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View Full Version : Best BBQ chains in America


Lytnin
03-06-2014, 01:29 PM
http://www.thedailymeal.com/10-best-barbecue-chains-america-slideshow

Saw this and wanted to get folks take on it. Famous Dave's is kind of my go-to place. I've had Smokey Bones a couple of time when they were around here and they were decent (I thought). I've heard bad things about Dickey's which is why I haven't gone to the one here; aside from the fact it is next to a Texas Roadhouse that has good food. Haven't heard of any of the others so I can't really speak on them.

peeps
03-06-2014, 01:31 PM
They are missing my favorite chain...Rudy's Country Store and BBQ!

Kills Dickey's!

RH&B has some goooood warm tater salad!

NivekD
03-06-2014, 01:49 PM
Of the ones listed, I've only been to Dave's and Dickey's...won't go back to Dickey's and Dave's is alright. Sonny Bryan showed up in these parts and their Q is terrible...:icon_smile_tongue:

peeps
03-06-2014, 01:50 PM
Sonny Bryant showed up in these parts and their Q is terrible...:icon_smile_tongue:Yep...the only thing I ever order there is the BBQ frito pie.

Diesel Dave
03-06-2014, 01:51 PM
huh the new Dickies here is pretty dang good for a chain BBQ joint

sliding_billy
03-06-2014, 01:53 PM
No thanks to pretty much any of the national chains. I have come across some local chains that are OK.

Bamabuzzard
03-06-2014, 01:54 PM
I've only eaten at two of those places listed. Moe's and Smokey Bones. Neither that impressive. Especially Moe's in Orange Beach, AL

SuburbSlicker
03-06-2014, 02:02 PM
I've eaten many a chain bbq in my less-informed days:

Dickeys -- the new one by me in Fairfax VA isn't half bad.
Sonny's -- food was so-so, but their bottled sauce -- Sweet and Spicy -- is a winner.
Red, Hot and Blue -- Mid-Atlantic chain with a few other outlets. Quality has really declined over the last ten years or so.
Smithfields -- only in NC -- not bad if you like NC-style pork. And their chicken is tasty.
Corkys -- the ones in Memphis are good. The ones in GA -- not so much.
County Line -- Austin chain -- the original is pretty good, never been to any others.
Damon's -- sugary
Famous Dave's -- disappointing (but met Dave and he's a nice guy).
Dinosaur -- NY, I've been to the original in Syracuse and thought it was overrated, but for the northeast it may be the best you can find.
Smokey Bones -- The couple I've visited were good, but I was a newbie then.
Tony Roma's -- sugary
Virginia BBQ -- only in VA, thank goodness for the rest of you. Don't rush over. The microwave is king here.
Grady's -- TX -- So many other excellent places, don't waste your time or calories.
Sticky Fingers -- overpriced and tasteless.

All-in-all, I think bbq loses something when it becomes a chain.

Bludawg
03-06-2014, 02:18 PM
All BBQ chains have 1 thing missing the goofy clown in fact the clowns food is better than 98 % of Chain BBQ places and I haven't been to the clown or any of his cousins like the Royal Burger Palace or the Brown Derby, Carls Corner ect... in almost 20 yrs. Some peoples like that stuff seems there is one one very corner and BBQ is falling in line unfortunately.

AlwaysSmokey
03-06-2014, 02:33 PM
Agreed Bludawg. They are all terrible. I know it's not the point of the thread,... but it's just the truth.... they are all terrible.
IN MY OPINION.... plus,... It's my favorite past time. so why in the h3ll would I go buy Q?!!!
oh,.... and so is rudy's ....:puke:

cb25
03-06-2014, 02:37 PM
They are missing my favorite chain...Rudy's Country Store and BBQ!


The Rudy's I had in Austin was pretty dang good.

The Rudy's they put here in Phoenix? Terrible. Absolutely terrible.

mtm29575
03-06-2014, 02:41 PM
Been to Sonny Bryant's, and was disappointed. Same with Sticky Finger's...I agree with SuburbSlicker...overpriced and tasteless to me. Of the local joints near me, Three Little Pigs was so so. The BBQ House has a couple of locations, and if I just have to go out for Q, I go there. They serve the smoked Q unsauced, and have an array of sauces on the table for you to choose from, if you want sauce.

Gore
03-06-2014, 02:49 PM
These lists are always interesting ... Dickey's at #4? Seriously?

eddieh70301
03-06-2014, 02:50 PM
Had a Dickey's but never went. Everytime I passed by never could smell any smoke and no one in the parking lot. It closed after about 3 months then re-opened with a new owner and it lasted another 2 months.
There is an independent BBQ joint locally that is really good so any chain that comes on would probably not have a chance.

dwfisk
03-06-2014, 03:07 PM
Like many here, I'm not impressed with BBQ chains. But there are a couple of spots with just a few locations or franchises that seem to keep it together when making BBQ. Here in north Florida I can recommend two: Bono's has been around forever, originally from Jacksonville and is a limited franchise operation with less than a dozen locations; 4Rivers Smokehouse is pretty new and originally from the Orlando area has 5-6 locations. Both are really good and have somehow managed to keep it real.

deepsouth
03-06-2014, 03:09 PM
huh the new Dickies here is pretty dang good for a chain BBQ joint


one opened up down here and it is pretty good. i prefer my own, but i'll eat there in a pinch.

