Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The BEST beef short ribs from Blue Ribbon BBQ

I have been a big Blue Ribbon fan for a long time, and I'm not talking about the restaurant in New York City. I'm talking about Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q in West Newton, Massachusetts, a real, local, barbecue institution "inspired by the roadside barbecue joints that dot the American south." I have been a big supporter of Blue Ribbon ever since I moved down the street from the restaurant several years ago. They have something for everyone including Big Green Salads if you're a health conscious barbecue lover - add some of their pulled chicken or amazing spicy chicken salad on top - or giant stuffed burritos if you like your barbecue with a little Mexican flair. They stuff gigantic, flour tortillas with rice and beans, cabbage, salsa, cilantro and sour cream along with your choice of pulled pork, chicken, or burnt ends. I used to eat one of these nearly every week.

*image of West Newton's exterior "borrowed" from Blue Ribbon's Flickr feed

I could go on and on about everything on their menu because honestly, in my opinion, nearly everything is great. I don't particularly like their cornbread, it's not consistent and usually dry, but seriously, everything else is superb. I love their pulled chicken, it's always super tender and delicious and their burnt ends are heavenly. Even their pulled pork is something every hog on the farm probably dreams of - tender and perfectly seasoned. They also have great ribs and great sides too. Their baked beans are some of the best around and I could live on a diet of their coleslaw alone. Seriously, good stuff.

What really sets Blue Ribbon apart, though, is their specials. Every day they have new specials up on the board; sides, platters, sandwiches, and desserts. One of my favorite sides that occasionally makes the specials board is their beets vinaigrette. Tender, sliced red beets with red onions, parsley and a delicious oil and vinegar dressing. They are sweet and tart and simply amazing. They even have a great meatloaf that appears on the board from time to time.

If I haven't already set Blue Ribbon up to be a great barbecue joint, it gets better. On Monday night I stopped in to pick up dinner for J and I. J asked me to pick her up a half jerk chicken, which is awesome, but I was still undecided when I walked in to the restaurant. Looking up at the specials for the evening, the beets vinaigrette was absent, but their mac & cheese was up, which I ordered. And there was also a line up on the board for some smoked beef short ribs. Unfortunately I forget what the glaze on them was, but wow, delicious. These beef short ribs might have been the BEST barbecue I have ever had from Blue Ribbon. I'm not kidding, I love everything on their regular menu and have never had anything bad from them, but these beef short ribs were just amazing. Two big, thick, meaty short ribs with a BEAUTIFUL smoke ring. They were tender, flavorful and just absolutely perfect examples of great barbecue. I hope they become regular visitors to the specials board, or better yet, regular menu itesm, because I will order them every single time I stop in.

Amazing beef short ribs with coleslaw and mac & cheese
Beef short ribs from Blue Ribbon

Look how thick and meaty these ribs are!!
Beef short ribs from Blue Ribbon

Look at this amazing smoke ring!
Beef short ribs from Blue Ribbon

If you live in the greater Boston area and are looking for great barbecue, I highly recommend you stop into Blue Ribbon for some 'cue. They have two locations, the one I visit often in West Newton and a second in Arlington. Eat there, you won't be disappointed.

Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q
1375 Washington St
Newton, MA 02465
Phone: 617.332.2583


908 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476
Phone: 781.648.7427


  1. I'm a huge fan, too! It's not on my flight path these days, but occasionally when we're headed west from Boston we'll zip off the Pike, pick up some brisket, and make sandwiches in the car.

  2. Hi Lydia, yum, brisket sandwiches! I pass by exit 16 every day on my way home from work, so I make it a point to try and stop in at least once a month. If you love their brisket you should try the short ribs if you ever see them on the board. They have that great velvety texture of perfect brisket but much more flavor!