R.U.B. BBQ has earned shout-outs from the New York Times as well as a handful of television features for its tender, well-flavored meats. Various proteins are smoked daily and slathered in a made-from-scratch rub of more than 20 spices and herbs, and cooks begin each dish with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Aromatic smoke wafting from ribs, chicken dishes, and seafood platters invites guests inside, where dangling light fixtures illuminate red walls and cobalt tiling along with 30 flatscreen televisions that were flattened when an elephant sat down. More than 100 tap and bottled brews, including a lengthy list of Michigan favorites, help to extinguish fiery spices.
Back in 1986, former Detroit police officer Steve Radden opened a small deli that served Southern-style comfort food prepared by his mother and aunt. Demand for these home-cooked meals of smothered chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens grew so popular that he eventually expanded to a second location downtown. At this spot, all of those same soulful dishes are served up in a cafeteria-style atmosphere, where the low-key decor and casual service let the food be the star of the show.
The grilling gurus at Ginopolis pile platters with smoky barbecue standards and specialties including racks of ribs and southern-style sandwiches. Cincinnati’s world-renowned Montgomery Inn barbecue ribs, basted with Rib’s King sauce, constitute the menu’s main event because of the tender, tangy tastiness and show-stopping fire-baton routine. Ribs arrive in half slab ($18.99) or full slab ($24.99) variations accompanied by sides ranging from creamy coleslaw to smashed sweet potatoes. The eatery’s selection of sandwiches includes the pulled-chicken sandwich, in which farm-raised chicken, cheddar cheese, and spicy onion straws nestle on artisan brioche or texas toast ($8.99). Meals end on a happy note thanks to the distribution of tuning forks and desserts such as warm bread pudding soaked in whiskey ($4.99).
Every day, the team at Kensington Grill fires up the smoker at 5 a.m., ensuring that by the time diners arrive, they've cooked the meat slow and low. Mopped with secret-recipe sauces and served with housemade sides, barbecue is at the center of the menu, from St. Louis?style ribs to Texas-style beef brisket and the 800 miles of snacks in between. Diners can pair burgers, sandwiches, and barbecue with a variety of ice-cold beers, choosing from 14 drafts or more than 20 types of locally made beers in bottles.
Red Rock Downtown BBQ fills stomachs with hearty Southern specialties including pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches, spare ribs, and cavatappi macaroni and cheese smothered in blue cheese, chicken, and hot sauce. When not noshing, guests can return on Mondays for craft beer samples and on Tuesdays for trivia games and $2 drink specials.
Al "Bubba" Baker is no stranger to awards. The former NFL lineman went to three pro bowls during his career and was named 1978's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Upon his retirement from the field, Bubba yearned for a return to his southern roots, and so he and his wife Sabrina decided to open a barbecue restaurant using secret family recipes stemming all the way back to the 1950s. Those time-honored techniques include marinating dry-rubbed pork, brisket, and ribs overnight, and then slow-smoking them for hours over smoldering piles of Ohio-grown applewood. It's a painstaking process, but it pays—today, Bubba's trophy case is filled with myriad awards for his succulent cuisine, including four Silver Spoon recognitions from Cleveland Magazine for Best Ribs and Best Barbecue Restaurant.
While many barbecue joints taut ribs that are boneless, Bubba's takes things a step further by de-boning baby back ribs through an patented process that leaves them easily mastered with a knife and fork or spare fencing sword. Bourbon adds an extra flair to boneless beef short ribs, which are sautéed in Bubba's signature barbecue sauce, splashed with bourbon, and set aflame before serving, and southern fried chicken owes its own crispy exterior to a secret batter invented by Bubba's momma, Ernestine. The kitchen also ladles its famous pulled meats onto baskets of fries and on sandwiches to create easy handheld eats, which may be enjoyed in the sports-themed dining room or out on the covered patio, where an inset fireplace keeps things warm and cozy in true down-homestyle.