Monday, April 11, 2011

Best BBQ in Utah / Best Barbeque in Utah

Best BBQ in Utah 
 - Revised 14 Sep 2015

Check out our OTHER FOOD REVIEWS at  

Especially see "Best Restaurants in Utah" at:

We heartily endorse a similar site that rates the best BBQ in Texas:

Outline for this site:
1. Top 13 overall BBQ places
2. Winners by Food Category
3. Individual BBQ Restaurants Rated 
4. Best Ribs in Park City

Note: we tried EVERY BBQ place in Utah from Utah County northward, except a couple in Ogden, though we've had most there.  And there are more in Utah than you think!

As the editor, I coordinated it. (My old stomping grounds was Alabama. My first hometown was Memphis, now home to 200 BBQ places and the world's BBQ mecca.)

BBQ places come and go in Utah, but these are the best:

1. Top 13 overall BBQ places:
Note that all these places have good and bad items, but each of these have one or more great items to make them "best in state:" Where you will disagree with this list is if you go and order BBQ that particular day, but it is not up to par - which happens A LOT. Most of the best BBQ places are sadly inconsistent in their tenderness and even sometimes their flavor.

1. Charlie Boys (catering). Call 801-427-0600 (great ribs, chicken)
2. Rib City, American Fork (best baby back ribs, tied for best pulled pork, best baked beans)
3. Kirby Q (catering) Call 801-503-9006 (very good brisket, pulled pork)
4. SmokeNBones, Bountiful (several very good items, best burger in state)
5. Pat's, SLC
6. Famous Dave's, multiple locations (great chicken, weak on ribs however)
7. Wild Mustang, Orem (very similar flavors to Famous Dave's, strong on chicken)
8. Five Star, Orem (great wet end brisket, very good shredded chicken - which we normally don't like)
9. Bam Bams, Orem (great wet end brisket)
10. Kaisers, Salt Lake City (very good ribs)
11. Morley's, Midvale (very good wet end brisket and baby back ribs: only the Sugar House Ribs)
12. Wallaby's, LIndon (very good wet end brisket and baby back ribs (only with raspberry sauce for ribs; they also have best house soft drink).
13. Goodwood, several in Utah. Very good beef ribs.

2. Winners by food categoryWe've tried all of these several times to carefully rate them.

Below that, at the bottom of this site, are restaurants in alphabetical order and the foods we graded at each one.


1.  Beef brisket - WET END ONLY. (All dry end is tough and we don't rate it - they all get a C or D, except Kaisers in SLC, which gets a B.) By contrast, wet end rates between B- and A, depending on certain factors. BTW, it is much better when freshly out of the smoker - true of all the Top 4 below especially.)

#1 Five Star, Orem A

2. Bam Bams, Orem. A

3. Joe Morley's, Midvale A

4. Wallaby's
1. Georgia Peach A-
2. Sweet honey A-
3. Original A-
4. Raspberry (by contrast, this is the best sauce for their baby-back ribs) B
5. Zesty B

6. Cafe 300. When they serve it, the brisket is good.

7. Goodwood. B- to B+ due to tougher to more tender parts of the wet end brisket.

8. Mollies, Provo: B+ (2nd time: C+) (B+ if made that day and only if it's off the thicker "butter end.")

9. Sugarhouse, SLC B+

10. Kaiser's, SLC. Grade B/B+ (but they only cook dry end). So this is the best dry end brisket in the state, but needs to be eaten hot, or it's tough.

11. Pat's (2nd best dry end in the state), SLC B

12. Smokin' Apple, Lindon:  Now served only as chopped beef, with wet and dry together. C (At one time it was an A- when served alone as wet end brisket.) Now a C.

13. Dickie's BBQ, national chain. C

14. Spin Cafe, Heber C

2. Pulled pork
#1 Cafe 300, Provo: A (with sauce: C).

#2 Rib City, American Fork: without sauce B+

#3: Smokin' Apple: B+ (1st time: A-.  The high grades come only when you get it with sauce.  W/o sauce, it's a B- -).

#4:  Goodwood, B+.

#5: Molly's: B+

#6:  Kaiser's: B+ (but only with pork "skin" still attached, and best served as a sandwich. Without the skin it's  B-).

#7: Dickie's: B (w/ or w/o sauce, same grade).

#8 Sean's Smokehouse C without sauce

#9 Pat's C

#10 Sugarhouse C-

3.  BBQ chicken.  

 #1 Charlie Boy's (catering only) A

#2: Famous Daves BBQ chicken: A-.

#3. Molly's: B+.

#4. Five Star BBQ:  B+ .

#5. Wild Mustang, Orem, fire-grilled chicken (very similar to Famous Dave's). B+  The grilled chicken is better than the BBQ chicken there because their sauce is not the best. 

#6: Famous Dave's Roast Chicken: B+.

#7: Sugarhouse: B+ (sometimes it's a B),

#8. Goodwood. B+

#9 Rib City: B

#10. Seans Smokehouse. C+

#11 Kaisers C+

4.  Best 11 Baby Back Ribs of 34 tested in Utah. (Another group of restaurants use full-size ribs, below this list).

#1.  Charlie Boys (catering co. - 801-427-0600)

#2.  Rib City, American Fork: A.

#3. ONLY RARELY SERVED, AS THEY FOCUS ON ST. LOUIS STYLE: Kaiser's, SLC B+. (Some bites are tender, some are not.)

