Philly Is Finally Becoming a Barbecue Town

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philadelphia barbecue

There’s new hope for Philadelphia barbecue, thanks to things like this brisket at South Philly Smökhaus. Photograph by Jackie Botto

South Philly Smökhaus[1]

Bok, 821 Dudley Street, East Passyunk
Pitmaster: Eric Daelhousen
BBQ style: All kinds
Equipment: Custom-designed offset smoker by Gator Pit of Texas, made in Houston.
Wood: White oak (from New Jersey)
Known for: Beef n’ Cheddar Melt
How it’s made: The brisket is from Passio Prime (located inside the restaurant) and gets a 24-hour rub (“with some special spices”) before being smoked for up to 18 hours. Daelhousen slices the product to order and drapes it atop a Machine Shop Boulangerie bun with cheddar, pickled onions, and a house creamy horseradish sauce.

Mike’s BBQ[2]

1703 South 11th Street, East Passyunk
Pitmaster: Michael Strauss
BBQ style: All kinds
Equipment: J&R Manufacturing’s Little Red Smokehouse, which set him back $24,000.
Wood: Mix of white and red oak (from Pennsylvania), which, says Strauss, “burns hot and clean.”
Known for: Texas-style brisket
How it’s made: Smoked for at least nine hours, then rested for about four hours — “The longer the rest, the better,” says Strauss. Pros know to ask for the “burnt ends” (the juicy, flavor-packed tail end of the brisket).

The Lucky Well at Spring Arts[3]

990 Spring Garden Street, Callowhill (coming soon[4])
Pitmaster: Chad Rosenthal
BBQ style: Leans Memphis
Equipment: Southern Pride out of Tennessee
Wood: Hickory, when it’s available. “It’s stronger and less sweet than oak,” says Rosenthal. “I like my wood like I like my whiskey — with a bite.”
Known for: St. Louis pork ribs
How it’s made: Pork spare ribs sit for two days in a dry rub made from a proprietary blend of 15 spices, then are smoked for four hours, painted with just a bit of BBQ sauce (“for a little caramelization”), and finished on a charcoal grill.

Published as “BBQ Town” in the March 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

  1. South Philly Smökhaus:
  2. Mike’s BBQ:
  3. The Lucky Well at Spring Arts:
  4. coming soon:

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