For my 25th review I wanted to do something special. I decided on something near and dear to my heart BBQ. I consider myself a sort of BBQ connoisseur; not on how to cook it but on who has the best. I try to eat only at family owned restaurants in the Tri-cities and they are the only places that I regularly review here because there are numerous other people reviewing Richmond area restaurants. The one thing that I do travel far and wide to eat is BBQ and I have been to just about every BBQ restaurant in the Central Virginia area. I would like to share you with my favorites and the ones that I would stay away from. These are almost all purely BBQ restaurants; if I listed every place that serves BBQ I’d name almost every place in the area. If you happen to know of any that I have left off please let me know because I would love to try them out.
I will begin with the average BBQ joints, these places are neither great nor are they so bad that I’d tell you never to eat there. I am going to bullet these so that it will easier to navigate.
· K&L in Hopewell- K&L is very inexpensive and has very good potato cakes but their BBQ is mediocre. It is either sliced or extremely finely minced both of which are the easy way out. Their sauce is a NC style hybrid that I neither hate no truly enjoy.
· Prince George BBQ in Prince George- I have always felt that PG BBQ is overpriced. Their BBQ is smoked on site and is ok but for the price you can definitely find better.
· VA Dinner in Wakefield- VA Dinner has a lot of great food, particularly their carrot soufflé and stewed tomatoes but their BBQ and NC style sauce leaves a bit to be desired so they are on the mediocre list.
· Dickie’s on Forrest Hill Avenue in Richmond- It is a chain BBQ restaurant. Their BBQ is Texas style BBQ with Ribs, Brisket, Sausage, and chicken. Their BBQ is pretty good and they have a nice thick tomato based sauce but it loses points for not being cooked on site and being a fast food style chain.
· Benny’s BBQ of Richmond- It makes the mediocre list strictly because their peanut based BBQ sauce is out of this world. Their BBQ is run of the mill and I would not recommend eating here if they did not have such an amazing sauce.
· Buzz and Ned’s BBQ in Richmond- I know that I may be forever blackballed for this but to be honest I was not amazed the few times I have eaten here. I understand that BBQ is a labor of love and therefore should cost a little more but I felt that their prices were pretty high. Buzz and Ned’s is also a bit of a dump. Eating there makes me feel like I’m eating at the State Fair under one of their big tents. The only reason Buzz and Ned’s has been the “Best in Richmond” is because Alamo BBQ was not there at that time.
· Extra Billy’s in Richmond and in Midlothian- No one really talks about Extra Billy’s and now I know why. I should have known not to trust a BBQ restaurant that advertizes a salad buffet out front. Inside it was extremely dark and quite tackily decorated like an old saloon. They serve brisket, ribs, pork and chicken. It was not bad by any means but it was really not anything special.
· Pierce’s in Williamsburg- This place is highly overrated. It is always packed to the rafters and the only reason I can think of is that the only other BBQ restaurant in Williamsburg is Red. Hot and Blues. Their BBQ is very common tasting and really does nothing special for me.
· Sibley’s in Chester- Another place that is always packed for no apparent reason. They do serve all of the BBQ staples including sides and they do have a nice tomato based sauce but other than that disappointingly plain.
· Double T in Richmond- I admit it has been a while since I’ve been to Double T but there is a reason for that and it is because I’ve found better elsewhere and wanted to look to see if I could find better.
Below are my least favorite BBQ restaurants, some people love these places and swear by them by I do not.
· Bill’s BBQ all over the area- Extremely bland in every way possible the food, the atmosphere and the décor. I leave here full but depressed and unsatisfied.
· Red Hot and Blue in Richmond and Williamsburg- A big time chain that has lost a lot with its size. It just seems fake and is trying way too hard.
· PQ’s BBQ in Midlothian- This place is hidden on Midlothian and no one has ever heard of it and it is because there is nothing to talk about.
· King’s in Petersburg- I had to blackout my windows after my last review of King’s because people were so upset but it just was not good. The food was dry and the extremely minced.
· VA BBQ in Midlothian- Chain Fast food style restaurant without the Texas flavor that Dickie’s offers. They offer a couple of sauce types but it is not enough to salvage this place.
· Brocks in Chester- I was not disappointed when I ate here for lunch because I was told it stunk, they were correct. I will admit that I just had the buffet not their supposedly awesome brisket, but when you go to a buffet and leave hungry because it was so bad there is something wrong.
· Cub Creeks Farm BBQ in Powhatan- Nothing to this place very mediocre BBQ, will not be going back.
· Grandpa Eddie’s in Richmond- I should have known that any place that needs to play commercials 200 times a day on 96.5 KLR is doing so for a reason; because no one would come otherwise. Not only is Grandpa Eddie’s out in the middle of nowhere in my opinion their BBQ is also not very good. I am being nice when I say that because I did not like this place at all and will NEVER go back.
· Cowlings in Waverly- My least favorite BBQ restaurant. This place is like a dark, dank dungeon of bad BBQ. I know some people love it but for the life of me I do not know why.
Now for the best BBQ restaurants in the area:
· Famous Dave’s all over Virginia- I know that this is a large chain but their BBQ is surprisingly good, he did come in second on the Food Network’s BBQ challenge. This place offers it all and has five types of sauce that will please almost any palate. The meat is well cooked and the offer, sausage, pork, beef, and chicken.
· Ronnie’s Ribs in Richmond on Church Hill- This is another place that was on the Food Network on the show “The Best thing I’ve ever Eaten” for their ribs. The ribs lived up to the hype. They were not quite the best I’ve ever eaten but they were delicious although a little pricey. Be forewarned though this place is just a little trailer in a parking lot with a smoker out front so if you’re not looking closely you will miss it.
· Hog Wild BBQ in Toano- I still thank my little brother for discovering this place. It is near Williamsburg but unless you know exactly where you are going you will miss it. Hog Wild is home of the two pound bbq sandwich. This is Louisiana style BBQ and food so some of the offerings are a little unusual but they are all delicious.
· Q BBQ in Midlothian- I know that there is another in Norfolk but I don’t think this is a chain. They have great BBQ for such a fancy place. They offer it all and do it all very well. Probably the best BBQ on Midlothian Turnpike.
· Little Pig BBQ in Petersburg- This little stand right next to the now closed Eley’s BBQ is an underappreciated gem. Located in no man’s land between Petersburg and Dinwiddie it is out of the way of almost everywhere but it sure is good. It is also one of the very few places that serve South Carolina style mustard BBQ sauce.
· Kings Korner in Chesterfield at the Airport- This is another hidden gem. It really is hidden and almost impossible to find if you don’t know where to look. This is a BBQ buffet that only the true foodies know about. Everything on the buffet is great and it changes every day. The real secret though is the rib dip, go for yourself and check it out.
· Alamo BBQ in Richmond on Church Hill- This place recently stole the title of best BBQ in Richmond away from Buzz and Ned’s. It is true Texas style BBQ and is locally owned and run. They offer all of the usuals such as brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage plus tacos, burritos and the amazing train wreck. There prices and food are out of this world. Best in Richmond but it is kind of a hipster hangout.
· Saucy’s Walk-up BBQ in Petersburg- This place has the best BBQ in the Tri-Cities and maybe even in the commonwealth. Everything including the sides and cole slaw is fresh. I love their pulled pork with cole slaw on top, truly amazing! Their three bean casserole is to die for the best beans I’ve ever eaten. They have a few different kinds of sauce and each one is great. Everything about Saucy’s is amazing except that it is closed on Sundays.