#4 Wallaby's, new location: Orem
GRADES ACCORDING TO SAUCE THEY GLAZE ON THEM - the best one allows Wallaby's to barely beat out Golden Corral, with their best sauce:
a. raspberry B+
b. sweet honey (best one to get) B/B+
c. sweet and spicy B
d. chipotle B-
e. original B-
f. peach B-
g. zesty B-

#5. Golden Corral, national chain (only served seasonally)
a. with glaze of sauce: KC Masterpiece: hickory brown sugar B+
b. with glaze of sauce: KC Masterpiece: chipotle B
c. with glaze of sauce: KC Masterpiece: original C+

6. Joe Morley's "Sugar-back ribs" (not their reg. flavor), Midvale: B+

7. Milagro's Mexican in Orem (not smoked, but marinated for 2 days in citrus juices then oven-cooked with wonderful candy-like glaze, similar to top-rated Rib City for baby backs. The pork lacks flavor, the sauce saves them:
a. ribs with EXTRA jalapeno sauce B/B+
b. ribs with BBQ sauce B-
c. ribs alone C-

8. Eating Establishment, Park City (non-BBQ place and not smoked ribs, braised with house BBQ sauce). B/B+

#9: Smokin' Apple, Pleasant Grove, plain or glazed B/B+

Down into the merely good ribs, rating in the B's, are:

#10. Seans Smokehouse, Saratoga Springs B-

#11. Boneyard, Park City (with rootbeer BBQ sauce; this is not a BBQ place; not smoked) B

#12. Bistro 412, Park City (not a BBQ place; not smoked) B

 next 16 best  Baby Back Ribs  The "second team" gathered B's, C's, and D's.
They are in order:
Outback: B
Sizzler: B
Texas Roadhouse.  "Is 5% better than Chiles" rates the review editor and agreed upon by others. B
Chile's Texas Whiskey B (Chilie's Original C+, Chilie's Dry Rub ribs C-)
Five Star B-.
Lone Star
Ruby River, first visit (2010) D+, second visit (2011) B
Molly's B
Goodwood B-
Yaki Yami's, Park City (non-smoked, with jalapeno glaze and chocolate teriyaki sauce; not enough glaze but good idea) C
Dalton's, Payson, non-smoked
LaPuente's, SLC, Mexican place, non-smoked.
Tony Roma's SLC C-.
Moore's (Ogden).
Ruby River: D+
TGI Friday D+
Outpost, SLC:  D+.

Not rated in order, but decent, is Big Al's in Sandy and Capt Len's in Alpine, which were tested after the above were tested and rated.

[Historical note: Now defunct, good place: Buffalo Joes, SLC: B++. Note: A number of other BBQ places have come and gone that we've tested, but none were any higher than a B+.  Soul and Bones B- was our fave of the now defunct places.

5. Best 4 Full-size (St. Louis style) Ribs. (all the top 4 can be best on any given day; but taking into account consistency, the following is our rating:)

#1 Cafe 300, Provo (when they serve them): A

#2 Wild Mustang (ask for basil leaves on top). must be freshly cooked to be an A-

#3 Kaisers, SLC (only when freshly smoked and hot) (flavor is A-, but tough): B/B+

#4 Kirby Q Catering  Call 801-503-9006 


The next 7best Full-size (St. Louis style) Ribs, in order: (B's through D's)

#5: Smoke N Bones, Bountiful B+

#6. Rib City. B/B+ (C for tough texture, A- for flavor that has very similar candy glaze sauce to Sonny Bryan's of Texas, formerly of Utah, which was in the top 2 till they left the state).

#7: Pat's: B/B+

#8 Famous Dave's regular: B (2nd time a B-, tough) (don't get "80 Proof ribs", which scored slightly lower at B- both times).

#9 Spencer's, Park City (at Farmer's market and catering only) B

#10.Sugarhouse BBQ: B-/B

#11 Morley's, Midvale B- -

Rated D:

#12 Dickie's (national chain from TX, throughout Utah D+.

#13: Outback: D (a year earlier they rated a B+; they're either inconsistent or have gone downhill)

6.  Beef Ribs.  

1: Goodwood.A

2: Sizzlers: B (seasonal special, all you can eat: $7.99 in 2013)

Note: Pat's were the best, but no longer serving beef ribs.

7.  Catfish. 

See the Fish and Chips post UNDER 'BEST SEAFOOD IN UTAH" for details.

8.  Steaks. 

(We have a separate section for Best Steaks in Utah, but for a BBQ place . . . )

#1:  BBQ place steak is the ribeye at Goodwood BBQ. Their own seasoning as they cook it helps to make it better than most.

9.  Pork Steak.  
Kaiser's Bar B-Q: B++

10.  Fried Chicken.  (BBQ places)

 1) Mama's Southern Plantation: B.  (not truly a BBQ place, as they oven-cook their ribs, etc, but it's a darn good southern food place!)

(See our site under Best Fried Chicken in Utah for the very best places that have it, beyond BBQ places.)

11.  Smoked Sausage:  

#1 Big Bones, Spanish Fork. B-   Most places are pretty bad.

12.  Braised Beef: 

Molly's: B- (only place found)
(Best by far in Utah is at a non-BBQ place: Le Caille in SLC, grade A-.)

13. Smoked Turkey

Seans Smokehouse in Saratoga Springs::B+ (great, fresh turkey flavor but non-existant smoke flavor).  .

# 1. Wallaby's. Pomegranite Limeade. A


1. Mac and cheese.  

We've had Mac and Cheese at over 3 dozen places. These are the Top 9 (Iist includes non BBQ places):

 #1. Ruth's Diner, SLC

#2. Red Robbin, national burger chain, served with pork riblets. A

#3  Famous Dave's: B++ (jjalapeno, 4 cheeses, and corn)

#4 Smokin' Apple B+

#5  Communal, Provo. B+ (smoked cheese, peas, ham)

#6. Big Bones BBQ, Spanish Fork. B+

#7 O'Shuck's Pub and Grill, Park City (west side location only) B+

#8. Pizzaria 712, Orem, uses great scratch-made mornay sauce and cheese B+

#9. Golden Corral B+

#10. Purple Sage, Park City B

2. Best mashed potatoes (and gravy)
#1 (tie) (non-BBQ place: Communal Yukon Gold mashed potatoes (no gravy) A+

#1 (tie) Sugarhouse BBQ, bordering Sugarhouse, SLC. The gravy is what makes this amazing: A+  

#1 (tie) Cafe 300, Provo A+ (only if turkey gravy - must request it) A

#1 (tie) Molly's, Provo, w/Turkey gravy: A.  Tuesday is only day they serve their fresh turkey gravy - CURRENT DISCONTINUED WITH TURKEY GRAVY.  A

#5: Pat's, Get meat-gravy only! A.  (They also have regular mashed potatoes & gravy that aren't in the same ballpark -- a B- -). 

