Get Your BBQ on All Year Long at These Delco Finds
Something hot off the grill gives us all the feels in the summer, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: We love barbecue all year long! Luckily we’re in Delco, the home of the greatest barbecue joints that also happen to be open year-round.
As our restaurant friends nimbly switch it up based on the Commonwealth’s changing novel coronavirus restrictions, we find ourselves snagging a bit more takeout — and more than our fair share of barbecue. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the bounty that comes from a pro chef’s grill or smoker? We can argue all day long about what constitutes real barbecue. But, with everything that’s going on in the world, we’re advocating a kinder, gentler attitude: If it comes from said chefs’ grills or smokers, and you love it, then it’s epic barbecue!
Since restaurant rules, at this writing, have been frequently changing, we highly recommend that you contact these restaurants directly to see if they’re offering outdoor or indoor seating in addition to takeout or curbside service, or delivery. Then, sink your teeth into some of our favorites:
Call it Secret Sauce or Wilson’s Secret Sauce (it goes by both names!); just know that mechanic-turned-grill-master Steve Wilson and his wife, Kelly, have infused his passion for barbecue into everything on the menu. Try something hot off the grill, or low-and-slow from the smoker. We can’t resist a full- or half-rack of ribs and the brisket, but we especially like a platter of St. Louis ribs, house-made baked beans, and corn-on-the-cob. Check the menu for vegetarian options, too! Open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
265 E. Township Line Rd., Upper Darby, (484) 453-8608.
This hot spot often sells out early, so call in your order without delay.
Its menu is diverse (kielbasa! perogies!). But, make no mistake: Barbecue is king here. Still, we find ourselves looking past the mouth-watering pulled meats, brisket and ribs to the grilled filet mignon and pork belly sandwich or, when we really want a taste of home, the dry-rubbed and slow-smoked chicken. Add picnic-style sides for a complete meal. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
606 MacDade Blvd., Milton Park (part of Folsom if you’re from out of town), (484) 494-6138.
Did you know that this restaurant has vegan options and plenty of Tex-Mexi-Q? We’re more than impressed, but our taste buds find their way here for the slow-smoked Southern barbecue, and for us, it’s all about the ribs. The pork spare ribs are St. Louis-style, yet we’re consistently drawn to the Texas-style, meaty “dinosaur bones” beef ribs. Those Texas ribs go fast, so order early. Bonus: The barbecue sauces and rubs are gluten-free! Open Monday through Wednesday from 4-11 p.m., and Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
2312 Garrett Rd., Drexel Hill, (610) 622-6441and (610) 626-9900
Call early to order, because when the 14-hour smoked meats — including hickory and fruit woods! — are gone, they’re gone. Look for the “smoke ring” (the pink section you see at the outermost part of the meat) to show you that this is the real deal. The menu is packed with drool-worthy dishes, such as crispy pork belly bites, a three-meat combo platter, and any number of barbecue sandwiches. We advise you to sample the smoked meatloaf, and we bet you’ll most certainly be going back for more. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
4916 Pennell Rd., Aston, (484) 480-4676.
Tucked away in the popular Booth’s Corner, this market can send you home with DIY barbecue ingredients — particularly fresh, locally raised poultry — and more. Still, we like to head on over for two barbecue staples: hickory smoked baby back ribs and applewood smoked pulled pork. Our stomachs are growling just thinking about those tender meats, particularly the sweet and tangy sauce on the pork! Pick up a couple of sides, and you’ve got dinner. Open Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Booth’s Corner, 1362 Naamans Creek Rd., Garnet Valley, (610) 485-3366.
Ok, it’s time for true confessions: We love to shop our local, small businesses. Still, when the accolades came rolling in for these two chains, we put our barbecue-loving appetites to the test and found we had to give them a nod:
Giving back is a huge part of this restaurant’s mission — in addition to memorable barbecue. The owners’ belief is that there’s nothing more American than barbecue, and no one more American than soldiers and first responders. Accordingly, since it opened in 2011, more than $10 million has been donated to charitable organizations supporting those heroes. As for barbecue, dig into all the usual smokehouse favorites plus a few surprises, like salmon, turkey and gluten-free options. Then, consider the smoked pork ribeye — hand-carved to order. Open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m to 8 p.m.
1130 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, (610) 910-3550.
The pitmasters throw the hickory logs on around 4 a.m., something Famous Dave himself mastered after spending more than two decades visiting barbecue joints around America. His roots are in the Deep South, so his restaurants hand-rub meats with his spices before they go low-and-slow. This dedication shows: Famous Dave’s has won more than 700 awards! We love to choose an entire meal with sides, or if we’re feeding the family, we must have a Famous Feast: The All-American BBQ Feast, to be exact, that serves 4 to 6 with ribs, chicken, brisket, pork and signature sides. Open seven days, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
825 Baltimore Pike, Springfield, (610) 604-7430.
Want to know more about everything Delco? We’re more than just your source for good eats — we’re your source for Delco From Home Experiences and where to get takeout and support local businesses in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. We’re Visit Delco, PA, and we’ve got you covered during the coronavirus crisis (and beyond). Contact us at (610) 565-3679, by email or online.
Feature photo courtesy of Famous Dave’s