Barbecue (BBQ) in the Greater Boston Area

Too sweet? I’ve not tried the Smoke Shop because that is my impression from reviews.

The Smoke Shop is OK BBQ, but quite overpriced. Even before Covid and inflation increased bills while shrinking portions, the Smoke Shop was ahead of its time in picking your pocket.

It’s been called designer BBQ on this board and I enjoy that term.

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Smoke Shop too sweet, and texture not great. We stopped trying a few years ago (pre pandemic) so I have no idea what it’s like now. Not just the pulled pork, but the sides and other dishes just didn’t work for us. If we were interested in the whiskey menu, we might still be trying because it’s so close to us, but I don’t like whiskey of any kind and my husband wasn’t impressed by the single malt scotch; he’s not interested in bourbon, etc.

The Porch in Medford had, the last time we tried pre-pandimic, had an interesting array of house made sauces that were good and one wasn’t too sweet (can’t remember which one). The pulled pork was reasonably good but not worth making a trek for.

Just checked Highland Kitchen menu. We did like the pulled pork with NC vinegar sauce years ago; I mentioned in a previous post that a server urged us away from it because “it’s too sour and people don’t like it.” We did. It’s no longer on the menu now, apparently.

Sweet Cheeks the pulled pork was fairly good but expensive; the biscuits great; the sauces all too sweet for us.

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BBQ is right in my wheelhouse. As a home smoker I don’t get out to a ton of BBQ places. Yes, the locals seem to prefer overly sweet sauce, and at best average places like Redbones. I tend to ask for my sauce on the side, just in case, and I look for NC sauce descriptions instead of Memphis for example.
BT’s is simply fantastic. Nothing in the Metro Boston area compares. I think Smoke Shop is highly overrated. The pork belly is nice, and a good selection of overpriced bourbons. Firefly’s in Marlborough can range from sublime to disappointing, but usually worth a shot. Good fried chicken too. Pit Stop in Mattapan was always solid, but I haven’t been in years. Same with M&M in Dorchester. American BBQ in Rowley, and Rusty Can in Byfield, are pretty good. Blue ribbon has three locations and is consistently pretty good. Tennessee’s is a notch below but OK.


Come autumn, Treehouse Brewing will be in Tewksbury at the former Tewksbury Country Club, just down the street from Bobby & Jack’s Memphis BBQ. Both a mile from my house. :grin: Haven’t yet eaten at B&J’s, but a coworker says they’re pretty decent (although he tends to be a quantity over quality, so YMMV.)


One of those lists on Eater, updated May 10

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I just thought of another that I believe I read about on CH awhile back: Hubba’s Real Pit BBQ in Westford on Littleton Road - in a trailer behind a florist shop. One man show. I’ve not been but I keep meaning to go there when I go to Home Goods around the corner.

They were featured on WCVB’s Chronicle as well back in 2018. Hubba’s starts at around 1:25 in the video.


Thanks. I was struck that #9 on their list, “The Don’s BBQ” is at 93 School St. in Watertown, the former location of the great Strip T’s. Hope they’re worthy of those shoes.

I wish him luck, but $68.99 for a rack of ribs, a “choice of second meat” and 2 sides? Obscene. That isn’t going to get me in the door.


Two Meat $20.99 Your choice of two meats + 2 sides and cornbread. This is in line with everyone else.

Yes, that option is comparably priced. But it doesn’t explain the rack of ribs platter price. Firefly’s is $39 for a full slab, 2 sides, and cornbread. I suppose the devil is in the details of what the “second meat” is at Don’s, but it seems likely to be no more than a half pint of brisket or pulled pork.

HUBBA’S REAL PIT BBQ is terrific. Been there a couple of times. You have to really look for it, but once found, you’ll be so happy you did. Here’s what one reviewer said:
“On a recent visit to Westford, MA, I was introduced to a one man BBQ operation that served a BBQ brisket that would easily win first place in the Great Lenexa Barbecue Battle (Google it). As a part judge there and a regular diner at the best of the KCMO area BBQ places, if you are within 100 miles of Westford, don’t miss Hubba’s BBQ” - W. Falk, Overland Park, KS

Be sure to review their hours and days open. Also on weekends, they close as soon as they sell out.


