Craving BBQ one night, I hopped on Dining In and saw that they offered delivery from Blue Belly BBQ, located in South Philly. I've often lamented the fact that Center City lacks decent southern BBQ, with Fette Sau holding its own beyond the north borders and Blue Belly BBQ down south. So disregarding last year's Twitter drama over a bad Yelp review (especially because Chef Gene Giuffi has since apologized), I was excited to finally get a taste of Blue Belly BBQ for myself.
Painted Hills Beef Brisket ($15)
Mac n Cheese, Corn Cakes, Red Cole Slaw
At first, the glutton in me was a bit disappointed in the quantity of brisket in the platter. But considering that quality trumps quantity and in fact, the platter was filling in its own right, I stand corrected. Chef Giuffi of Cohon BYOB fame smokes his meats for up to 12 hours, and on the brisket, the smoke ring clearly shows. The brisket is tender, toothsome, and juicy, with a salty bark. Nice. Would totally love to eat the burnt ends off of these.
Berkshire Pork Shoulder ($15)
Brussels Sprouts, Mac n Cheese, Fingerling Potato Salad
The oft-lauded Berkshire was up to caliber here. The marbling of the pork was on point - the pork was perfectly cooked, moist, and succulent. There was a hint of smokiness which I enjoyed.
But for me, when considering good BBQ, the sides are almost as important as the meats. Luckily, the platters came with the choice of three sides each!
The potato salad was a nice iteration - creamy, eggy potatoes with hints of chives and onions.
Brussels sprouts can't get much better than this - a perfect char on the greens, with sauteed red peppers and onions. The crisp nuggets of extremely thick-cut bacon added heft to this side. I could eat these as a main.
The thick corn cakes had whole kernels of corn interspersed throughout. A product of delivery, these were slightly soggy, but still hefty and delicious. The accompanying white sauce added a tart, bright element to this side.
Red Cole Slaw
The vinegary red slaw provided an appreciated countervailing balance to the heft of the meats.
Mac n Cheese
Every decent BBQ joint has great mac n cheese and Blue Belly BBQ didn't disappoint. The perfectly al dente macaroni noodles were coated with an extremely creamy cheese sauce - a mix of cheddar and American perhaps.
I'm happy to say that Philly can hold its own in the BBQ arena, thanks in part to Blue Belly BBQ. I wish there were more options in the heart of Center City, but it's nice to know that there are reasons to venture beyond outside those borders. But perhaps it's a good thing. Because the belly of this pig would definitely be a lot bigger.
Blue Belly BBQ
600 Catharine St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147(215) 238-0615