So I got a chance to go to Bartlesville, Ok for a business trip

second (1 of 11) I am sure if you know the area in anyway you will know where I was or what I was doing there. I will leave that part of the research up to you. First thing that sprung to mind for me was “I’m going to get some great BBQ while there.”

I did my research and found the two places that I wanted to try:

 

RibCity

Dink’s BBQ

 

Why these two? Well, RibCity sounds like I would like it as if you have read any of my articles I love Ribs. RibCity was well rated and right outside my hotel so it was on the list. The next was Dink’s as it looked like the kind of place that was going to be great. I have looked at the reviews, looked at the pictures and it looked like a major winner.

First we start with RibCity the first night I was there, got off the plane drove up from Tulsa and I was hungry. My order was Rib’s with three second (6 of 11)sides; I will say that it was a big bag full of food. The place was newer and looked like a chain, had the old school look, but it was mostly new. Service was great on togo as well. Took the food back to my hotel room and went to town, or so I thought.

The Ribs were way over done in my opinion, past fall off the bone, and did not have much rub on them at all. I was disappointed in the dry, the low flavor rib. I have to tell you if your called RibCity my expectations are much higher than this. Sides where what you expect, mac and cheese, beans and roll. I was ok with the sides, but overall the experience was fair.

Second day I had a customer dinner so I did not have a chance to try the next place and the day after I was wondering if I would have enough time to be able to get my BBQ fix in.

Some of my meetings got over early and I was able to check out of the hotel, get my bags packed, changed out of a suit and tie into jeans and T. Off to Dinks!

I was encouraged when I pulled up, as it was an old school, old building BBQ joint with lots of cars. These are all good signs to get started. I parked and mad my way inside; first thing I noticed is they were settling T-shirts with the name of the place on it. I am feeling good about this, even better when they sit me down and tell me its ALL YOU COULD EAT RIB NIGHT! Well, you do not have to twist my arm. Ribs please!second (2 of 11)

First plate comes with typical sides and I start into some Spares. They had more flavor than the last place, but not a great flavor. More rub, it was OK at best and the ribs were cooked better, but still not great. Candidly, I have had a better rack of ribs at Chills… I didn’t fill up too much and they told me the cobbler was great so I went for the Cherry Cobbler and I will say that it was the best thing I ate the whole time at either place.

 

Overall, maybe I set my expectations too high, maybe I like my ribs a little more rubbed and cooked competition style. My trip did not produce what I was looking for so I was bummed.

My solution was to come home, do two racks of Spares my way, Vegas Cut, and share them with my wife. Ah, much better!

 

Brady’s Backyard Grill Review – Safety Harbor, FL

Brady’s Backyard Grill – Safety Harbor, FL

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Well, this is a place that I have wanted to try for quite a while – first if you don’t know Safety Harbor, FL it’s one of the coolest little cities in the Tampa Bay area. You have a marina, large dock into the bay, cool downtown that is very eclectic with shops and bars… and every third Friday night they close down Main Street and have a big party with music, food, vendors and so forth. It’s really cool.

http://www.cityofsafetyharbor.com/index.aspx?nid=72

With that said I have walked by this BBQ Brady’s many times. It’s hard not too due to the big PIG hanging out front.

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Also that fact that it has an indoor / outdoor experience as you could see there is a bar that sits on the side walk as well as a few tables and they overlook a full bar and into the shop.

Here is their menu: http://www.bradysbackyardbbq.com/menu

I opted to grab a table even though it was big and I was by myself I normally don’t like to make a big mess for the staff but there were a few people there and they all seemed like locals which is totally cool most of the time but I just wasn’t in the mood today.

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The inside is very cool – it’s a checker tablecloth kinda vibe with white paper over the tables… just what you would expect on top of the cool old signs and bbq restaurant type of genre. I thought it was a really cool looking place.

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I have started to really look at my ordering after a few reviews, which one is the sweat tea – I will now from here on out order sweet tea due to a little disagreement with some people about Diet Coke vs. Pepsi in certain parts of the country. I understand the fight but don’t really want to get into it. So the first thing I will say is this is the closes thing that I have tasted to North Carolina Sweet Tea in anywhere I have visited lately. It was really sweet but not to the point where your fillings would hurt…. I grade it really high on the lists of the best around.

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I never know exactly what to order but I love ribs as I have started many times that is where I normally start it’s my best category and my ribs are something that people always ask for when then come to my house.

