Yesterday, I continued my quest (with my friend Brian) for the best BBQ in the Twin Cities. That quest led me down 94 east past Lee's and Dee's and to a place called Rooster's in St. Paul. We decided to split a pork ribs dinner with mild sauce and a large pulled pork sandwich with hot sauce. Both were incredible. I loved the dry rub and the sauce was just enough to give an extra kick, but in no way did it overpower the meat like some place do. The sauce should compliment the BBQ without being the only thing one can taste. BBQ at its finest is about the meat. In case you were curious here are the update rankings.
- Ted Cooks - Still the best in my opinion. I love the ribs, the unique sauce and the pulled beef. One note of caution is that if you have an aversion to spicy foods then don't get any other sauce besides the mild. I made the mistake of getting medium for M and she barely could eat any of the ribs because of the spice. Personally I think the spice makes the beer colder and better.
- Rooster's - description above. You know it is good BBQ when you want to go back the next day.
- Pastor Hamilton's - The ribs were literally fall off the bone good and while the sauce might not of been God's gift to BBQ it still was above-average. Note that the pork is much better than the beef if you do go.
- C & G's Smoking BBQ - Of course a BBQ places opens up within 50 yards of my former place of residence the month after I move out. I mean it probably is a good thing since I would probably lose a lot of money and gain a lot of weight, but still I wish I would have had that chance. I have only been to this place twice and both times I was welcomed with surprisingly good BBQ. If this were M's rankings in fact I am pretty sure she would put this as her #1 place. The brisket and the rib tips were both solid and while they didn't inspire the same level of passion as Ted Cook's they were very tasty. I would say that you could do a lot worse than C & G's when looking in the Twin Cities. Based on the small sample size it is kind of like a Jeff Hornacek type player.
- Baker's Ribs - Good quality food, but unlike most BBQ places there just wasn't enough of it. I got what I thought would be plenty of food and the size was just a lot less than expected. Another negative was that the sauce wasn't much different than what you could buy at a grocery store. However, the meat was really excellent and the service was nice. If you live in Eden Prairie it is definitely a spot to check out especially if you aren't that hungry and like you BBQ with limited amounts of sauce.
- Cap's Grille - I have only been once and honestly I don't really have much more of a desire to go back. The food was fine, but why waste my time on this when I know there are other options better in the same area.
- Famous Dave's - The local chain that is all over Minneapolis serves your standard BBQ for the suburbanites. It is an all ways it is nonthreatening, but what else would you expect from a publicly traded company. The BBQ sauce tastes like the generic brand you buy in a store and the meat isn't much better. Of course it isn't terrible and in terms of service it is definitely more clean and more standard. Really, it is just not my type of place....but that doesn't mean it isn't yours.
- JJ's Ribs - Eden Prairie - This BBQ place is located in a car wash, gas station and is manned by one person - JJ. The pros of this place is the service (JJ's is very friendly), quantity of meat divided by cost and the sides. The cons were that the meat was kind of dry and they were out of ribs the time I went there. If in Eden Prairie again I would rather go back to Baker's Ribs than JJ's Ribs.
- Scott Ja Mama's - I loved the twice baked potatoes at this place. In fact I wish I could get the twice baked potatoes at all the above mentioned places because it would go really well with good BBQ. If you go please get the twice baked potato partly because that is the best thing about this small, hole in the wale BBQ shack with the friendly owner. The meat itself is charred to the point where you just wish they would have given you more twice baked potatoes.