I am going to end up commenting on 3 barbecue places in this. All on the same day!
We were intending to go back to Smoke Daddy's yesterday, but rather than take the PA TPK, go up to Lambertville, then on 202 to Doylestown to visit the Antiques In Doylestown shop of a friend there, and then onward on 202S to Welch Rd, and then to Cannon.
We were saying goodbye when our friend recommended we walk up the street to Hickory Kitchen for lunch. It was around 2:30pm. She said it used to be Smoking Lil’s (not sure of the spelling.) Address is 9 West Court St, Doylestown, phone 215 348 5170. It’s next to a restaurant called Lilly’s, and is/was not related to it.
How could we not do this? We walked in (please be careful crossing at the incredible 5 road intersection, each two-way) and were greeted by Al Franken. Not really, but in profile could be a brother. They’ve been open a week under the new name, but Mike, the proprietor, has owned it for about a year. We ordered a plate which was half a rack of St Louis ribs, 2 sides, and a biscuit. $16.00 and we ended up with 7 ribs. They were meaty, highly smoky, (OH the restaurant smells like it ought to!!! Smokin’!) moist, and with an interesting rub. He’d put a dribble of sauce on. There are a few other sauces at the tables, although shaking them is not possible sanitarily (hint, Mike), because their pointy tops are open, no caps. My husband actually took part of a paper towel off the supplied roll and folded it up to shake the Maple/Chipotle. We also ordered the “Beans With Meat” and “Sweet Potato Casserole” because Lynn had insisted. He gave us 2 biscuits, very fresh. Everything was very good. The ribs were probably the smokiest we’ve had anywhere locally except Smoky Bones in Reading. His smoker is a J&R from Texas. They use a mix of hickory, oak, and cherry. Mike removes the membrane, and knows why. Not 100%; that’s difficult, but they do work at it. This is the only place I have ever seen which does this.
When I mentioned the manager at Ol’ West in Clinton NJ saying that 20 minutes of smoke is plenty, he was shocked. (This is why Ol’ West no longer really has smoked bbq, to our way of thinking.)
Mike has solved the puzzle of not smoking every single day, but keeping the food fresh-tasting and smoky. The beans are pinto, not smushy; they keep their shape; they’re cooked in a dark rich sauce. The sweet potato casserole was fine; it’s sweet and has some nuts in it. We saw the Cole slaw, because they put it on the sandwiches unless you say not to. This is printed on the menu but it is not completely clear on the take-out menu that it’s actually ON the meat, under the roll. Anyway, it looked like good Cole slaw if you like Cole slaw. They serve a LOT of other stuff too, besides the smoked stuff (which includes smoked wings, pulled pork & chicken, and brisket) and are open basically 9am –8pm. There are indoor and outdoor tables. The web site is hickorykitchen.com.
I should add that my husband thought the beans and the ribs were the best, not just the smokiest, we’ve had, including Lansdale. I like SD’s sauce/rub better, so I would not concur, but they were smokier which if you’ve read other reviews of mine, you know is critical to me. And I certainly had no complaints!
OK. So we left around 3:30, and had a problem finding Welch Rd. There is construction and we missed the sign for Welch. When we got to Cannon, finally, we went looking for the other place, Uncle Greg, found it on Cannon, and purchased a brisket sandwich and a half rack of ribs to take home. Then we went to Smoke Daddy.
Big news. Smoke Daddy is NOW OPEN AT 4 on Friday & Saturday, and they are also now OPEN WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY 5 – 7:30. They’ve put up a COUNTER! The menu for summer apparently is revised, and excludes the non-bbq food. We grabbed baby back ribs, rib tips, and two burnt endz sandwiches, and some beans.
Then we went home to eat.
Since this was beyond two meals worth of food for two people, we decided to go with the Uncle Greg stuff first. This had been our first visit there. We were very disappointed. Here’s why.
The brisket was basically fat. Not fat on the edges of meat slices, but gristle and fat all the way thru, about 50% of each slice. The sauce tasted like vinegary catsup. In fact, when I washed my hands, it completely disappeared in plain water. The ribs had perhaps a quarter of the meat on either Hickory Kitchen or SD’s ribs (we’d had St Louis at SD our first time there.) The rub had no taste. They were not smoky. We decided to put them back and use my own sauce on them the following night. Which is tonight. My husband and I agreed completely on these points.
So we got out the SD stuff and had a half sandwich each, a couple rib tips and a couple BB ribs each. I like their sauce very much; it’s seemingly not tomato-based. The beans were much less dried out than the other time. Rick explained his methodology to us, involving cooking everything in stages on different days. Since smoke only gets in until the meat is getting cooked (at low temp or not), this did not make a lot of sense to me. It seemed a great way to negate the smoke taste by cooking it twice. We had discovered with our first trip’s leftovers that on day 2 (which could have been day 3 or 4 or 7 from stage 1 or 2, then, before expanded days open started) the stuff was smokier than when we purchased it, which also made no sense. Ah, mystery. This isn’t really meant to be a SD review; but it is interesting, to me, at least.
Anyway, what a day. And there’s still TONIGHT! If anyone is interested in my own Royal Rib sauce, post a reply and I'll put it up here somewhere.