Fette Sau Is Philadelphia’s Best Barbecue


Trey Popp falls for Joe Carroll’s Fette Sau. Anointing the Brooklyn transplant as the best thing that’s happened to Philadelphia’s barbecue scene.

The first beef short rib I had here looked like it had just finished cooking. Biting through its layers of fat and meat, seasoned (but not overshadowed) by smoke, was like sinking into a down pillow on a feather bed in a backwoods hunting shack. The texture defied speech.

The one I got a week later? It could’ve ranked as the best barbecued short rib I’d ever had, but that first one still might be the best short rib, period. Expect something similar with the pork belly and flank steak—though neither of those was quite as show-stopping for me.

Three Stars – Excellent

Fette Sau Reviewed [Philadelphia magazine]
Fette Sau [Official Site]

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  • OinkieOink

    Too much of any smoked short-rib can go to your head. Fette Sau by no means is the best BBQ in Philly, nor should any place be anointed as such until over a year in business, especially when smoking meats, and the high level of BBQ that already exists in these parts. Agreed, the Beef Brisket was excellent, but that was the lone bright point after sampling a number of their meats. The ribs, short ribs, pork belly, and pulled pork had major errors in execution. Short rib— Texture was their, a nice crunch followed immediate softness, but the taste of the meat would have been completely masked had it not been for the over abundance of fat. It was over-smoked, and maybe some issue with the rub. Not the best I’ve ever had in Philly, let alone other parts of the country. The St. Louis Ribs were over-smoked and dry. That’s amateur. It was probably just a random miscue. Pulled Pork — Bone dry, but was a nice cut of meat once. Their sauces were bland, scoring average at best. I’ve had better from the supermarket. Overall, I also expect they will also make adjustments and the menu will be very enjoyable. The prices are off-putting, but patrons are paying for more than just the food. The venue itself is well designed and very comfy. That alone will make me go back. The staff and service team are excellent. Note: the baked beans I enjoyed, but many people at my table were very disappointed, not accustomed to a recipe almost devoid of sweetness.

  • barrygster

    The baked beans at Blue Belly are much better. The cole slaw is plain bad. The self-service is annoying, at least for getting drinks. And my Manhattan has ice shards in it. Good meat but the rest needs work.