In a city known for its cheesesteaks, it can be difficult to find a beef brisket smoked to Midwestern perfection. Enter Anastasio Botsaris, the chef and owner of Phoebe's Bar-B-Q. Botsaris and his pit crew call forth a wide array of Oklahoma-style barbecue meats from the fires of their kitchen. They stress simplicity above all else, letting their smoked rotisserie chickens and pulled-pork sandwiches speak for themselves. They don't skimp on the sides, either, which include candied yams and collard greens, which are best washed down with a tall pint of barbecue sauce.
Fat Jack's BBQ?s proprietor Glenn Gross has always been passionate about barbecue. Starting at the age of 11, Glenn manned the grill at family cookouts, fine-tuning his technique and flavors over the years. He eventually brushed aside career paths in dentistry and music to claim his favorite job title?pitmaster.
In order to develop the combination of meats, rubs, and sauces that Fat Jack?s uses to this day, in the early ?90s, Glenn traveled to the nation's barbecue meccas?Texas, the Carolinas, Kansas City, and Memphis. He learned how to create dishes such as Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis?style ribs, and Texas beef brisket. Now, his rich blends of spice rubs and notes of smoke have won him more than 200 national and local awards including being winner of Burger Brawl 2013 - Best Burger in Philly, 3rd overall Best Burger in the World Food Championships, and being featured on Destination America's BBQ Pitmasters.
The windows of El Camino Real are painted with elaborate mini-murals: you’ll find Mexican wrestlers, goats, dragons and gunslingers all depicted in a row. This somewhat-boisterous but never off-putting Northern Liberties spot serves what might be called Tex-Mex and barbecue comfort-food staples, like huge plates of nachos, tacos that range from chicken to bacon, beef short-rib, pulled pork sandwiches and barbecue platters. A handful of less-expected items include vegetarian wings that will satisfy even the staunchest of meat eaters. The yellow stucco walls and banquettes lined with Mexican blankets might make you want to settle in to a Southwestern reverie with one of El Camino’s blood-orange margaritas.
Though his dishes once occupied the white-linen tablecloths of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants, Chef Gerald Dougherty now prefers making napkins messy with his signature recipes of rich, meaty barbecue fare. The former head chef of L'Aigla D'Or and Founders at the Bellevue, Chef Gerald currently oversees the pit at Little Louie's BBQ, a casual eatery he opened to satisfy his hankering for down-home grub. Not one to color within the lines, he draws on barbecue styles from across the country—think North Carolina, Kansas City, and Memphis—and smokes his meats over cherrywood, applewood, and hickory chips.
Little Louie’s dining room betrays the same down-home inspirations as its menu. Rustic lumber lines the countertops, and light fixtures reminiscent of branches illuminate the expansive space. If they can peel their eyes away from the beef brisket and pulled pork on their plates, guests will notice Butch Cassidy and Lone Ranger posters hanging from the walls, classic Western movies playing on the 70-inch flat-screen television, and outlaws discreetly taking down Wanted signs that bear their uncanny resemblances.