Let's face the facts; Boston is not a place known for its barbecue joints. Indeed, only a handful of BBQ spots exists in and around Boston, and not all of them get high marks from diners and critics. But there are a few that stand out, including Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington and West Newton, and, depending on whom you talk to, Firefly's in Framingham, Marlboro, and Quincy. There is another barbecue joint that is worth mentioning, and even though it has been around for a long time (though not always in the same location), Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs still seems to be overlooked by the general public for some reason.
Uncle Pete's used to be located in East Boston, but now resides on Route 60 in Revere, just east of the Route 1 intersection. The place is a bit dark and plain inside, and unlike some barbecue joints, it doesn't really have an offbeat, funky feel to it. But folks come here for the food, not the atmosphere, dining on smoked items of all kinds, including some of the best spare ribs in the Boston area. These pork loin ribs are lean and tender, and the preparation that goes into them is impressive; they are smoked over hickory and oak wood for several hours after being rubbed with herbs and spices, and they are served with your choice of sweet or hot barbecue sauce on the side.
There is more on Uncle Pete's menu than just spare ribs, of course. Steak tips, turkey tips, Texas sliced beef, brisket, Texas beef ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, and grilled catfish all make for a meat-lover's paradise. And speaking of meat, one particularly good dish at Uncle Pete's is the grilled bourbon steak, a delicious entree of sliced flank steak marinated with bourbon and spices, and covered in a sweet sauce. Sides are of interest here, too, including the tasty (though slightly mushy) macaroni and cheese, the delicious handcut onion rings, and the better than average handcut fries. Most entrees on the menu are served with a sweet potato biscuit, which, well, isn't all that great in this writer's opinion, but they are rather unique, for better or for worse.
Uncle Pete's Hickory Ribs is not the prettiest place in the world, and it is located on a busy, outdated road that is often downright unpleasant to drive on. But the food at Uncle Pete's is terrific, the folks who work there are down to earth, the parking is free, and the prices aren't too bad. Anyone who would like an alternative to the few good BBQ joints in the Boston area should look into Uncle Pete's, as it is a place for folks who are serious about their barbecue.
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