#6: Five Star, Orem:  A (herbed).   

#7: Ruby River Steakhouse: A- (mashed & cheese), 

#8 Wallabys. B++

#9:  Goodwood, with cream gravy: B++

10-12 virtually a tie:

#10 (non BBQ place:) Golden Corral B +

#11: Famous Dave's Garlic mashed: B+

#12 Spin Cafe, Heber B+

#13: Smokin' Apple, Lindon: B (garlic mashed)

#14: Smokehouse Burgers and BBQ, Orem: B 

#15: Joe Morley's: B

(Notable but now defunct: Buffalo Joes, SLC: A- (with sausage gravy).   

15. Sonny Bryan's, SLC: B

3. Clam Chowder (See our site, Best Clam Chowder in Utah, for a fuller list.)

1.  Eating Establishment, Park City

2. Cafe 300 (non BBQ place, but does smoke some meats) 

3. Lion House Pantry, SLC (non BBQ place)

4. Great Steak sandwich on west Geneva Rd., Provo (served only Nov - Feb)

4. Baked beans
1. Rib City, AF: A

2. Pats A-

3. Big Bones, Spanish Fork A -

#4: Famous Dave's: A- 

#5. Smokin' apple B+/A-

6-9 are virtually a tie:

#6: Sean's Smokehouse: B+

#7 Spin Cafe, Heber B+

#8: Molly's: B+

#9: Joe Morley's: B+

#10: Sugarhouse: B. 

Others were all B- or lower (Lon's, Cedar City: B-, for example, and others)

5. Carrots.  

Molley's, Provo: A+ (2nd time: B+)  (not typical BBQ fare; giving it good flavor is the fact it is served with wine sauce)

6.  Sweet Potatoes.  

#1 tie: Goodwood: A-.  

#1 tie: non BBQ place: Station 22, Provo (not really a BBQ place), fried and seasoned wedges A -

#3:  Mollys.  B+ (we assume they're cooked with skins off; it takes that way; so we believe it could be better if the flavor weren't boiled away with the skins off when cooked)

7. Yams (similar to sweet potatoes). 

Mama's Southern Plantation, Sandy. A+ Incredible!

8.  Corn.  

#1 Black Sheep (on cob)

#2 Big Bones (creamed corn, when available)

#3 Smokin' Apple (creamed):  B+

#4  Famous Dave's (creamed): B+

9.  Onion Rings.  

#1 Station 22, Provo: B+ (non BBQ place)

#2 Famous Dave's: B+

(speaking of onion, at Milagro's Mexican Grill in Orem is the honey-infused onion: an A-, which comes as your requested side to any meal). Also check them out at Tommy's Burgers on 100 North in Provo)

10.  Green Beans.  

#1. Famous Dave's, national chain: A-

#2   Dickies, national chain A-

#3: Molly's, Provo: B+

#4 Sonny Bryan's, regional chain: B

11. Cole Slaw.  

 (8 way tie: Slaw was very subjective to our testers) 

#1 (tie) Charlie Boys (catering co.)

#1 (tie) Station 22 A-

#1 (tie) Sugarhouse: A-

 #1 (tie) Rib City (first time it was an A-, our 2nd time rated it only a B -)

#1 (tie) Smokehouse BBQ, Orem A-

#1 tie: Mama's Southern Plantation is not a BBQ place - it's soul food - but the slaw is among the best A-

#1 (tie) Communal, Provo (non-BBQ place) A -

#1 (tie) Sean's in Saratoga Springs A-

Most  places are C's (Lon's in Cedar City, Chile's Southwest Grill (non BBQ place obviously, though they do serve ribs), and D's..

12. Caribbean Jerked Chicken Sandwich.  

Sugarhouse: B+ with white sauce, otherwise, a C w/o sauce)

13.  Cornbread. 

 #1: Famous Dave's: B+

#2: Sugarhouse BBQ: B

#3 Mama K's Southern Plantation

14. Dirty (seasoned) Rice.  

 Chile's (not truly a "dirty" rice): B-

15. n/a

16.  Hush Puppies

#1  Handle's Restaurant, Park City (non-BBQ place) A+

#2 Chubby's: A+

#3 Mama's Southern Plantation: A

17.  Potato Salad

 #1: Five Star, Orem: A- (might be too "pickle-ish" for some)

#2: tie Pats: B+

#2 tie Cafe 300 B+

#4: Dickie's: B (whipped and different)

#5: Joe Morley's: B

18.  Greens.  

 #1 Pat's, mustard greens: B+

#2 Mama's Southern plantation collard greens B+

19.  Red Beans & Rice

 #1 Chubby's, Pleasant Grove  A-

#2 Pat's, SLC: B+

#3 (non BBQ) Boudreau's Bistro, Payson B+

#4 (non BBQ) Popeyes, Thanksgiving Point and Hill Air Force Base, Ogden: B+

20.  Fries.  - Also see our separate rating for Fries, including all places (BBQ + others)

#1 Big Bones - order it double fried, sweet and salty, with sweet and savory seasoning! Voila!

#2 Seans Smokehouse

#3 Famous Dave's: B- (big style, not our fav usually), 

(Also great are Del Taco and, if you like fresh-cut: In and Out Burger.)

21.  Dinner roll

#1 Lion House Pantry (non BBQ place, Salt Lake City)

#2 Smokin' Apple, Lindon: B

#3  Nedra's rolls at Wild Mustang, Orem. B (OUT OF BUSINESS)

22.  Rice & meaty gravy.  

Pat's: B (order the "meaty" gravy only, not the rice and regular gravy, which is another menu item)

23.  Creole Black Beans & Rice.  

 Pat's: B+

24.  Jambalaya.  

 Pat's: B+

27.  French Bread

#1:Five Star, Orem: A- 

28.  Rice Pilaf: 

 Goodwood: B (C+ 2nd time) 

BEST DESSERTS - see Best Desserts in Utah


Note:  Most places have more than one sauce - we only list the ones that rated an A.

1. Big Bones, Spanish Fork (it cooks up better than anybody's, but to eat alone is not that great)

2. Pats, Salt Lake City. (Sweet Heat A-)

3.  Famous Dave's, Sandy and Ogden, national chain. (Sweet & Zesty B+)

Historical note: Out of business, but they earned an A: Papa's Southern BBQ, Provo, and Munchies, Provo.