Just to give you a view here are my ribs:

perfect bite

The perfect Rib

So I think I made my point well enough through many posts ☺

I always ask what they recommend and try to order that which was Brisket from the waitress. I love GOOD brisket and I hate bad brisket so it’s a big risk for me to try and review but what the heck they suggested and I went for it – Spares/Brisket and the sides that she recommended were Dill Mac Salad and Cornbread Pudding… Which all sounds great

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So – here is the plate of food and let’s get into the good part –

The Ribs is where I started and I will stay that wasn’t the best place to start I thought they were big and had a great look – they were cooked properly but there tenderness was a 6-7 and the taste was a 7 in my book. They were fatty and it could be because the bones I got were from the end not the middle and that happens. I normally cut down the fat a little more.

I reluctantly moved onto the brisket – again this is something I’m always concerned about ordering and my first bite surprised me… I had to step back and try it again. I think I finished the whole portion of brisket at that time. It was sitting on top of a slide of fresh white bread (as well as the ribs had their own). The brisket was moist, had a nice flavor, a little spice to the sauce but not too much… I would tell you that it was easily the best brisket I have had in Florida since living here.

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Happily sitting back after the brisket experience I moved to the sides – the Dill Marconi Salad was something I was looking forward to as I love both Mac Salad and Dill – I will say that it was a smaller portion and had good flavor but the one thing I would have added was a little more mayo. Just a tick on the dry side and I tend to over mayo stuff so maybe it’s just me and I’m being picky but that was the one thing I would say.

The CornBread Pudding… um… I don’t know what or how they mad this stuff but it was CRACK good. You could sell this on street corners. I would only complain that there was a small portion on the plate and I would have eaten a full plate of this. It was amazingly good… I mean GREAT! They should really figure out a way to get this out in front of door and pass it out to people walking by you would get so much business from this alone.

My overall experience at Brady’s was a good one – I don’t put a rating number on these things but just try to tell my story. The Venue, The Food, The Sides and Sweet Tea would and will make me come back many times…. I’m not sure I’m ready to say it’s the best BBQ I have had in Tampa since there are many other places to still try but I will tell you they set the bar so far on Brisket and Sides.

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Kojak’s House of Ribs Review – Tampa, FL

Kojaks House of Ribs
http://kojaksbbq.net
Address:
2808 Gandy Blvd.
Tampa, FL, US 33611
Phone: 813-837-3774

March 3rd - 365 - RIBS

While on vacation this past week one of my quests was to spend some time at Spring Training games here in Florida the only challenge was that I had a few things I wanted to get done around the house as well as it was unseasonably cold here and I know to most 40-50s sound like a head wave to me its not ☺

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I looked at the schedule each morning and everyday I had been to the stadiums already for the games I was semi interested in. So instead I worked on my list of projects at home and decided I would do some Tampa BBQ tasting. I had several places I wanted to try but Kojak’s had been calling me for some time. I had driven past it one day by accident turning off of Bayshore onto Gandy and whenever I see a sign for RIBs my heart always flutters a little. My favorite order on BBQ menus is Spareribs.

Now if you don’t know my qualifications and found this article on Google or Bing you could search my other pages but needless to say I’m a KCBS and FL BBQ Judge as well as have attended several cooking schools (Myron Mixon’s being the most famous). I have judged 30-40 contests including Grilling in Mesquite, NV and the Lakeland, FL Pigfest to name just a couple you might have heard of. I have three smokers at my house, cook almost every weekend and I know BBQ ☺

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Enough about me – on to Kojak’s House of Ribs….

So first of all pulling up to Kojak’s the parking lot is full of cars, which to me is always a good sign. It’s is an old white South Tampa style house with a great wrap around porch. Very cool looking building with old school picnic tables and fans above. Very clean, very retro looking just a cool environment outside – for me again it was a little cold so I opted to eat inside.

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Inside could be even a cooler experience – older house with great old hard wood floors and small tables in each room. I went to the left into the small room with the fireplace, which I assumed was a dinning or living room at one time. I told the lady at the front where you could either order your togo or grab a table it was my first time and she gave me a menu. Since I normally bring a camera and I am snapping a few pictures of the place I suspect they know I am writing about the BBQ or the experience but who knows.

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Looking over the menu I of course was going to order ribs since I mean that is the name of the place and was trying to figure out a 2 or 3 item combination. I went for 3 what the heck I’m on vacation – Spareribs, Chopped Pork (their most popular I was told) and Chopped Beef. The Chopped came in their special blend of sauces so I assumed a rub and light sauce which was fine. The waitress – and let me say the service as wonderful. Oh I forgot – a Sweet Tea to get started as well… Their Sweet Tea was really nice – not overpowering sweet but enough you could taste the tea and the sweet… really nice.