IamMadMan
03-06-2014, 03:18 PM
All BBQ chains have 1 thing missing the goofy clown in fact the clowns food is better than 98 % of Chain BBQ places and I haven't been to the clown or any of his cousins like the Royal Burger Palace or the Brown Derby, Carls Corner ect... in almost 20 yrs. Some peoples like that stuff seems there is one one very corner and BBQ is falling in line unfortunately.

Agreed Bludawg. They are all terrible. I know it's not the point of the thread,... but it's just the truth.... they are all terrible.
IN MY OPINION.... plus,... It's my favorite past time. so why in the h3ll would I go buy Q?!!!
oh,.... and so is rudy's ....:puke:

I feel sorry for those who think it is good food. They have never had the experience of good BBQ in their life. I find most restaurants disappointing at best, and chains are franchises that focus on profit, not quality. I haven't looked at a BBQ restaurant in years because I hate the disappointment time after time.

However this past year I did visit San Antonio and found a great roadside BBQ, and we tried some of the greats in Austin and surrounding areas. These were the exceptions the normal mediocre food. We did stop at Rudy's and I thought it was pretty good for a chain restaurant. Great "Sause" as well.

.

Funky D
03-06-2014, 03:35 PM
Another upvote here for Rudy's. As far as chain-BBQ goes, they are pretty damn amazing.

If haters wanna hate, let em, but don't let that bulldog mouth get head of that puppydog cooking talent. If you wanna dog Rudy's, step up showing superior product consistently, in any sort of volume. :D

Day in, day out, their brisket is better than 60% of competition brisket I judge.

VivaTerlingua
03-06-2014, 03:49 PM
Dickey's is probably the worst food I have ever tasted. I can only assume that every restaurant below it on the list couldn't pass for cat food.

Mrtodd777
03-06-2014, 03:55 PM
Coming from Austin I can attest that Rudy's can be awesome. The thing is you need to know how to order. You can ask for any cut of the brisket. I ask for (end cut, extra moist). It is a plate full of bark and juicy end cuts of point. Best plate ever...

Mrtodd777
03-06-2014, 03:57 PM
I usually order one half pound of that, 2 st. Louis ribs, and a half a link of sausage. All the bread you want is free along with all the fixins for a great sammie.

Okie Sawbones
03-06-2014, 04:06 PM
I've never eaten at any of those chains. I am not a chain restaurant person, no matter what the food.

Bamabuzzard
03-06-2014, 04:23 PM
The problem with me is I've honed in on exactly what I like so when I go to a bbq restaurant I can all but guarantee you it's not going to be worth my money. That's why I don't bother with chains and if I do eat at a bbq establishment I try to eat at a local place because odds are the guy running the pit is the owner. Which makes a lot of difference.

fnbish
03-06-2014, 04:25 PM
Another upvote here for Rudy's. As far as chain-BBQ goes, they are pretty damn amazing.

If haters wanna hate, let em, but don't let that bulldog mouth get head of that puppydog cooking talent. If you wanna dog Rudy's, step up showing superior product consistently, in any sort of volume. :D

Day in, day out, their brisket is better than 60% of competition brisket I judge.

Hehe. This is perfectly said :clap2::-D. Hard to listen to those that violently blast any bbq that is created outside of their home. I'm sure they seek out the best of every food style (Pizza, Burgers, Mexican, Ice Cream, Asian, whatever) everytime they want something to eat and only the cream of the crop makes it's way down their gullet :rolleyes::crazy:.

I've been to Jim & Nick's and most their food was solid. We went with a large group and everyone wanted to know what I thought and let me try things that weren't on my plate and I really liked their brisket, ribs, and especially the hot links!! The pulled pork was just ok, but I'd eat it if I didn't have food plan at that given moment and was hungry with no complaints.

PDPatterson
03-06-2014, 05:25 PM
I'm by no means an expert at either making or judging BBQ. Heck, I haven't even reached amateur status, but I really enjoy Jim n' Nicks. I've tried a few of their locations in Alabama. The only knock I have is sometimes the consistency isn't always there with the brisket. Otherwise, everything else is really good IMHO.

I live just a few miles from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ in Decatur, AL. They have won a lot of awards. All I can say is their competition BBQ must be MUCH better than their restaurant. Their chicken is pretty good, but other than that, I am not impressed at all.

