Monday, August 1, 2011

BBQ in Boston?

Since I'm flying to Boston later today, I think today's the right day to post Jacob's review and pics from his recent BBQ meal in Beantown. In his words:

I made it over to try what I heard was the best bbq in Boston (actually in cambridge). It is Formaggio Kitchen. The food is smoked a day earlier on a giant weber grill. Still he assured me it was smoked, not grilled. They use charcoal wood chips and some other pieces of wood, plus some apple wood chips for sweetness and just get some smoke going at 200 degrees. Once they are done being smoked they take them out and wrap them. Before serving they through them back on the grill while you wait in line, this time with a fire underneath it to warm them up and as he said "finish them." All of their meat receives a heavy rub that contains multiple different spices, and a lot of it. After smoking he gives his meats a good douse of sauce, then sears it on the grill at a hotter temperature. Ribs consist of St Louis style pork and Texas beef (although they are smaller beef ribs than what we expect in central Texas.) There is also pork butt, brisket, chickens, and lamb, but all of these are served pulled style, dunked in sauce, and then stewed for a few minutes before serving back on the hot grill. Chickens also come in the half chicken size, but I skipped on these. Finally, they serve hot dog, which I skipped, but also had some homemade sausages. These are all served more grilled style and the sausage is not smoked. Still, the two styles I tried were good, but what you would expect from a sausage sandwich, not bbq sausage.

I got there 40 mins earlier because I thought their may be a line based on what I read. Apparently the line doesn't actually start until 11, which is when they start serving. So I hung around and watched them set everything up. They have plenty of sides, and everything is cooked and made like you would expect from a fancy specialty store. I ordered half a rack of ribs, two beef ribs, two sausages, and one sandwich of each pulled meat. The meat all did get a good smoke flavor, but it isn't as strong as what many expect in Texas and was a much more sweet smoke flavor. Also all the meat had heavy seasoning, and while good it hid some of the natural flavors of the meat. A foodie, or someone how thinks bbq needs more sauce and spice, may possibly find this to be some of the finest bbq they have every tasted. I would have liked to taste more of the natural meat, and have a bit less sauce. Also the server was a bit surprised when I told him I didn't want extra sauce on anything, just put it on the side. Sauce was also homemade, and very vinegar based with lots of sweetness, pepper, and still a bit chunky.

No Texan would say this is the best BBQ they have every had, but they would most likely agree that this northern take on true smoked meat bbq is pretty good and most likely the best in Massachusetts. It would easily gin a crowd in a big city in Texas. It was more along the style of a Lambert's in Austin or Smoke in Dallas. A bit fancy bbq with heavy seasoning but still a great smoke. If you happen to be in Boston I would highly recommend the beef and the pork ribs. I was disappointed in the pulled brisket as the sauce and seasoning with some smoke flavor was the major overtones, but the pulled pork and pulled lamb both had great sweet meat flavor that mixed well with the over spice and sauce. One side note, the side of baked beans may have been the best I had in Boston with bits of bacon and some of the bbq sauce mixed in, truly a Texas style Boston favorite baked beans.

Formaggio Kitchen
244 Huron Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Telephone: 617-354-4750

Formaggio Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Dustin said...

I like the set up. Very different but kind of cool. I wonder how they do it in the winter though haha.

Jacob said...

Thanks for editing my awful spelling and grammar Drew!

Formaggio Kitchen said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comments on our 'cue. In case you happen to be in Boston on Superbowl weekend, Eric does the same setup outside in honor of the big game!