Happy (belated) Thanksgiving – #S2Roashow BBQ Top 10

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

We have many, many things to be thankful for this year! So far, the SecurityStudio Roadshow (#S2Roadshow) has been a great success. The thing we’re most thankful for are the super cool people we’ve met on the road. Cool people with incredible stories and valuable perspectives.

Another thing we’re thankful for is all the great BBQ we’ve eaten. Who doesn’t like BBQ? Well, I suppose the vegans aren’t too much into it. For all the non-vegans, here’s our top 10 BBQ joints that we’ve visited thus far.

We didn’t travel last week, so this is what you get.

Top 10 BBQ Joints

Through week #8 of the SecurityStudio Roadshow (#S2Roadshow)

A man’s got to eat, and this man’s got to eat BBQ! We eat a lot of BBQ. – Evan

#1 – Pecan Lodge – Dallas, Texas – Week #3

Overall Rating: 9

  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Service: 8
  • Portion/Value: 9
  • Taste: 10

We heard from multiple people that we had to go to Pecan Lodge located in Deep Elum, so we did. Are we ever glad we did! This was the best BBQ we’ve had yet on our three week-old #S2Roadshow, and I even made a friend.

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I had the sliced brisket, pulled pork, and sausage. John had sliced brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. You should have seen the look on John’s face when he tasted the brisket for the first time! The atmosphere was awesome, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The service was great. I even got the cook to show me his smokers (see pic). The portions were very generous too, but it was the taste that was amazing! I’ve never had better brisket and I may have never had better pulled pork in my life. I’ve had BBQ at 100+  of the best places all over the country, and I’ve never had brisket with the perfect mix of smoke flavor, fat cap, and rub.

Pecan Lodge is an absolute must visit for any BBQ lover. It’s almost worth a special visit to Dallas just to go to this place. The best I’ve had in a very long time, if ever.

P.S. My new friend’s name is Winston, and he’s from Michigan. He and his son travel the country riding roller coasters and trying new BBQ. BTW, he agreed that Pecan Lodge was awesome.

#2 – Bowlegged BBQ – San Diego, California – Week #4

Overall: 8.75

  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Portion/Value: 9
  • Taste: 8

OK, this was some good BBQ! I feel bad for all the people who live here, but never experienced the joy. The place is family-owned and the atmosphere was perfect for a BBQ joint. A little cluttered, a little dirty, a little nostalgic, and a whole bunch of character. Ordered my meat from Jordan behind the counter, and I told him all I wanted was meat, no sides. Ordered rib tips, ribs, and brisket. The price? 20 bucks.

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10 minutes later, I get this Styrofoam container filled with deliciousness. Like really filled and like really delicious! As you can see in the picture, the meat is drowning in sauce, and that’s generally a big no-no for me. For some reason it worked. The sauce was some sort of rural Georgia-tasting stuff with a hint of cinnamon. Weird, but delicious! I texted John and told him it was like a love fest between my mouth, my brain, and my belly. Definitely recommended!

#3 – Divine Swine BBQ – Manheim, Pennsylvania – Week #1

Overall: 8.5

  • Atmosphere: 7
  • Service: 8
  • Portion/Value: 10
  • Taste: 9

After the Shakedown BBQ disappointment, we swung over to Manheim, where we found Divine Swine. This place takes the crown as the #S2Roadshow Week 1 BBQ Champ. The best tasting BBQ we had on the trip and huge portions. If you’re in the area, you have to visit this place!

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Maybe we’re BBQ snobs, maybe not. One thing is certain, we enjoyed all of the BBQ we ate, and we’re pumped for next week’s adventures.

#4T – Dinosaur BBQ – Rochester, New York – Week #7

Overall: 8.25

  • Atmosphere – 8, it’s a cool place with a great vibe. The lighting is perfect for a BBQ joint, there’s a lot of wood, and the view of the river is super cool.
  • Service – 9, great service all-around. These people make you feel at home.
  • Portion/Value – 7, a little pricey for how much food you get, but what place isn’t?
  • Taste – 9, incredible, especially the ribs and wings.