Gonna have to get my butt out to Westford to get some Bubba’s brisket, easily my favorite BBQ item. BT’s and BT Fried Chicken and BBQ are the best I’ve eaten in the Northeast. I’ve not eaten at Franklin in Austin, but several places in Kansas City, MO, which were the best I’ve ever eaten. Blue Ribbon still has good burnt ends, but the last time we got food there, the collards were inedible due to way too much salt and the mac and cheese was a big bowl of meh. I’ll also have to try The Don’s BBQ as well, since they’re much closer to me.


Today I picked up lunch from Hubba’s BBQ truck in Westford, after hearing promising stuff on this thread. Thanks for the tip, @LindaWhit and @SuzieCK!

Plated at home on our kitchen counter: Texas brisket on the left. Pulled pork on the right. Hubba’s beans flavored with pork and cole slaw as the sides. Hubba’s North Carolina-inspired vinegar BBQ sauce on the left and their hot BBQ sauce on the right.

Beef brisket was my husband’s and my favorite of the two. Tender, smoky, and just a little fatty. The tender pulled pork was sliced rather than shredded—not the mushy mess you too often see. Both meats were unsauced, so we could add any of Hubba’s sauces to our liking.

The wood-smoked meat is the star, so next time I’ll probably just pick up a pint of brisket for a later dinner at home. First time here so I have yet to try the ribs, though.

Be prepared to wait if you go. This place has built a loyal and hungry following. I arrived at 11:30 AM on a rainy Thursday and left with my order at noon. A man I talked to tried getting lunch yesterday—opening day for the 2022 season—but didn’t have an hour to wait (waiting in line + waiting for order). Drizzly day today was in his favor.

Hubba’s is a food truck with a smoker and a couple of picnic tables in the grass out back. I could see doing this followed by a short drive down Rt. 110 to Kimball’s ice cream in Littleton if you wanted a food field trip.


Thanks for the intel! The meat does look luscious…


Thznks for the reviewing! I’m going to have to make it there soon. If it was that busy on a rainy Thursday, I can only imagine how long the wait would be on a weekend. Hmmm…I’m taking Friday, July 1st off for a long holiday weekend…might have to plan a trip down to Home Goods in the morning. :wink:


Had the FK BBQ again today, this time for a group. It was vastly better, and several things were superb.

Among the superb dishes were the rice & beans (very flavorful this time, with nicely textured rice, beautifully cooked beans and loaded with crunchy bits of diced celery and scallions), the fennel slaw (very finely slivered cabbage and fennel, with fennel fronds sprinkled through, and a slight touch of vinegar), the pulled chili-fennel chicken (nice bite), the fried chicken (nice crunch and very moist inside), the corn bread, and, as always, the pork sausage.

Among the good dishes were the pulled pork, the brisket (not sweet this time), the bean-less chili (with an interesting caramelly taste), the grits, and the mac&cheese (although if you like more gooey, cheesy versions, this one’s not for you).

The beans were still on the sweet side, but the bbq sauce was more tangy than sweet. All-in-all, an outstanding meal.


My thoughts on BBQ in New England (My tastes were probably influenced by a few years spent in Austin Texas, Your Mileage May Vary):
BT’s was a revelation. It has lost a step, but it is still one of my favorite spots in New England and when it is on, it is wonderful. When my wife drives to New York City, I ask her to pick up BBQ from BTs. I prefer it reheated to anything local.
Black Diamond BBQ in Morrisville, VT - Has been wonderful in my 3 visits (although when I had their Q at Stowe Farmer’s Market, I was less impressed). They also have great beer on tap. BTs and Black Diamond are the 2 spots in New England that I will drive out of my way for.
Vermont Maple BBQ seems to careen from disaster to disaster and they are taking the year off, but when they have a stable - they can be great.
Redbones is around the corner from me: They are wildly unreliable, usually OK, infrequently bad and infrequently great. Usually fun.
Smoke Shop is solid - never a wow for me.
Blue Ribbon in Arlington makes me sad. 15 years ago, I loved them. They are not bad now.
Firefly’s - If I lived near them, I’d go often. They can be a bit of crap shoot.
I’ll have to try Hubba’s
Sweet Cheeks Enjoyable, but nothing to motivate me to go out of my way.
I still miss: Soul Fire and Uncle Pete’s.


Only trouble with Hubba’s (and their Q is excellent), is that they only have three sides and they count the teensy-tiny cube of cornbread as one of them. The others are cole slaw and baked beans. The beans are the best of all. Not sweet. Very porky. Buy a quart of them and bring them home.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr