Tag Archives: BBQ

Restaurant Review: Sweet Cheeks Q

Courtesy of Sweet Cheeks Q Site

As a former Texan, I’m cursed. No really. I have incredibly high standards when it comes to barbeque and Tex-Mex/Mexican food. The Bostonians I’ve met are always willing to provide recommendations for places to try – places that they LOVE. It’s hard to for me to try these and then report back that I didn’t really like them. (Honestly though, since I’m half Southern/half Mid-Western, it’s really tough for me to tell someone I didn’t enjoy their favorite BBQ joint as much as they did.)

I’m not saying that I have never found Mexican or BBQ that I liked, it’s just really hard to compare to the source. It’s the same with Boston’s seafood or clam chowder. There is probably no way that you’d find such incredible dishes in the South or Mid-West. It’s just not what they’re known for.

However, I was incredibly excited to find out that former Top Chef contestant Tiffani Faison’s had helped start a restaurant that focused on Texas-style BBQ, I was over the moon excited to try it.

Despite having to wait about 20-30 minutes to grab a table, I came pretty hungry – and the food came quickly! My table started with the homemade biscuits which came with honey butter, the hush puppies and fried okra. The biscuits were my absolute favorite part of the apps we ordered, with the fried okra coming in second. It just reminded me of being in Texas and I couldn’t get enough.

For my main course, I had the ribs with black-eyed peas and potato salad. The ribs were really good – and Sweet Cheeks provides three different sauces on every table: hot, traditional and vinegar-based. I went with the traditional but if you like spicy sauces, you’ll probably enjoy the hot version.

All in all, the trip was awesome. The wait was absolutely worth it, even if at the time, I was dying for food. I loved the atmosphere. Even the bathrooms were funky, as the woman’s contained framed photos of Dolly Parton, burning candles and a sticker vending machine.

I’ll definitely be returning for a BBQ fix and hopefully, comparing it to a few other joints in the area like Blue Ribbon. Next time, I’ll try to save room for dessert. The key word being TRY.

Update: This post was originally written in early January. Since that time I have been back to Sweet Cheeks, and tried the pork belly (OMG) and the pecan chocolate pie turnover (whoa!). All I can say is that I ate way too much – and it was still totally awesome.

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Activity Time: Phantom Gourmet’s BBQ Beach Party

Phantom Gourmet's BBQ Beach Party!

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach party. Who is the Phantom Gourmet and why is he holding such a tasty party? The Phantom Gourmet is a local TV and radio show out of Boston, where a secret team of reviewers judge restaurants around the New England area and three hosts report on how the latest culinary cuisines stack up. The BBQ Beach Party is one of several local events the show holds where top BBQ contenders are asked to showcase their finest ribs, brisket and pulled pork for the city. Of course, there is also live music, beer/wine and appearances from the Phantom Gourmet hosts.

Since I’m from the South and am a BBQ lover (yes, the stereotype is correct on that one), the event had been recommended to me since I moved last year. The seven featured BBQ joints were all winners of a slew of national prizes and represented various areas of the country. Of course, nothing will beat Saltlick in Driftwood, Texas for me but it doesn’t hurt to get some good BBQ now and again.

Out of the seven stations, I was able to sample ribs from five stands. Honestly, my favorite was Jack’s Down Home BBQ out of Philadelphia, PA. It had the best cooked ribs of the five both in flavor and texture. The best bang for the buck was Johnson’s BBQ out of Chesapeake, VA. They had the most meat on the ribs, which were HUGE! I was probably most disappointed in Big Show BBQ out of Kansas City. I will however say that these ribs were probably cooked the most traditional, as they were the only ones where the meat was so tender that it fell off the bone. However, taste-wise, they didn’t really do it for me. The Texas Thunder BBQ stand was also good but not great. I hold Texas BBQ in high regard – so I probably judged it fairly harshly though it just wasn’t the best of the lot.

All in all, it was a delicious event and I left with what I like to refer to as the “meat sweats.” I thought all of the BBQ was good and I would definitely attend again next year. It was also nice to have a little taste of home right in my own backyard.

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