In full transparency, I’ve eaten at Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester many times. It’s a great BBQ joint and I’ve enjoyed every visit I’ve made. This was Ryan Abraham’s first visit to Rochester, so we made sure to stop in. Actually, we ended up eating here twice during this trip. Poor us!

I’ve visited Rochester more than a dozen times and eaten BBQ at just about every place this city offers. Dinosaur is the best BBQ in Rochester. On this trip, I ate their ribs, brisket, wings, and pulled pork. The brisket and pulled pork were good, but the ribs and wings were friggin’ amazing! The ribs were arguably the best I’ve had on the SecurityStudio Roadshow so far. If you’re in Rochester, and you like BBQ (even if you don’t like BBQ), a visit to Dinosaur is a must!

#4T – Big Ed’s BBQ – Waukegan, Illinois – Week #3

Overall: 8.25

  • Atmosphere – 8
  • Service – 9
  • Portion/Value – 8
  • Taste – 9

We made the drive up to Waukegan to give Big Ed’s BBQ a try, and we’re definitely glad we did! This is a BBQ joint that is run by Ed (a few of his business partners) and his lovely family. You can read about the Big Ed story on their website. The atmosphere is great, with Ed’s son preparing the meat while Ed’s wife rings you up at the register. By the time we got there, they had already sold out of the brisket and burnt ends, so we settled for ribs and rib tips. We thought we were settling, but we were wrong! The ribs and tips were awesome!

The service was top notch, the portions were huge, and the meat was great! You have to visit this place. Highly recommended!

#6T – Mission BBQ – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Week #1

Overall: 8

  • Atmosphere – 7
  • Service – 10
  • Portion/Value – 7
  • Taste – 8

We ate at Mission BBQ in Harrisburg in the evening of the first day. I wasn’t that excited for it because I knew it was part of a chain, but it was the closest BBQ joint to where we were staying. The staff was AMAZING. I can’t remember ever getting better service that we did at this place.

The cashier asked us if this was our first time at Mission BBQ. We said it was, then she proceeded to tell us all about the menu and how they make their BBQ.

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Once our order was ready, the lady behind the counter asked us if it was our first time at Mission BBQ. We said it was, then she proceeded to tell us all about the sauces and how to help ourselves.

After we sat down to eat, another lady came by our table three or four times to make sure we had everything we needed. She cleared our table for us too (even though this was a self-service joint).

The service was exceptional, so I rate it a 10. The food was good too, the best being the jalapeno cheddar sausage.

#6T – Slaps BBQ – Kansas City, Missouri – Week #8

Overall: 8

  • Atmosphere – 8, this was a pretty cool place, located in an industrial part of town. The all brick building featured an indoor eating area, plus there were two more eating areas outside. The eating area on top of the building featured a great view of the Kansas City skyline.
  • Service – 9, I love when the BBQ is made to order right in front of you. They cut the meat and dish it out as you order it, right in front of you. The staff was very courteous and very helpful.
  • Portion/Value – 8, definitely above average. We got filled up at a very reasonable price.
  • Taste – 7, the brisket was good and the pulled pork was good. The best part was the jalapeno cheddar sausage. All the BBQ was good, but not amazing.

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We went to Slaps on a recommendation from a close friend. She’s a local and told us this was her favorite BBQ in all of Kansas City. It was good, but I’ve had better in this town.

#8T – Q39 BBQ – Kansas City, Missouri – Week #7

Overall: 7.75

  • Atmosphere – 7, this is a little too upscale feeling for me. A very nice restaurant, but not down-homey enough for my taste.
  • Service – 8, great service. I was in the middle of a conference call at the beginning, so I might have missed something here. Guess, I’ll have to visit again!
  • Portion/Value – 7, a little spendy.
  • Taste – 9, super! The burnt ends and brisket were the bomb!