Sides I always forget about looking at because I’m so ready for BBQ but I also consider that having a great BBQ restaurant you must have great sides… you are ordering a plate of food while when I’m judging at a contest I’m only judging meat… restaurant to me is a little different. The food, the venue, the service and the overall experience to me are important. In a contest I’m in a big room that is normally used for something else and is setup with tables just for this one day (or two) but a restaurant is setup for me to want to come back over and over.

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Back to the food ☺ Getting sidetracked a lot this morning while writing this post.

Choose from Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Green Beans, Apple Sauce, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad or Parsley Potatoes… Again I was so interested in the BBQ I forgot to look. So the waitress was nice enough to help me her recommendations were the Parsley Potatoes and the Baked Beans which both sounded wonderful to me.

One other side note about the venue is you are very close to McDill Air Force Base so you get a lot of soldiers in camo in the restaurant – that tells me two things one is it must be good because soldiers know food and I am quite sure they will keep it safe from any issues that might arise. Thank you to all our military for your service!

So almost 800 words and now my food comes ☺

Now this is a plate full of food – exactly what I would expect large amount of sides and large amount of BBQ. There were three sauce options on the table, regular, sweet and hot. I couldn’t take it any longer so I dug into the ribs – first bite was to check tenderness and it was a clean bit with just the perfect amount of tug to know that they knew where they were doing so a second bite leads me to my tasting of the ribs, which were great. Nice smooth rub not over spiced or over rubbed and they were dry ribs (moist of course dry) so no sauce or glaze but that is just fine. Ribs were spot on and very happy…

The Pork and Beef were the mystery to me… now this could just be me but they were way over sauced. They were covered and then sitting in a pool of sauce. I was surprised by how much sauce there was and wondered why you would even put more on the table… but I tired both. Honestly at the beginning I had to look to see which was pork and which was beef – it was hard to tell at first. To me – I want my BBQ to taste like what it is – is it pork? It should taste like pork first and the same with beef. I was a little disappointed in these two meats and I did scrape off the sauce and tried them both and they were cooked great but so hard to tell flavor at that point.

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The sides – outstanding I cleared both of them like it was nothing. The baked beans had a perfect snap to them and there was a flavor added to them that I couldn’t figure out but whatever it was it worked great!! I loved it and them. The Parsley Potatoes were highly recommended so I tried them and what appeared to be Red Potatoes with oil, parsley and garlic was a perfect combination.

When the waitress came back she could see what I enjoyed and what I didn’t which is the sign of good service and knowing a customer she brought my bill back and a small stainless restaurant serving cup of their new pulled pork. She said I wanted you to try this and I did… Out of this world. Perfectly cooked, pulled, taste, texture all spot on… I wish I had known and would have ordered that ☺

My overall experience is that I would say Kojak’s Ribs is a great place that I will try again – The Ribs were perfect and I did try the sauces which were all good – but you will have to find the taste your looking for the sweet was the best to me.  The pulled pork that was brought to me at the end was again perfectly done but the I just wish they didn’t over sauce the chopped… maybe it’s what their customer bases wants and I could be wrong which I have been before but to me too much sauce.  Sides were perfect and unique as well as the venue and wait staff were perfect. I will return.

SuperBowl BBQ Cook

If you want to follow along with my SuperBowl Cook here you go…. Chicken Thighs, Boston Butt, Spare and Babyback Ribs….

 

 

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Got everything Trimmed and Rubbed ready for the smoker … got everything on smoker and starting on the sauces… Hope you enjoy the pictures!

BBQ on the Green Mountian

 

Well, been spritzing the ribs and butt every 15 mins or so and just getting ready to wrap everything:

Here are the babies:

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Not so exctiing of a picture but they are wrapped and here is what they are wrapped in:

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Now the Boston:

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Well, I left the baby backs on too long and they were over cooked and mushy since I was watching times on the spares I totally forgot that the babies would cook so much quicker. On top of that I had the butt going which I have never cooked so much at once before. I took the chick thighs off for an early snack and they were a big hit. Pulled was great and still eating in as well as the spares were as good as I always make them. Overall a B+ cook. Chicken great, Spares Great, Pulled Good and baby backs fair….

 

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Pulled completed

Chicken Thighs