Footnote about sauces:
We've tested a hundred or so sauces - both store brands and the top BBQ places in the U.S., flying them in when we also flew in ribs, pulled pork, and chicken from 22 different rib places in the U.S.

The best known ones are:

Corky's, Rendezvous (both in Memphis), Dreamland in Alabama, Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Carson's of Chicago, etc., etc.  We tested all their sauces and rubs.

Our fav rub anywhere: Interstate, Memphis.

Best sauce:  Big Bob Gibsons Red Sauce of Decatur, Alabama is the originator of this sauce  (which Five Star in Orem and many places around the country now try to emulate).

3. Individual BBQ Restaurants rated

Bam Bams BBQ, Orem
a. chopped beef (spicy) B/B+
b. pinto beans (spicy) C
c. slaw B+
d. potato salad B-/B
e. wet brisket, first trip A, second trip (April 2014) C+ to B+ depending on tenderness of each portion
f. pulled pork B- -
g. turkey C+
h. ribs: first visit: ribs alone C, with tangy sauce C-, with sweet sauce C+; second visit (Apr 2014) ribs alone B-, with tangy sauce B-, with sweet sauce B)
i. dry brisket (flavor B) C+/B-

Big Al's, Draper (moved from Provo)
a. Garlic Texas toast (butter-margarine blend [normally we hate margarine], best Texas toast in the state!) A
b. pecan pie C
c. ribs (if old D+), 
d. ribs, first time (Dec 2011) fresh A, second time (Jan 2012, one hour old) B, third time (Sep 2013) C
e. cheese brisket sandwich B-
f. brisket, dry end C-/C
g. brisket, true wet end, first time freshly smoked B+, second time, day old B- (dry parts D+), third time, wet and dry cut from same slice C+, fourth time (Sep 2013) C
h. smoked sausage (among best in Utah) B+, with hot sauce A-
i. pulled pork: first visit C-/C, second visit B-, third visit (Jan 2012) freshly made B, fourth visit (2012) served only warm C+
j. grandma's mac and cheese A-
k. creamy corn B++
l. cheesy potato B+
m. Aunt Doris' dill potato salad A-
n. poppyseed coleslaw A- -
o. smoked turkey breast (Jan 2012) room temp C+, served freshly made B-
p. onion strips, served hot A
q. baked beans B 
r. SAUCES: Dec 2011-Jan 2012
tangy, first visit (Dec 2011) A-, second visit (Jan 2012) B+
sweet B++
hot B++
Revised: Sep 2013: all sauces C
s. pecan pie C

(Southwestern food, not true BBQ place, with some BBQ foods; national chain)
Older test results from June 2010: all 4 of the ribs and items found at BBQ places:
a. original ribs C+
b. dry rub ribs C-
c. Texas whiskey ribs B
d. slaw C

Devil's Daughter, SLC
Note: some of these items may have been discontinued. 
a. pulled pork B-
b. BBQ ribs B++
c. slaw C+
d. beans B-/B
e. pork sandwich B+
f. fries C

Dickie's BBQ, national chain
a. pecan pie D
b. roll B/B+
c. ribs, first visit (March 2011) C-, second visit (2014) D
d. wet brisket (served only chopped) B-
e. mac and cheese C+/B-, with sauce C-
f. sauce alone for mac and cheese C
g. green beans (with bacon, onion, garlic), first visit March 2011 B/B+, second visit 2014 A, third visit  (Apri 2014) B/B+
h. Dickie's BBQ sauce C
i. cheddar sausage D-
j. polish sausage D
k. hot links D
k. original B
l. hot B
m. sweet B+
n. potato baked casserole B-
o. fried okra B-
p. slaw B
q. baked beans (canned tasting) B- -
r. potato salad (whipped) B/B+
s. brisket (butter end) (2014) C++
t. pulled pork (2014) B, with sauce B
u. pecan pie D
v. roll B/B+

Famous Daves, national chain
a. roast chicken, first visit (Dec 2007) B+, second visit (May 2010) C+, third visit (2011) B+
b. BBQ chicken, first visit (Dec  2007) A-, second visit (May 2010) B, third visit (2011) A-
c. mac and cheese (with jalapeno, 4 cheeses, and corn!) B++ 
d. #4 baked beans, first visit (2010 B+, second visit (2011) A -
e. #5 best wings "80 Proof" A - -
f. corn, creamed (2207 and 2011) B+
g. green beans, first visit (2007) B-, second visit (2011) A  -
h. #1 best cornbread B+
i. #10 best mashed potatoes (garlic mashed) B+
j. N/A
k. "80 proof" ribs (candied glaze but tough), first visit (2010) B-, second visit (2011) C+
l. regular ribs, first visit (2007) (flavor C-, tender pieces B-, tough pieces D) total C, second visit (2010) tough B-, third visit (2011) B
m. big fries A-
BBQ SAUCES (also at stores):
n. Sweet and Zesty B+
o. Sweet and Sassy B
p. Devil's Pit C++
q. Texas Pit D+
r. cream sauce for fish B+
s. marmalade sauce for catfish A-
2007 test:
t. onion rings B+
u. catfish C+
v. buffalo wings B-
w. chicken tenders B-
x. muffin B-
y. green beans B-
z. slaw A-
2011 test:
aa. Georgia chopped pork C-, with sauce C
bb. brisket, first visit (2007) C+, second visit (2011) (C+ tenderness, B+ flavor) total B
cc. rib tips B-
dd. BBQ wings (with 80 proof) A- -
ee. hot link sausage C
ff. garlic red skin mashed potatoes B+

Firehouse BBQ, Sugarhouse (SLC)
a. pulled pork (super tender, no smoke flavor) B-
b. brisket (flavor C-, tender texture A-) total B-
c. ribs B-
d. baked beans C-
e. asian cajun slaw A