This was the first stop for me and John after landing in Kansas City. We received a tip to visit this place from our rental car terminal bus driver, and obviously this guy knew what he was talking about! Kansas City is known for their BBQ and we had dozens of places to choose from, but we made a good call here.

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This was a great welcome to Kansas City and we highly recommend visiting Q39!

#8T – Cousin’s BBQ – Dallas, Texas – Week #5

Overall: 7.75

  • Atmosphere – 8
  • Service – 8
  • Portion/Value – 7
  • Taste – 8

I arrived at the DFW airport for the trip home and realized that I’d only done one BBQ joint so far on this trip! I sort of panicked a bit before finding this little gem in the DFW airport. Thank God! A man can’t take a trip with only one portion of BBQ.

My expectations for this place were low to begin with. After all, what kind of BBQ can you expect to get in an airport? Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised! I ordered pulled pork and brisket, with broccoli salad and cole slaw on the side. The meat was surprisingly moist a very flavorful. The smoke ring was good too. In a pinch, this place will definitely do!

#10T – Blackwood BBQ – Chicago, Illinois – Week #3

Overall: 7.75

  • Atmosphere – 7
  • Service – 7
  • Portion/Value – 8
  • Taste – 8

There are five locations for Blackwood BBQ, and we visited the Schaumburg location for lunch. John and I both ordered combos. He got sliced brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends. I got sliced brisket, burnt ends and ribs. It was a really nice BBQ joint with a rustic, busy, but open atmosphere. The BBQ is self-service, meaning you order at the counter and grab your food when it’s ready. The portions were generous and the taste was pretty darn good. I’d say overall, it was definitely above average is all aspects.

If you’re in the Chicago area, it’s definitely worth the trip.

#10T – Broad Street BBQ – Kingsport, Tennessee – Week #4

Overall: 7.75

  • Atmosphere – 7
  • Service – 9
  • Portion/Value – 8
  • Taste – 6

John’s words, “BBQ Review: Broad Street BBQ, Kingsport, TN. Brisket was decent, the rest was just ok. Will do in a pinch, but probably one and done on this one. Super nice people though!

That’s what he said.

Rounding out the rest…

Here are the rest of the BBQ joints that we visited along with their overall scores.

  • Hard Eight – 7.25
  • Spring Creek Barbeque – 7.25
  • Redd’s BBQ – 7.25
  • RIBBRO BBQ – 7.25
  • Iron Horse – 7
  • Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ – 7
  • Texas Bar-B-Q Joint – 7
  • Fire Breather BBQ – 7
  • Smoque – 6.75
  • Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse – 6.75
  • Red Coal BBQ – 6.75
  • Bad to the Bone BBQ – 6.75
  • Unkl Moe’s – 6.5
  • Hambone’s Smokehouse – 6.25
  • Shakedown BBQ – N/A (wasn’t open when it was supposed to be, wasted trip)

SecurityStudio Roadshow Summary

If you’re new, or you’re confused about this #S2Roadshow thing, start here (maybe).

Previous Week’s Recaps:

The purpose of the SecurityStudio Roadshow (#S2Roadhow) is to meet people and make partners. We want to meet people, understand their businesses, and help them grow using simple, fundamental, and compliant solutions (S2Score, S2Org, S2Vendor, and S2Team/S2Me).

Our mission is to fix the broken information security industry. Success requires collaboration, partnership, and transparency.

Next Week’s #S2Roadshow

John Harmon and I are off to Scottsdale, Arizona for a great Phoenix ISSA event this week. The weather doesn’t suck in the Phoenix in December!

If you’ve got any BBQ tips for the Phoenix area, let us know.

Stay tuned for next week’s #S2Roadshow updates. You can follow us on Twitter (@evanfrancen, @HarmonJohn, @StudioSecurity, and the #S2Roadshow hashtag) and on LinkedIn.

See you next week!


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I’ll write a privacy policy soon (that you won’t read).

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