Eli’s Barbecue,  Riverside, Cincinnati, OH

I had the good fortune of eating at Eli’s on Riverside today, and was not disappointed. The menu is not fussy and the food is good. The basics are pulled pork and sliced turkey sandwiches, ribs, and hotdogs. The hotdogs struck me as weird then I reminded myself,  we’re in Cincinnati,  however they are serving all beef hotdogs which to me is a touch of blasphemy in Porkopolis.

The pulled pork came with a splash of their one and only sauce,  a reasonably thick red with a gentle kick. What we liked about the pork and the ribs is that neither was overly sugar coated. The pork was peppery, but not biting with cayenne or black, I presume the majority was white pepper. Whatever the mix, it is good. 

The ribs had a unique flavor. I kind of think it’s poultry seasoning, or at least a healthy dose of thyme and sage. They are dry rubbed and super tender; we highly recommend the ribs and pork, though no one tried the turkey. 

I and my son give the beans 2 thumbs up. They are fully savory and the cumin is a defining spice. We highly recommend them. The slaw was good, I’ve had better and I’ve had worse, again not heavy on the sugar which I appreciate, but certainly creamy and crunchy. The macaroni and cheese was not my jam,  as my son likes to say these days. It seems some joints want to try to make a nostalgic take on, with their own twist, of Stouffer’s mac and cheese, but they should all stop and just make good mac and cheese. This tasted like it had a sharp white cheddar, but had that gooey, starchy consistency of underwhelming freezer aisle mac. I say pass, unless of course, that is your jam. Wish I had tasted the jalapeno cheese grits instead. Mashed potatoes are also on the menu. I didn’t even consider them, never seen such a thing at a bbq restaurant. I fund that offering a bit odd. 

The atmosphere is good,  lots of drawings on the wall, of local Cincinnati celebrities and sports folks, among others, and Star Wars characters. Some antiques in the window and a record player spinning LPs. Today it was bluegrass covers of Metallica, but there was a bin full of records for staff to play.  There is a small inside dining room and a lot of picnic tables outside under a roof. We would definitely mane return trips to Eli’s. They have 4 locations, I recommend you try one. 

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Good Smoke BBQ, East Rochester, NY

Ok, so it’s been way too long since I have posted anything new, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating some bbq from time to time!

The latest visit was to Good Smoke BBQ in East Rochester, NY. They prominently display over 100 trophies and awards for competitions and best-ofs, and most appeared to be from just the last few years or so.

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We started with the Pig Candy, basically a big pile of bacon tossed in their rib glaze sauce. The bacon was pretty crisp and the sauce added a bit of sweetness, for the candy effect. My only complaint was that the bacon wasn’t hot. We were there just after they opened, I would hope this was made fresh, but it was surprisingly cool, to lukewarm at best. I think hot bacon would have caramelized the glaze, and frankly I just like hot bacon.

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Sauces, they have six, all pretty good in my opinion. I liked the vinegar sauce the best. It was a little darker, so not as much like a typical North Carolina vinegar sauce. I swear I tasted Coca-Cola in it, maybe they let the Coke go flat and add it to the sauce…I don’t know, I may experiment with that myself.

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All in all the food was good, too better. Certainly better than a lot of the typical Georgia style that I am regularly subjected to. I would put them close the being in the class with some of the standout joints in Georgia. Ribs were tender, seasoned, and cooked right. Mac-n-Cheese was good, but could have used a little flavor boost, salt or sharper cheese, our some hot sauce. I had the pulled pork sandwich, it seems they dip or soak their pulled pork in a sauce, otherwise I just don’t know how it had the color it did. It was good, but once all the food was delivered, I felt like I didn’t really have use for the 6 bottles of sauce on the table…Maybe had I just gotten a meat plate and not the sandwich they would not pre-sauce it. Cornbread squares are sweet and cakey, not my preference, but still tasty. I still think Weaver D’s in Athens, GA makes the best corn muffins.

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I definitely recommend Good Smoke BBQ. I wish they would pump in some smoke scents into the restaurant, it was noticeably void of they delicious smell of smoking meat. The smokers are outside, and I was able to catch a whiff before we left, to know it was real, but yeah, the missing scent in the air was a noticeable void in the ambiance. I will also say they have a lot, but not too much on the menu so you can get a burger, or grilled chicken or fried bologna, or Cuban sandwich and take dining companions that may want more choices that pulled pork or ribs.

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Anna’s BBQ, Kirkwood

I made my first visit to Anna’s BBQ in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta this weekend, and I have to say it was quite good, definitely work a visit.

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Anna’s is clearly a family run joint with family photos on the wall and mama in the kitchen cooking up some good ‘cue and sides. I had the ribs combo with pulled pork, Mac-n-cheese and collards. The ribs had a great smoke ring and were almost falling off the bone…some bbq judge might think they released the bone to easily, but I was the judge Saturday and I judge them delicious.

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The pulled pork was tender, but with some great crispy bites from the outside of the butt. They put sauce on the pork and ribs, and there’s only one bbq sauce on the table, aside from a bottle of hot sauce. If you want to control your sauce, make sure to ask for the meat dry. However, the sauce, simple as it was too choose from one, was good; A little sweet, a little tangy, and nothin’ to shake a stick at. It was a good compliment to the meat.

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Sides were good too, the Mac-n-cheese was a tad bland for my liking, but still good. I hit it with a dash of salt and was good to go. It’s real baked Mac, not some of the Velveeta slop some places try to pass off as macaroni and cheese. The collards were meaty, and a dash of pepper vinegar from the table bottle made them even better. My big old plate of food came with just one small cornbread muffin, I wish I had three it was so good, this is my kind of cornbread, reminded me of the muffins Weaver D makes over in Athens.

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All-in-all, my first impression of Anna’s is that it’s a solid bbq joint where you will leave with a full belly and satisfied taste buds. The menu is fairly broad with ribs, pork, chicken, rib tips, wings, and I think brisket. A sign on the wall said they have a fried chicken special on Fridays, 3 full wings fried, and some sides. I want to go back for the fried wings!

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First spring ribs on the smoker

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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Rochester, NY

It’s been a year and a half since I went to Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, NY, but I remember is was good enough that I would go back! I remember noting the ribs were quite good, as were many of the sides. I think the pulled pork left something to be desired, but all in all a good place to eat BBQ. I had to have some faith going into it based upon the size of that wood pile in downtown Rochester! they weren’t just keeping the place warm with it.


Home smoked St. Louis ribs.

And then there were delicious ribs.


backyard bbq ribs

smoked some ribs yesterday afternoon – they turned out pretty darn good.