Five Star BBQ, Orem
Dec 2013 test:
a.mashed potatoes (herbed) A-/A
b. #1 best potato salad (strong pickle flavor), first visit (March 2011) B+, second visit (Dec 2013) A -
c. #1 best French bread A-
d. boneless, skinless chicken thigh B++ (in March 2011 it was whole pieces, graded at B+)
e. St. Louis ribs, first visit (2011) B-, second visit (Dec 2013) (similar flavor to Joe Morley's St. Louis ribs) B
f. pulled pork, plain (2011 and 2013 same grades): (tender, but no smoke flavor to it) B, with sauce B-, with white sauce B-
h. brisket, wet end, first visit (March 2011) B-/B, second visit (Dec 2013) A
i. brunswick stew C/C+
j. smoked beans B+
k. slaw (too strong mayo), first visit (2011) C, second visit (Dec 2013) C+/B-
l. mac and cheese C+/B-
m. sweet C++
n. house C++
o. white (tested in 2011) C-
Note about white sauce: Many places try to copy the original, Big Bob Gibson's Alabama white sauce. This site's editor was raised where Gibson made white sauce famous at his own BBQ joint, and his is the only one I've had that is made right, but kudos to Five Star for trying to make it. And it's not bad.) C-

Goodwood BBQ, Utah chain
a. best beef ribs in state, first test: dry to fattier bites range form B- to B/B+, average B; second test (Apr 2014) A
b. mashed potatoes with cream gravy B+ + (mash alone, Apr 2014, B-)
c. gravy alone C
d. #1 (tie) best sweet potatoes B/B+ and 2 other visits: A -
e. 2nd best Delmonico steak (in Utah it is prime rib finished off on the grill; other regions of the country define Delmonico differently. #1 is at Claimjumper, Heber) A- (tender parts) to C+ (tougher part)
f. ribeye steak B/B+ (tender part) to B- - (tough part)
g. baked beans B/B+
h. rice pilaf, first visit B, second visit C+, third visit B/B+
i. burger (meat flavor B+, meat texture B-, meat total B; bun B-/B; bacon, chewy C+/B-) total B/B+
j. chicken fried steak (grizzlly flank steak C-) total C+
k. ditto with gravy and mash B-
l. garlic mash with cream gravy B
m. mash alone B
n. dark meat smoked chicken, first test (June 2010) B, second test 2014 B/B+, third test (Apr 2014) B+
o. brisket (tough) C+
p. slaw B-
q. potato salad B
r. mac and cheese (american cheese) B-/B
s. texas toast C+
t. pulled pork (not Carolina pulled pork, which is supposed to be better), (June 2010) B++
u. apple turkey C++/B-
v. BBQ sauce C++/B-
w. baby back ribs, first visit (2010) C-, second visit (2014) B, third visit (Apr 2014) B/B+
x. St. Louis ribs B
y. salmon D
z. lemon cream sauce for salmon (mostly herbs) C-/C
aa. salmon with lemon cream sauce combined D+
bb. cornbread B+
cc. chile (brisket, no beans, smoky) B+
dd. Mike's chicken tortilla soup B+

Joe Morley's Smokehouse, Midvale
a. Baby back ribs: "Sugar Back Ribs" (not the other 2, "regular," ribs here). B+
b. #5 best potato salad (B) (Few places have good potato salad, so we listed it, even though it's only a B.)
c. smoked whole chicken C++
d. hot sausage C- -
e. spare ribs C+
f. brisket C+
g. slaw B
h. baked beans, first visit (2010) B+, second visit (2014) C++
i. St. Louis (large spare) ribs B- -
j. mash B

Kaiser's BBQ, Salt Lake City
a. praline pecan cookie B
b. baby back ribs - if freshly out of smoker and tender A-
c. best lean brisket in state (we prefer wet brisket at places - they don't serve it)
d. prime rib (on Fridays) C+
e. pork steak B++
f.  St. Louis ribs, with sauce C+
g. dry end brisket (all they have); C+ at driest bites, B+ with fat in each bite
h. pulled pork, alone B-, with sauce B-, with skin B+
i. chopped beef with much sauce D
j. sausage D
k. BBQ sauce C
l. slaw C-
m. pinto beans C
n. potato salad C

Molly's, Provo
Note: Our favorite dish there is no longer served: deep pocket beef ribs (oven cooked, glaze very good) B+. Also not served: reg. beef ribs (bbq) C++, and best mash and gravy in state on Tuesdays when they made turkey.
a. baby back ribs, first time B-, second time (Dec  2013) (inside bites tender but flavorless B-/B; bites with glaze B++) total B
b. sweet potatoes, first visit (June 2010) flavor boiled away with skins off B+, second visit (either our criteria had changed or perhaps they had added more seasoning that the carrots had absorbed) A
c. BBQ smoked chicken, first time (June 2010) both dark pieces B+, second time A-, third time (Dec 2013) leg B-, thigh B++
d. braised pork D
e. stewed veges wtih the pork A
f. Carolina pulled pork B+
g. 23 hour TX brisket first time (tender but little flavor) B , second time (tough but flavor B) total C+
h. braised beef B-
i. baked beans B+
j. brisket 
k. mash, first visit (June 2010) B+, second visit A
l. mushroom gravy A- -
j. green beans C+
k. tomato-basil pie, no eggs B/B+
l. bacon soup B+
m. pulled pork C
n. chicken enchilada A- - 
o. baked beans (whole) B
p. carrot cake B
q. #1 best carrots, first visit (June 2010 A+, second visit A
r. tomato basil soup B+
s. French chicken in wine sauce, first time B+, second time (Dec 2013) (tough chicken C, gravy B+/A-, carrots A) total B-
t. wine sauce B+
u. carrots A
v. mash A
w. white gravy C+
x. pot roast gravy B/B+
y. mac and cheese B
z. corn chowder B, with shrimp B+
aa. chocolate cake/cheesecake marble (little cheesecake) B-/B

