothy root-beer floats that harken back to a simpler time when everyone moved at a slower pace and rode dinosaurs everywhere.
Lucille's Bad to the Bone BBQ slathers on the delicious with its signature grilled dishes. Its roughshod renegade chili ($5.25) or luscious split pea soup with pulled pork ($4.25) will warm up the palate enough for it to take off its tear-away windbreaker, and the crispy chicken salad, with its buttermilk-battered chicken, crispy noodles, bacon, and honey barbecue dressing, will exercise crunch muscles ($10.99). The best of both worlds, combining half a rack of baby back with half a rack of St. Louis–style ribs, will coat taste buds in its toothsome sauciness ($19.99), and the variety of blackened, grilled, or fried fish will transport the sea's savoriness to local stomachs ($13.99+). Barbecue buffs who like to protect their fingers from an onslaught of sauce with shields of wheat can chomp on the buffalo chicken wrap with blue cheese ($8.99), the mahi Reuben ($9.99), or the barbecue sandwich in one of three ways: pulled pork, beef brisket, or pulled chicken ($8.99).