Brian in Maine
03-06-2014, 05:29 PM
We had a Dickey's open up here in a mall food court. You could smell the Q outside, and it smelled good. I tried it once, and the only things that was good were the jalapeno cheddar sausage, and the onion strings. They lasted about 6 months.
At Famous Dave's I've had some, and some bad. Just like any restaurant I thin that it depends on who is cooking that day, and the owner , or manager.
They are cooking vast amounts of food compared to most of us, and it can't get the attention for each piece of meat that we give our Q.

bookie
03-06-2014, 07:50 PM
Tried a Smokey Bones ... can't think of anything good to say

VoodoChild
03-06-2014, 08:03 PM
I like Famous Daves wibur Beans and glad to get rib tips as well...If I buy BBq

Royalslover
03-06-2014, 08:10 PM
I've lived in KC my whole life and I think that Famous Dave's is consistently as good as or better than any of the "famous" restaurants we have here. Ate at Dickey's once and it was not good that day.

IamMadMan
03-06-2014, 08:23 PM
Our tastes are different and subjective to our personal likes.

We will never all agree on anything, but as long as we know what we like and we enjoy it, then we have what we consider to be good. Enjoy what you like and don't worry about personal opinions.

My mentor taught me to cook for myself and not others; simply put, we are our own worst critic, if we like our own BBQ then other will love it.

.

jhuyser
03-06-2014, 08:24 PM
I would second the Rudy's in Texas isn't bad. I have had one in Austin and one in San Antonio. For chain not bad. Famous Dave's, rather just drive on by. Chain restaurants of any venue in my opinion pretty much suck food seems to all come out of a box, so anyone can cook it and not mess it up.. Now hiring anyone that can run a microwave!!!!

c farmer
03-06-2014, 08:27 PM
huh the new Dickies here is pretty dang good for a chain BBQ joint

I kind of like the one that just opened here too.

Okie Sawbones
03-06-2014, 08:27 PM
Our tastes are different and subjective to our personal likes.

We will never all agree on anything, but as long as we know what we like and we enjoy it, then we have what we consider to be good. Enjoy what you like and don't worry about personal opinions.

My mentor taught me to cook for myself and not others; simply put, we are our own worst critic, if we like our own BBQ then other will love it.

.

Amen to that. :thumb: Sage advice.

biker.chef
03-06-2014, 08:34 PM
The Best BBQ chain is an oxymoron. The product is chosen by a focus group,
produced in a factory and shipped to the restaurant to be thawed and
and served to the public with a good slabberin' of sauce.

Here is a cool list of some real BBQ joints and ain't none of them
have had meeting in the conference room to discuss the demographics
of their customers.

http://www.southernfoodways.org/oral-history/southern-bbq-trail/

Okie Sawbones
03-06-2014, 08:41 PM
They are missing my favorite chain...Rudy's Country Store and BBQ!

Kills Dickey's!

RH&B has some goooood warm tater salad!

Rudy's is pretty decent for what it is. Their spares and brisket are always pretty decent. None in this part of the country, so we only hit one when visiting in Texas.

fabmaster911
03-06-2014, 08:47 PM
Famous Daves in Utah is overpriced and underwhelming. I've been to two different ones here. Then again I am in Utah, if you want some wicked green jello " This is the Place ".
I'm guessing only a few of you will get what I am saying. We do have "The Greatest Snow on Earth"

martyleach
03-06-2014, 08:50 PM
We never go out for traditional BBQ. Pretty much always disappointed. Cooking 'Q the masses is very difficult. I totally get it. That's why I'd rather cook at home and be happy with the result.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
03-06-2014, 09:03 PM
The spare ribs at Sonny's in Florida can be quite good, although I've had some that disappointed me. Their cole slaw is great. I was told that they cook on Southern Prides with oak for smoke. I also liked their Hot and Spicey sauce too.

Rudy's is another one I'll give a go.

Sonny's in Starke, FL. One of the original three locations.
http://i175.photobucket.com/albums/w147/HeSmellsLikeSmoke/cf7df65e8c17900efcfdbe57fc807c07_zps7c31698a.jpg

dadymat
03-06-2014, 09:09 PM
All-in-all, I think bbq loses something when it becomes a chain.

yep....it loses the pitmaster, replaced by fast food workers guided by instruction manuals and a crash course in running commercial pits...

I personally do go to a RH&B that is close to me, food is inconsistent...when its good its pretty dang good.....but its a roll of the dice...but the beer is always cold and the game is always on...:becky:

Teleking
03-06-2014, 09:34 PM
We had a Dickey's open up here in a mall food court. You could smell the Q outside, and it smelled good. I tried it once, and the only things that was good were the jalapeno cheddar sausage, and the onion strings. They lasted about 6 months.
At Famous Dave's I've had some, and some bad. Just like any restaurant I thin that it depends on who is cooking that day, and the owner , or manager.
They are cooking vast amounts of food compared to most of us, and it can't get the attention for each piece of meat that we give our Q.