Pat's BBQ, Salt Lake City
2013 TEST:
a. beef ribs DISCONTINUED ITEM in 2011: it was #1 best beef ribs, rated A+ in April 2010) (if they bring it back - perhaps it may be on Fridays like it used to be). Now, #1 is Goodwood BBQ, various Utah locations
b.baked beans, first visit (2006) B-, second visit (2013) A - (among highest of over 40 tested)
c. mashed potatoes and meat gravy (don't get regular gravy!) A-
d. #2 (tie) best potato salad (behind Five Star, tied with Cafe 300) (B +)
e. #1 best greens - mustard  greens (B+)
f. #2 best red beans and rice (B+)
g. #1 best Creole black beans and rice (B+)
h. #1 best jambalaya (B+)
i. #2 best. BBQ Sauce with meats (#1 for tasting alone) ("Sweet Heat" - not their others) A -
2011 TEST:
j. cornbread, first visit (Sep 2006) C-, second visit (Feb 2010) C+, third visit (Dec 2011) B
k. wet end brisket ("burnt ends") B+
l. dry brisket (2006) D
m. slaw, first visit (2006) C, second visit (Feb 2010) A-, third visit (Dec 2011) B+
n. potato salad, first visit (2006) B+, second visit (Feb 2010) A-, third visit (Dec 2011)  A-
o. baked beans, first visit (2006) B-, second visit (Feb 2010) A-, third visit (Nov 2011) B+/A-
p. mustard greens B+
q. red beans and rice, first visit (April 2010) A-, second visit (Dec 2011) B+ (best)
r. meaty gravy and rice, first visit (April 2010) A-, second visit (Nov 2011) B
s. mashed potato and meaty gravy A
t. mashed potato and reg. gravy for itB+, but C++ without gravy,
u. gravy alone (canned) (April 2010) C-
v. jambalaya B+ (best)
w. rib tips B+ (hard crusty parts C)
x. creole black beans and rice B+ (best)
z. RIBS:
first visit (2006) alone B
second visit (Feb 2010, tested with various specific sauces:
alone B+
with sweet heat B++
with mild B++
with Big Powder? Brown Sugar C
with mustard sauce C+
with Big Powder? Sweet Vinegar C-
third visit (Nov 2011) C, with sauces B+
fourth visit (Dec 2011) B+, with sauces B++
aa. smoked chicken:
thigh (2010 and 2011) C-, with sauce C+
leg (2010 and 2011) C+
breast C+, with sauce B+
bb. pulled pork, first visit (2006) C, second visit (Nov 2011) C+, with sauce C-
cc. sweet potato pie B-
dd. pecan pie A (best in Utah)
BBQ SAUCES (2010):
ee. mild A-
ff. mustard, first test (April. 2010) C, second test (Decd 2011) B-
gg. red, first test (April 2010) B-, second test (Feb 2011) A-, third test (Dec 2011) B

* Rib City, American Fork (based in Ft. Meyers, FL)
a. #1 baby back ribs, first visit (2010) B++, later visits (2011-2013) A
b. #1 pulled pork A
c. baked beans, first visit (2010) B++, later visits (2011-2013) A-, last visit (March 2013) (needed more poppyseeds to become an A as it had been) B+
d. slaw, first visit (2010) B, later visits (2011-2013) A-
e. St. Louis ribs, first visit (2010) (texture, tough, C, flavor A-) total B+, second visit (2013) C+
f. brisket, thin slices B-
g. chicken, whole pieces: thigh (moist) B/B+, leg (dry, overcooked) C-
h. okra D+
i.  beef, eye of round (would be A if more tender) B+
j. pork collar (would work great for ham sandwiches, and if more tender, would be an A) B+

Sean's Smokehouse, Saratoga Springs
a. fries A-
b. bleu cheese burger (mild cheese, bun B-, meat B, bacon C+/B-) total: B++
c. beef brisket (no smoke flavor but has visible smoke ring) D
d. beef brisket sandwich (bun alone: B) Total: C
e. pulled pork C++
f. bone-in chicken B-
g. turkey B-/B
h. baked beans B-/B
i. cowboy beans C+
j. potato  salad C-/C
k. slaw B/B+
l. garlic toast D
m. ribs B+ 
n. black and blue (?) B-/B
o.Tennessee holler'n sauce C+
p. peach cobler C-
q. Texas smoke sauce D-
r. mustard sauce C-

Smokehouse BBQ, Orem
a. Smokehouse burger (bacon, egg, cheese, buttered bun B, raw spinach, tomato, bacon A-, sunny egg, american cheese, beef B [flavor C, texture A]) B
2010 ratings at Provo location, now in Orem:
b. St. Louis style ribs B-, later in 2012: C- -
c  brisket (great flavor, tough) dry C+, wet (2012) B- -
d. smoked sausage (With red onion and green pepper, this is our fave of all smoked sausages, while the competitors don't grade higher than C's and D's) B-
e. baked beans C+
f. apple sauce (homemade, too cinnemony, but the best we've had) A-
g. slaw A-
h. mash B
i. mac and cheese B-; later in 2012 B- -
j. potato salad D++, later in 2012 B-
WHEN IN PROVO, in 2010:
k. homemade potato chips C-
l. mash C-
m. baked beans B- -, later in 2012 C+
n. slaw C
o. apple sauce B
p. mac and cheese B- (later in 2012 B- -)

Smokin' Apple BBQ, Lindon
a. pulled pork, first visit (March 2010) A, with sauce B; second visit (2010) alone B- -, with sauce B+, third visit (Dec 2013 C) fourth visit (2014) alone A -, with sauce B+
b. top 3 creamed corn (B+) 
c. mac and cheese, first visit (Dec 2013) B+/A-, second visit (2014) B+ 
d. smoked cajun sausage (hot spicy), first visit (Dec 2013) B, second visit (2014) B - -
e. brisket, first visit (2010) B, with sauce C-; second visit (2011, before the wet and dry were mixed together and chopped up) C+, but freshly smoked wet end B+, all with sauce: A-; third visit (2014) wet and dry all chopped together: first visit (Dec 2013) B-, second visit (2014) C
f. garlic mash B
g. beans C++
h. baby back ribs, first visit (2010) alone B++, with sauce B+; second visit (Dec 2013) plain or glazed with sauce - same grade B/B+, third visit (2014) plain or glazed B/B+ 
March 2010:
i. chicken, grilled and chopped with added sauce, first visit (Dec 2013) C, second visit (2014) C-/D+
j. smoked cajun sausage C-
k. Eric's cheese steak sandwich B+
l. garlic smashed taters B-
m. dinner roll B-
n. sweet butter corn B+
o. baked beans, first visit (Dec 2013) B+/A-, too smoky second visit (2014) C+/B-
p. sweet corn bread B-
q. slaw B- -
r. reg. corn B

