As we’ve all learned from the reaction to Top Chef’s recent gourmet barbecue challenge, barbecue means very different things to different people. When we were growing up in Boston with parents from Michigan, we referred to any time the grill was set up as “having a barbecue.” The first time we said as much to a Southern friend in college, they snapped rather firmly at us that what we meant was a cookout. A true barbecue, she informed us, involves slow-cooked succulent meats. We were just grilling. In the intervening years, we’ve had the opportunity to taste quite a bit of good Southern-style barbecue and, while we still enjoy a grilled hamburger as much as the next girl (and still refer to making said burger as barbecuing), we must in this case bow to the superiority of other parts of the country. Fortunately, it is still very possible to get great Southern-style barbecue in the Hub. Below, four of our favorite spots.
•Soul Fire Barbecue is certainly the best bet in Allston. Get a pulled pork platter delivered and enjoy it with a good strong beer. It’s a meal that pairs well with watching Top Chef.
•The barbecue at Mitch’s Traditional BBQ boasts a Cajun influence. Make sure to try the New Orleans BBQ shrimp.
•Redbones is thought by many to serve up the best ‘cue in the area. Pair the authentic Southern barbecue with local New England ales for an exceptional match. Who’d have thunk it?
•We’re a little reluctant to tell you this because we don’t want the secret to get out, but what the hell, we’re service-oriented, right? For our money, the best barbecue in Boston can be found at Roslindale’s BBQ Town. The pulled pork sandwich is very near perfect: mindblowingly moist and tender meat on fluffy bread. Mmm. Tastes like summer.
[Photo: All Favorite Recipe]