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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

August 14, 2009 at 8:13 AM

BBQ ribs, Seattle-style: I took my ‘cue, how about you?

I almost knocked my coffee over this morning after pulling my Seattle Times out of its plastic bag. Right at the top, the front-page teaser reads “Nancy Leson’s rib-joint roundup. Five great ‘cues.” Uh, I don’t think so. While my monthly restaurant roundups usually profile places that do the job well, this time, in the name of getting my hands on some great ribs, I hit a quartet of popular barbecue joints (read the roundup here). The tally on the taste-test? Great ribs (3), Could Have Been Better (1), and No way! I Paid For This? (1).

On the “great” list is a relative newcomer: Casper’s A Taste of the South in Lake Forest Park, which I’m crazy about for many reasons. Excellent ribs, killer beignets and Casper himself among them.

Good ‘ol boy Casper Townsend, showing off his bodacious beignets on his outdoor patio-with-a-view.

Casper’s “lunch basket” (sides? betcha can’t pick just one, but have the fried peppers)

Seattle Times/Dean Rutz

Then there’s Willie’s Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que, a longtime fixture on Beacon Hill, where I’ve eaten plenty of barbecue, though I’d yet to try the relocated Willie’s in Rainier Valley. But when I did, I remembered why I liked it so well:

Willie Turner is a true pit-master who serves up his classic sides hot and tasty

Willie’s Red Velvet cake. You only live once, right?

Smokin’ Pete’s recently (and justly, I’d say) won a place on Sunset magazine’s “Best in the West” list, and it’s well worth seeking out. If you happen by this sign, take my advice and don’t drive by: stop!

Eat in, or take out and keep your eyes out for this sign in Ballard.

Smokin’ Pete’s smokin’ pork ribs: that dry-rub helps make this one of the “Best in the West.”

Pig Iron Bar-B-Q, in Georgetown, was a fun joint, and they know how to pour a drink. But I was less impressed than I expected to be with the care (not) taken with my ribs.

Drinks come in canning jars, and this margarita started things off right.

Too bad these ribs weren’t hot enough. Texas cowboys might not complain, but . . .

I don’t know what’s going on over at Dixie’s BBQ in Bellevue, where I hadn’t been for more than a decade. I was excited to be back, having met “The Man” long ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Yes, the smoker was cooking out back in the shadow of 520. And yes, there was a lunchtime line — a long one. But when all was said and done, I was shocked to have spent $40 on two generous portions of ‘cue, only to find that none of it was worth eating. And I’m not just whistling Dixie’s.

Dixie’s is hard to find, if you don’t know where to look, but people have been seeking it out for a very long time.

A combo meal, with sweet tea: a huge disappointment.

They were out of beef ribs, but not “hot links” — make that a steam-table hot dog.

And while I wasn’t impressed with all the ribs I tried during the past month, I know someone who isn’t quite so fussy.

Give a dog a bone? Not my dog. We’ve got enough vet bills.

So, do tell: where do you go for classic barbecued ribs? Did I miss — or diss — your favorite? Feel free to bark at me. I’m used to it.

Comments | More in Restaurants | Topics: Nancy's Restaurant Roundups

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