Sugarhouse BBQ, Sugarhouse (SLC)
2010 TEST:
a. rib ends C
b. smoked wings B
c. Memphis ribs, cold C, freshly hot B+ 
d. chicken, whole pieces, first visit (9 March 1010) B, second visit (18 March  2010) B+
e. jumbalaya B-
f. BBQ sauce B
g. Greek oven roasted potatos C
h. mashed potatoes and gravy A
i. slaw A-
j. baked beans B
k. cornbread B
l. Carolina pulled pork sandwich C+, withsauce B
k. Texas beef brisket sandwich C, with sauce B-
Turkey breast sandwich:
l. cornbread stffing for turkey C
m. cranberry sauce for turkey C+
n. Alabama white sauce with turkey B
o. turkey only B+
p. whitesauce only B++
q. Carribbeean jerked chicken sandwich C, with white sauce B+, with only tomato, lettuce, and cucumber B, with only cranberry C+

Wallaby's BBQ, Lindon
a. sweet honey (best one to get) B+
b. raspberry B
c. chipotle B-
d. original B-
e. peach B-
f. zesty B-
g. dry rub (slightly above Smokin' Appple) B/B+
a. mash B++
b. larger spare ribs B- -
c. slaw B- - -
d. baked beans, first visit: C-, second visit B- - -, third and fourth visits (Dec 2013 and April 2015) B-/B
e. wet end brisket. Top 2 in state. A-
f. #1 best house-made soft drink: Pomegranite Limeade A
g. dry end brisket C-
h. pulled pork, first test B-; second test (Dec 2013) C+/B
i. pulled pork with sauce that comes with it B-
j. smoked sausage C+
k. shredded chipotle chicken (tough with OK sauce) C/C+

* Wild Mustang, Orem (primarily BBQ place, with other foods)
(pies originate from Croshaw's Pies, St. George)
* Wild Mustang, Orem
(pies originate from Croshaw's Pies, St. George)
a. Coconut Cream pie. A- 
b. Coconut merange B+
c. Banana Cream pie. B
d. German Chocolate cream pie. A
e. Strawberry pie - seasonal. A- JUNE IS UTAH'S STRAWBERRY MONTH
f. Sour  cream apple. A-
g. lemon merange (fake strong lemon) first test (Feb 2013) C-, second test (2014) D
h. peach B
i. chocolate cream, first test (Feb 2013) C, second test (2014) B++
j. cherry B/B+
k. pecan (needs molasses and bourbon) C
l. very berry B+
a. Wild Mustang burger (great secret yellow sauce - fry sauce with a little BBQ sauce in it A, bun B+, smoked Angus A-, however meat is B- if no chargrilled flavor) total A-
b. trout with cream sauce B+
c. parmasean cod  total B+
d. stuffed salmon with sauce (these following 4 items go with either the salmon or the above cod: spinach, artichoke, cheese, panko crumbs combo A+, fish B) total B+
e. ribeye steak, medium rare (B+/A-) (A- when freshly served)
f. amazing trout with cream sauce
g. best green sauce cheese enchiladas (ask them to make certain the cheese is melted - they're inconsistent). DO NOT get it with red sauce. A-
h. best steak enchilada - get with green sauce or no sauce to taste the good grilled sirloin
i. best smoked pork enchilada - get with green sauce or no sauce to taste the smoked pork A-
j. best sweet pork enchilada - get with green sauce
k. best mango salsa chicken enchilada (with roasted chicken) - get with green sauce
l. pulled pork  B/B+
m. with sauce: B-
n. fish and chps: (cod: C++, batter B+, combined: B-/B
o. tartar sauce B-
ps. turkey cranberry sandwich (turkey slices C+, croissant C+/B, plus mayo and cran sauce pulls grade up to B) total B
t. rolls (among best in state) B+
u. rice D
v. green beans B+
w. philly steak sandwich C
x. brisket C+
y. slaw B+/A-
z. BBQ sauce (better when glazed on ribs) C
aa. green beans B+, yankee style A
bb. ranch beans C-
cc. clam chowder B-
dd. tortilla soup C
ee. ribs B+ (customized with basil leaves added in sauce B++)
ff. roasted chicken B+
gg. BBQ chicken B
hh. chicken salad sandwich  (needs more grapes, apples, sauce for moisture, lighter vroissant like Kneader's or more buttery like Paradise's) B+
ii. cheesesteak (sandwich): steak and everything C

4. Best Ribs in Park City (in order)
(8 of the 11 we tested are oven cooked and 3 are smoked, noted below)  

1. Handle (candy glaze, unsmoked, like Milagros in Orem) B/B+
2. Eating Establishment B/B+
3. Chimayo, jalapeno glazed. B
4. Billy Blanco B
5. Bistro 412, garlie fennel rubbed, with two sauces (If you don't love garlic and fennel, this will be rated lower. If you absolutely love it, it will be rated higher, even up to #1) B
6. Spencer's (smoked, farmer's market and catering) B-/B
7.  Windy Ridge B -/B
8. Boneyard B-/B
9Yaki Yami, chocolate teriyaki and jalapeno glaze sounds good, but not enough glaze, B -
10. Shabu, Kurbata short ribs: C+
11.. Zoom C -
12.  Bird and Barley C- (smoked)
13.  Bandit Grill - St. Louis ribs. C- (smoked) (their sauce is a D)

