If you’re serious about sampling a roadside barbecue joint done the right way, check out Back Bay Bar-B-Que in Somers Point.
Roadside barbecue. Those just might be my two favorite words in the entire English language.
To find those juicy, soulful delights, one typically has to travel to southern New Jersey’s hinterlands, seeking out hidden, home-based operations often run out of buildings not much larger than a good-sized shed. We are therefore thrilled to report that real, slow-cooked barbecue may be easily found these days without having to undertake such an epic sojourn.
In Somers Point, which might come as a surprise to many of you, brothers Len and John Dagit, general contractors and custom builders by profession, have been operating Back Bay Bar-B-Que since 2008. Situated on a curving stretch of open ocean highway — Longport-Somers Point Boulevard — it’s an ideal spot for a ‘cue stand. Having purchased a hefty tract of real estate near waterfront section Anchorage Poynte with the intent of developing a housing/marina complex several years ago, the brothers also inherited a tiny pre-existing food enterprise. Len describes what transpired since as “the hobby that got out of control.”
Initially bringing in nationally respected BBQ chef Dan McGrath from Wilmington, Del., the brothers worked with him to develop “a synergy of recipes.” Their location, interestingly enough, was the long-ago site of a terrific authentic Cajun/Creole joint called The Bayou.
This past winter, utilizing the skills of their trade, they revitalized that neglected indoor space to create a full kitchen plus seating for close to a hundred. The results are startling.
Employing a “Memphis-style dry rub” and low, slow temps of about 225 degrees, they smoke baby back ribs, bone-in pork shoulder, chicken and brisket. Exclusively utilizing cherry wood provided by friend Tim Lenzsch, owner of the Tree Man commercial service, their cooking process begins early in the morning.
Ribs need five hours and pulled pork eight, but brisket, Texas’ traditional BBQ meat, requires the most time, a full half day.
Whole pigs are available by special order. Back Bay provides these for annual events at Margate landmarks Steve and Cookie’s and Maynard’s. When finished, meats get lathered with a thick, 27-ingredient sauce, alone worth a trip. Rich and complex, with a surprising hint of cinnamon, theirs is one of the best sauces this BBQ glutton has ever sampled.
Presently, four smokers are hard at work churning out their wares. But Len tells us that “our customer base continues to grow” and in response the brothers are considering creating that most consummate southern BBQ construct, a smokehouse.
What is definitely in the works is the opening of a small fresh veggie/fruit market to accompany prepared foods. Expect that in the next few weeks.
The addition of more seafood is another notable byproduct of expansion. Already serving shrimp and scallops, they have recently begun offering crabs — specifically North Carolina #1s — and plan to include local tuna, crab cakes and clams.
After announcing the dates, July 26-29, Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City has announced a few of the celebrity chef participants for the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, namely Anne Burrell, Paula Deen, Robert Irvine, Buddy Valastro and Andrew Zimmern, with further announcements to come.
Listen to two tracks from the Texas singer-guitarist's new EP Bright Lights and see videos — and read about the man who will be in town for the music main dish of the 2011 AC Food & Wine Festival.
Leading up to the concert at HOB’s Music Hall — dubbed Rocktoberfest and including an all-you-can eat BBQ buffet and a dozen craft beers — will be the inaugural Horsepower Rally Classic Car & Bike Show that will have about 100 hot rods, muscle cars, choppers and custom motorcycles on display as local favorites Crystal Roxx and the Martini Brothers perform at Showboat’s outdoor parking area.
Included in this week's Local Scene image gallery (July 29-Aug. 4) are Nas and Damian Marley at the House of Blues at Showboat July 29; Pretty Poison, featuring Jade Starling, at Boogie Nights at Resorts on July 31;High Heel Race in Avalon July 31; TV’s “American Teenager” Francia Raisa at Dusk at Caesars on July 31; The Food Network’s The Neelys at one of their events during the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival; The Robert Cray Band at the House of Blues July 31 as part of the “Blues, Brews & BBQ” event during the A.C. Food & Wine Festival; Philadelphia Flyers Dan Carcillo, Ville Leino and Jeff Carter at the House of Blues Foundation Room after attending the Nas/Damian Marley concert July 29; and more....
With Memorial Day weekend upon us, many of us are looking to finally kick off the summer season, relax and have some fun. Between all of the local events going on and the backyard BBQs, there are a lot of choices for the holiday weekend. But try not to lose sight of the real reason why we celebrate this weekend.
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