BBQ is a wonderful thing. And while most great BBQ is nowhere near LA, there are certainly great spots to be found. A newcomer on the scene just recently popped up in Culver City (in a corner where restaurant seem to die), calling itself Chop Daddy’s. The place has all the makings of trying to become a chain, which isn’t always the best when you’re looking for authenticity, but all I cared about was getting some good ‘cue.
I once swore I would never return to Dallas. That’s because I went for a weekend and it snowed and the whole city shut down. Plus I was coming from Michigan and hoping for, like, good weather. Alas, I was unable to keep that promise and recently returned, swearing I would eat some good BBQ before leaving. Thus, I found myself at Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke, which would never top any lists of the best spots in Dallas, but was close by and traffic in Dallas is stupid.
When you name a restaurant Grassroots, you have to assume that meat lovers will be fearful. Aside from awesome 60s music, the name evokes a hippy dippy vegan spot. Yet, it is anything but. Sure, this Scottsdale spot caters to the veggie-loving crowd, but it caters to unvegans no less so. Plus, let’s not forget that it does harken to the 60s music crowd.
On my rapid journey across the country once again, my buddy suggested stopping at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Having traversed this path before, I was eager to get back to Gates, but he said this would be worth it and I deserved it because it was my birthday. Since he hails from Kansas City and knows good food I took his word.
To long road between Pittsburgh and Upstate New York doesn’t exactly run through the most populated part of the country, and when it comes to stopping for (non-fast) food, the options are pretty much State College or Scranton. Due to hunger and a desire to get a taste of another Big Ten campus, I made State College my destination and found Carvers Deli & Barbecue.
I don’t exactly come from a family that is into fancy food. This may be apparent in my reviews, but if not it should be apparent in the fact that for my mom’s 60th birthday all she wanted to do was eat at Heroes in Waterford, Michigan. You see, Heroes isn’t in any way a bad place, but it is at its basest level a bar and grill. A bar and grill, however, with whitefish that is too good for its own good.
Clarkston is not a part of Michigan I ever found myself in while spending the first 22 years of my life in the state. Yet, Union Woodshop wasn’t there for any of those 22 years either. It’s there now though, a modern BBQ spot fully endorsed by hometown hero Kid Rock (although not owned by him in any way despite popular contrary opinion), and thus I finally made my way there as well. And it should probably be noted that while I don’t really listen to Kid Rock’s music, he does seem like he would like the same food as me.
BBQ seems to be a pretty big deal in the South, and this is just as true in New Orleans despite the French influence. Supposedly the best place for it is The Joint, but for some stupid reason The Joint has chosen to not be open on Sundays. As a current business school student I can’t comprehend this, but we had a backup plan and made our way to VooDoo BBQ in the Garden District/Uptown.
Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood is not exactly the part of town you want to find yourself in when the sun goes down. So naturally, when I was told of a BBQ place there called Showcase, I assumed it had to be good. It’s not exactly easy to find, unless you’re looking for a sign that says, “Don’t Shoot, We Love You” on the corner of what is otherwise a residential area. But once you’ve found it, the big smokers out on the sidewalk tell you that you’ve come to the right place.
Pittsburgh has its fair share of sketchy neighborhoods and Homewood is unquestionably one of them. But, according to a friend the neighborhood also has the best BBQ spot in town. So, with potential bodily harm awaiting us, we headed to The Dream BBQ, which can easily be spotted from a distance because they do their smoking right on the street in converted 8 gallon drums.