Final note: BBQ places out of business

Big Bones BBQ, Spanish Fork
a. beef brisket (wet end especially), first test (B- alone, B with sauce), second test A-, third test (May 2012) B+
b. Top 2 for St. Louis ribs B+
c. #1 chicken, whole pieces (when available - lately not available)
d. #1 pulled pork with sauce (if they have time to make it their best way; otherwise it's still good), A with sauce A
e. #4 best mac and cheese B+ (among over 45 tested)
f. #1 fries. Get the sweet and salty, special double-cooked fries with sugar seasoning
g. #3 best baked beans (A -) (among 40 + tested) (after Rib City and Pat's BBQ)
h. #1 best creamed corn (seasonal)
i. #1 best BBQ sauce ((it cooks up with meats better than anybody's but if eaten alone it was not our fav. That is true of the best BBQ sauces elsewhere, as well.) 
j. great cheeseburger (from the top: bun, mayo, lettuce, bacon, cheese, black-peppered beef - cooked in it (beef B+), on mayo-mustared bottom bun) A-
k. very good chicken fried steak B+
l. fried chicken: wings B+, other pieces C+/B-
m. #1 best brisket sandwich - in fact #2 best sandwich in state period!
n. green beans with pork C+
o. potato salad B- -
p. ranch beans B++
q fries - best in state (double fried, with seasoning) A
r. bacon burger A-
s. BBQ sauce A
t. smoked sausage C++
u. rib ends, tough ones C-, tender ones B+, overall C+
v. hot link C-, with sauce B-
w. slaw C-
x. baked beans, canned C
r. baked beans, house made C
s. slaw B-
t. dry end brisket C
u. creamed corn A+
v. hoagie roll with sandwiches A
w. burger buns C-

D Boys, Orem 2012
a. wet end brisket, if hot A
b. st. louis ribs, when only warm C; but among best in state when freshly smoked A- 
c. rice (a bit too lemony) B++
d. potato salad, when not fresh C, when fresh A
e. Carolina slider (bun C) C+/B-
f. Greek salad (too vinegary) C
g. soulaki (lamb, beef, veges) B
h. shooter sandwich  (chopped brisket, too much weak sauce) B
i. Carolina style sandwich C
j. pulled smoked pork C, with sauce B
k. whole pieces of chicken: leg D, th igh C-
l. smoked turkey B
m. spicy sausage B-
n. D dog (meat C) total B
o. fire grilled burger with bacon and cheese (meat C-) total B
p. house made lemonade C
q. Texas toast A
r. baked beans D+
s. slaw B-

Lon's Cooking Shack, Provo, then Spanish Fork
a. sausage C-
b. baby back ribs C+
c. whole chicken pieces C+
d. baked beans B-
e. slaw (mayo-y) C+
f. brisket, warm D-, hot C
g. pulled pork D
h. BBQ sauce C-

Poor Boys BBQ and Dawgs, Spanish Fork, 2013
a. 2 cobblers C+
b. rib tips D
c. wet end brisket B
d. pulled pork D

Munchies, Provo, 2011
a. whole pieces chicken A- -
b. pulled pork, alone C, in sauce A
c. mac and chese A+
d. baked beans B+, second visit B
e. ribs (good flavor but tough) B
f. meatballs C
g. spaghetti C++

Sonny Bryans, SLC locations, 2013
a. St. Louis ribs, first visit (Jan 2012) B, second visit (Dec 2013) A- 
b. dinner rolls, first visit (Jan 2012) A, second visit (Dec 2013) B
c. apple cobbler B+
d. all sides and peach pastry: Bs and Cs
e. peach cobbler, first visit (Dec 2012) A-, second visit (Dec 2013) B/B+, third visit (2014) C+
f. cherry cobbler B/B+
g. brisket (wet end sliced) B+
h. squash medly (strong herbs) B/B+
i. slaw, first visit (Jan 2012) (vinegary) B, another visit (2014) B+/A-
j. pulled beef (wet end brisket) A-
k. sliced wet end beef A-
l. lean brisket C-
m. sausage B
n. "pork sauce" D
o. baked beans (tough but flavor B+) total C-
p. green beans (soggy) C+/B-
q. mash and white gravy B+
a. tangy C+/B-
b. buffalo B/B+
c. plain C++
d. BBQ B-
e. BBQ sauce B+

THE REST OF THESE ON THE LIST are shown here only with the items that graded B+ and higher, and the dates we last tested there. Most of them went out of business that same year or the following years, since we visit most BBQ places almost yearly. We have a file of all the items on their menus that we tested:

Rocky's Rib Shack, Pleasant Grove 2013
a. green beans A
b. wet end brisket A-, second visit B
c. sausage B+, second visit B
d. slaw B++

Buffalo Joes, SLC
a. ribs B++
b. mashed potatoes A-
c. texas cheese fries B+
d. blackberry smoothie B++
e. thick fries B+

Q4U, SLC, 2010
a. baby back ribs alone B, with sauce B+
b. catfish sandwich (bun B+), second visit (Feb 2010) (needs tomato and lettuce) A, second visit (April 2010) B++, third visit (also April 2010) A-
c. St. Louis ribs (slightly better than baby backs there), first visit (Feb 2010) B, with red mild sauce B+, second visit (April 2010) B++
d. tartar sauce A-
e. seasoned rice B+
f. yams B+
g. chicken gumbo (best in state) A-
h. peach fruit pies A-
i. cheesecake B+
j. catfish alone, first time (2006) C+, second time (Feb 2010) A-, third time (April 2010) B+
k. hushpuppies A-
l. slaw A-
m. applie fruit pie B+

Soul and Bones, Ogden, 2012
a. crab cakes B+, dish A
b. catfish po boy: fish alone A+, sanwich A/A+
c. rumalaude sauce A, with catfish A-, with hushpuppies A
d. key lime pie B, but if not chuncky cream cheese filling, the flavor would pull it up to 
a B++
e. hush puppies, first visit (March 2010), second visit (Feb 2012) B+
f. mac and cheese A-
g. brisket (tough parts C, tdner B+) total B
h. crawfish head pudding B+
i. trout, pan fried, beaded A, red sauce A+
j. spinach for the trout dish A
k. pulled pork, with tomato sauce pulling up flavor to B+
l. smoked chicken B+, with tomato sauce B+
m. St. Louis ribs B+
n. baby back ribs B+
o. collard greens A-
p. peanut butter cream pie A

Tommy's Texas BBQ, Heber, Provo (out 2014)
Nothing rated above B/B+
ribs, brisket, por, chicken, baked beans, slaw, etc.- we had most if not all things on menu.

1 comment:

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