At MoMo's BBQ and Grill, sauces aren't just a messy byproduct of eating barbecue. Rather, they are spotlight-snatching costars, having pulled in 13 awards of excellence from the National Barbecue Association, highlighted by mango habanero's 2011 distinction as tops in the citrus class. Long before MoMo's gourmet sauces receive a call to action, though, their meaty counterparts are busy getting slow-smoked, in-house, with a combination of applewood and hickory. Seven days per week, finished creations arrive on the tables of diners in the form of Texas beef brisket and "high on the hog" racks of ribs. A selection of more than 100 bottled beers washes over satisfied taste buds, and every Friday, live blues bands infuse meals with passionate riffs and lyrics about the heartbreak of finishing a pulled-pork sandwich.
When mobile eatery The Little Black Truck closed its doors, it left behind a loyal following addicted to its slow-roasted Carolina-style pulled pork, half-pound burgers, and homemade sides. To appease The Little Black Truck's dispirited regulars and lonely frying baskets, the mobile cooks went stationary by opening Official BBQ & Burgers in a building on Lyters Lane. The simple 35-seat restaurant serves up a small menu, which includes smoked chicken wings, creole potato salad, and Grandma's chili, which is crafted from Angus beef and several secret ingredients.
The Railroad House's corner bar appeal and faithful airing of favored sporting events helped it earn the honor of being named best neighborhood bar in 2009 by Berks County Living magazine. Their 8 oz. Black Angus burgers beg for customization, with an abundance of complimentary extras that cover everything from spicy patty rubs to extra meats, cheeses, sauces, and more. The menu also offers chicken and cheese steak sandwiches and a variety of specialty hot sandwiches like the Country breaded steak with gravy, the fried cod fish, and the hot dog. In addition to televisions showcasing the latest backgammon tournaments, their bar also has non-sports-related entertainment aplenty, with trivia challenge events, open mic nights, and live music performances.
While most of us are still getting ready in the morning, Hall of Flame BBQ's grill masters have already began slow-smoking dry-rubbed portions of pulled pork and beef brisket. That’s because each meat takes 12 hours to smoke before it’s basted with from-scratch barbecue sauces. Diners can pair their meaty mains with classic from-scratch sides, such as mashed potatoes crowned with white pepper gravy and coleslaw.
Though the eatery’s cooks consider barbecue a kind of comfort food, they aren’t afraid to experiment. Hall of Flame’s signature bacon-wrapped beef frank, for instance, arrives topped with pulled pork, slaw, and cheese sauce. And each order of deep-fried wings comes tossed in your choice of 30 sauces, from Death by Garlic to black cherry habanero.
Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites—Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant’s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J’s penchant for the ocean—fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ‘n’ cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.