The Hunt: Best Barbecue

May 31, 2012

Global – Every week, The Purple Passport team goes out in search of a designated item in whatever city our team members happen to be in at that time. This week, it’s all about the meat. We’re looking for the best finger-licking barbecue that we can get our hands on!

Mixed Grill
Lebanese Flower Restaurant; Abu Dhabi; AED 120 (~USD 32) for 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds

The Skinny: Here in Abu Dhabi, traditional American barbecue is hard to come by. But we have our Middle Eastern substitute, Lebanese mixed grill. With a range of meats (think chicken, lamb, and beef with various spices, herbs and breads) served together on one platter, this carnivore’s dream is usually purchased by the kilo and shared among friends or family. Side dishes include the traditional hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, falafel and the like.



Half Slab
Dreamland BBQ; Montgomery, Al; USD 10.95

The Skinny: On a recent road trip through Alabama, my sister and I stopped by the famous Dreamland BBQ for some hickory smoked pork spare ribs. I absolutely loved my half slab, doused in a tangy, vinegary sauce. The plate was served with sunbeam white bread (ideal for dipping in the sauce!).  And just in case (gasp!) you are not a rib person, the pulled pork sandwich is also delicious (just a bit dry for me, but good, for sure). And don’t miss the banana pudding for dessert – get an extra cup to go, trust me!


– Jenn

Castle Korean B.B.Q.
Los Angeles, CA

The Skinny: It took me years to try this Korean B.B.Q. house at the end of my street, mostly because it was right next door to a 7-11, and I thought, “How good can a restaurant next to a 7-11 actually be?” But when I got recommendations from two separate people that this was their favorite B.B.Q. house in Koreatown, I finally relented. It’s an authentic, smoky, all-you-can eat affair with really tasty meats (be sure to upgrade to the $15.99 meal, which gives you better quality cuts, marinades, and more choices than the $9.99 version), fresh side salads, and servers willing to help for the barbecue challenged. Expect lots of noise as big groups grill and gossip!

– Rachel L.

Riverfront Barbeque & Grill
Augusta, Maine

The Skinny: Whenever I’m visiting my hometown in Maine, my friends and I always meet up at the Riverfront Barbeque & Grill in Augusta, which prides itself on slow smoked barbecue such as Memphis rub ribs and pulled pork, though I have to admit—my favorite part is the jalapeno cornbread that is served alongside the chicken, pulled pork, ribs, or beef. And for vegetarian and seafood-loving friends, there are many other options like shrimp louisianne and veggie risotto. The relaxed atmosphere lends itself to catching up with old friends in one of the most scenic areas of downtown Augusta.

–Rachel S.

Urban Bar-B-Que Company
Rockville, MD

The Skinny: Urban Bar-B-Que Company, with a few locations around the DC-area, has been one of my most satisfying local barbecue experiences. The Rockville location is a little small, but always seems to be full of people and is conveniently located next to Gilly’s Craft Beer & Fine Wine, if you want to pair your barbecue with something special. The location I visited was nearby to Twinbrook Metro and had wooden tables and countertops surrounding the counter where you place your order and pick up your food. The restaurant itself is mostly self-service, which had me initially surprised over the bill, which was comparable to full-service restaurants nearby. I finally understood once I tried the fall-off-the-bone ribs. Delicious! Unfortunately I didn’t leave much room to try out too many of the other staple barbecue items, as well as the more interesting-sounding items, like Chilli Mac-Daddy, Redneck Fondue and Urban Soul Rolls.


Leticia, Colombia

The Skinny: There aren’t a lot of strong flavors used in most Colombian dishes. In Leticia however, the capital of the Colombian Amazon, they grill/fry everything and use aji (a spicy clear sauce with onions) and farina (a grain) generously. As is common at all other lunches, my plate of Colombian BBQ included an array of courses: cabbage slaw in a vinaigrette, grilled steak with bell peppers, beans, white rice, patacones (fried plataño), fried river fish and plenty of aji and farina.


The Q Shack
Durham, NC

The Skinny: I know this isn’t traditional Carolina bbq, but this texan-styled joint has some delicious brisket as well as a solid pork sandwich. We’ve made this our Sunday brunch spot (the hubby, a true Texan, needs to have a taste of home), and while he sticks with the sliced brisket sandwich, I’ll rotate among the cobb salad (with brisket and smoked turkey!), a meal of sides (their okra, green beans, mac and cheese, and hush puppies are a meal in themselves), and the pork sandwich. Definitely one of the best bbq joints in Durham, which is saying a lot.


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2 Comments | Posted by The Purple Passport

2 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Hilarye says:

    I like the myriad of bbq’s represented here as well as countries. We are also bbq fans!

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