Review: Becky's BBQ

Talk about pigging out!
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  October 2, 2013

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MMMM A plate of ribs at Becky's BBQ.

What more fitting occasion to pig out than over pork barbecue? And where better to indulge than at a place that goes to the trouble, and takes the time, to do it right? Becky’s BBQ doesn’t simply cook over a grill and then slather away to make the sauce the main taste. No, their pork (and beef) is slow-cooked for 18 hours and wood-smoked in a large pit out back, South Carolina-style.

The website prominently presents the history of barbecued pork in America — from the Spanish who brought pigs, to the Indians who taught their guests to smoke the meat — and goes on to commend the “mouth-watering pork that got our country through its very difficult beginnings.” In charge these days is Bob Bringhurst, co-founder about 15 years ago with the eponymous Becky Bowden, who passed on six years later.

Becky’s presence still lingers, and not just from the photograph of her smiling sweetly down. There are lacy curtains on the windows, cherries in the wallpaper design, and platters and teapots and tchotchkes on shelves high up.

Presumably, her culinary influence also remains in the current offerings, but my guess is that Bob is responsible for the short but detailed discussion of barbecue on the fold-out menu. The detailed facts and explanations sound like a guy thing. How the temperature is kept between 180 and 225 degrees so the connective tissues slowly dissolve. How the smoking turns the meat — rubbed with their spice blend — a reddish color known as a smoke ring — “the sign of Real BBQ” — so that sauce isn’t really required.

That said, and customer expectations always being right, there are three sauces in squeeze bottles on the tables — Kansas City sweet, North Carolina vinegar and pepper, plus honey-mustard, just in case. That last choice wasn’t offered the last time I ate there a few years ago. It’s a welcome addition.

My dining companion Rob, cruising the menu with greedy eyes, muttered something about how Becky’s catered a party at his yacht club and “people were crazy about it.” The picture of Barrington investment bankers licking their fingers made me smile.

Beef is on the menu, but it’s pulled; shreds rather than steaks. Barbecued pork and chicken are the guests of honor here, make no mistake. On lunch plates, which are served with one side plus cornbread, pulled pork ($4.89) is the only porcine opportunity, but you can also have pulled chicken ($5.10), chicken breast ($5.18), or chicken leg and thigh ($4.45). The two-sides dinner plates offer a half chicken ($8.49) for heartier appetites. On a lunch plate you can get a quarter-slab of ribs ($6.99), but on the dinner plates they tempt you with a one-third slab ($9.99) and a half-slab ($13.25). For lesser appetites, there are BBQ sandwiches of pulled meats in regular and large sizes ($3.25-$5.69).

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