We had a dickeys in Maine! Good thing the only BBQ up here is home cooked. I hit FD at cabelas for a brisket Samwich once. Bad bad smoke nasty sting and will never go back. Down side is people up here don't know BB

landarc
03-06-2014, 10:34 PM
Funny enough, I was in a discussion out here and all the locals I enjoy were panned. Then I was told by several folks if I wanted to learn real BBQ, I would go to Lucille's Smokehouse. That I could learn a thing or two about real good BBQ.

RevZiLLa
03-06-2014, 10:46 PM
When I was in Austin in the 80's, County Line was great! At least the beef ribs were...

Here in Richmond, VA Q's BBQ is fantastic.

Is Famous Dave a singer? His Q couldn't have made him famous

jeffjenkins1
03-10-2014, 11:18 PM
Old Carolina in Ohio is pretty good. Their turkey is better than mine and their brisket is the only brisket I order when I go out. There ribs and PP are average and their sauces are not complex enough for me, but their turkey...

Edit, we go to the one in Montrose about once a month for lunch at work.

Jeff

Gore
03-10-2014, 11:41 PM
Stuck in Boulder and noticed they had a Moe's. I tried the brisket sandwich and ribs last night when I got in. I was really impressed. It was one of the better sandwiches I've had. Brisket was moist, tender and tasty and I enjoyed the sauce. Ribs were cooked perfectly. Stopped in today for lunch and disappointed. Sandwich wasn't nearly as good as the night before. Also, every side I've had has been heavy on the vinegar and I don't do sour well. Not sure if I'll be back. So far, it's like two completely different restaurants.

Gore
03-10-2014, 11:42 PM
It's hard for me to think of Dinosaur BBQ as a chain. There was just the one in Syracuse for so long.

chicagokp
03-11-2014, 07:47 PM
I liked Rudy's the last time I was in Houston....

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y182/Phariss/bbq/share/B3311654-2690-47C2-9445-F912DB974DC3-501-000000D7AA6E4D0C_zps053ddcca.jpg

SuburbSlicker
03-12-2014, 01:14 PM
It's hard for me to think of Dinosaur BBQ as a chain. There was just the one in Syracuse for so long.

I read yesterday that they were looking at opening in Chicago.

http://www.syracuse.com/dining/index.ssf/2014/03/dinosaur_bar-b-que_to_open_nin.html

BrewBQue
03-12-2014, 02:27 PM
Several years back, I was in the D.C. area on a business trip and stumbled upon a BBQ joint not far from my hotel. I went that first night and had some excellent brisket. I went back two more times during my ten day trip and enjoyed every thing I ordered. The place was Red Hot, and Blue.... :thumb:

markdtn
04-03-2014, 10:47 AM
I've eaten many a chain bbq in my less-informed days:

Dickeys -- the new one by me in Fairfax VA isn't half bad.
Sonny's -- food was so-so, but their bottled sauce -- Sweet and Spicy -- is a winner.
Red, Hot and Blue -- Mid-Atlantic chain with a few other outlets. Quality has really declined over the last ten years or so.
Smithfields -- only in NC -- not bad if you like NC-style pork. And their chicken is tasty.
Corkys -- the ones in Memphis are good. The ones in GA -- not so much.
County Line -- Austin chain -- the original is pretty good, never been to any others.
Damon's -- sugary
Famous Dave's -- disappointing (but met Dave and he's a nice guy).
Dinosaur -- NY, I've been to the original in Syracuse and thought it was overrated, but for the northeast it may be the best you can find.
Smokey Bones -- The couple I've visited were good, but I was a newbie then.
Tony Roma's -- sugary
Virginia BBQ -- only in VA, thank goodness for the rest of you. Don't rush over. The microwave is king here.
Grady's -- TX -- So many other excellent places, don't waste your time or calories.
Sticky Fingers -- overpriced and tasteless.

All-in-all, I think bbq loses something when it becomes a chain.

Sonny's -- food was so-so, been to a few in Florida along I-75
Corkys -- Used to eat at the one in Murfreesboro, TN before it went out of business. BBQ so-so, prime rib was good
Damon's -- OK, nothing special (Gatlinburg, TN)
Famous Dave's -- Best chain around here
Dinosaur -- I've been to the one in Newark and thought it was decent.
Smokey Bones -- Buffique wings are good and the brunswick stew, but the BBQ not so much.
Tony Roma's -- not impressed (Nashville)
Sticky Fingers -- overpriced, watery, and tasteless. I will not go back voluntarily. It seems to be the go-to for catering locally, and I just cringe. (Chattanooga/Gatlinburg)

No chain does it as good as I/We can do it at home.