As Saturday's Pig & Whiskey approaches, a look at local barbecue
Published: July 27, 2011
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe 400 Monroe St., 313-965-4600; 23722 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-498-3000; 29244 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-351-2925: What began as a Creole-Cajun sort of establishment has now branched out in all directions, offering not just Nawlins-influenced fare but American and sushi as well. And Fishbone's has earned its reputation for doing things in a big way. The main event is their huge weekly brunch, and then there are those rich soup choices, including such specials as clam chowder (Fridays), lobster bisque (Saturdays) and roux-y gumbos. But then there's the barbecued meat, which includes baby-back ribs ($16 for a half-slap, $24 for a full) and roasted chicken.
Hogger's 2959 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-548-2400; eatathoggers.com: This little spot specializes mostly in carry-out orders, but also has some space for folks to dine in. Enjoy an order of baby-back ribs, slow-roasted, grilled and basted in the joint's signature sauce, four pieces for $7.49, or as much as a full slab for $21.99. There's also barbecued chicken, shredded chicken, and a wide variety of meaty sandwiches. Or get the "Feast" of four meats and two large sides for $23.99.
Lazybones Smokehouse 27475 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-775-7427; and 43203 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-247-7427; lazybonessmokehouse.net.: Our readers say this is the best barbecue joint in Macomb County. Why? Because this east side joint has sandwiches starting around $7 and $17.99 for a slab of ribs. But the prices get nicer at lunch every Wednesday; for $7.99, you get to stuff a three-compartment polystyrene container with choices that can range from smoked chicken to chopped pork. Lazybones boasts Black Angus beef, Grade-A fresh pork, and Amish country chickens, done broasted, pit-smoked or grill-ready for pick-up. And for those who want to throw a home party without running the grill, Lazybones can cater to your wishes, with party pans big enough to hold 100 ribs or the equivalent in pulled pork.
Lenny's Ribs and Chicken 15405 Gratiot Ave., Suite 100, Detroit; 313-527-0000: Years ago, it was Kenny's Ribs and Chicken; only the first letter in the name has changed. Located at Eight Mile Road, it's a big building with one level serving up hot ribs, chicken, fish and non-alcoholic beverages. (Hey, have a lemonade for once!) Most popular barbecue order: Rib tips!
Lockhart's 202 E. Third St., Royal Oak; 248-584-4227; lockhartsbbq.com: Lockhart's, named after a town reputed to be the barbecue capital of Texas, is a handsomely retrofitted space on the high-ceilinged first floor of an old bank building. In a stainless-steel open kitchen, the kitchen turns out reasonably priced, hefty portions. The main courses, served authentically on paper in metal trays and with a white bread sopper, involve brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, chicken and ham, and combinations thereof, all smoked ever so slowly over local white oak and hickory. One can sample most of the meats in the "special" combo of brisket, half-rack of ribs, sausage and pulled pork. Or if that mix is intimidating, a half-chicken and ribs or brisket and pulled pork are less daunting combos. Aside from the renditions of smoked meats, sandwich offerings also feature fried catfish, smoked salmon, and smoked chicken salad.
Milt's Gourmet Bar-B-Que 19143 Kelly Rd., Detroit; 313-521-5959: Just because it's gourmet doesn't mean you're not gonna get it on your shirt. The family-style restaurant seats 45, but it's more or less there for the carryout connoisseurs. Barbecued ribs with homemade sauce and desserts offer patrons finger-lickin' good 'cue for cheap.
Nunn's Barbecue Restaurant 19196 Conant St., Detroit; 313-893-7210: Another one of Detroit's old-line barbecue joints, Nunn's (or, Nunn's II as it's called; the first Nunn's burned down), churns out a steady diet of pit-style ribs cooked to perfection, all ready for your carry-out order. One rib aficionado we know says they're the best ribs on the east side.
Parks Old-Style Bar-B-Q 7444 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-873-7444: Tucked away from East Grand Boulevard on the edge of New Center and the old North End, Parks Old-Style has stood since the mid-1960s. Parks' trimmed ribs, $19.90 a slab, stand out because of their flavor. The vinegar accent to their fare helps it stand out. Proud owner Roderick I. Parks tells us "the sauce is a vinegar-based product and perhaps an acquired taste. It has, however, delighted the multitudes since 1964. Parks also features a 'sweet' sauce for the sensitive palate and an extremely hot sauce for the more venturesome." As for sides, Parks may not have greens, black-eyed peas or cornbread, but they have baked beans, peach cobbler that's sweet but not overpowering, a very cheesy mac 'n' cheese, and a terrific cole slaw, speckled with celery seed, full of flavor, and with a slightly al dente consistency to the cabbage. Parks is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, and 2-10 p.m. Sundays; closed Mondays.
Real Bar BQ 3695 Dix-Toledo Rd., Lincoln Park; 313-769-5010; realbarbq.com: Opened just this month, they tout their high-quality smoked meats, which include choice Angus beef, Southern-style ribs, chicken, turkey, sausage and pulled pork sandwiches, as well as a host of sides, including baked beans and mac 'n' cheese. The sandwiches are affordably priced — all less than $7. Their Smokehouse Combo Four offers four meats atop hand-cut fries for $24.99.
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