I admit it. I’m a heretic. I find Buz and Ned’s barbecue to be merely . . . good. Good, but nothing special. Nothing that makes me want to take a bite out of that rib, savor that first, full taste of pork and smoke and sauce, suck the juices off my fingers and jump up and yell, “I have found it! I have found the taste I’ve been looking for! This — THIS — is the Holy Grail of Richmond barbecue!”
It is hard for me to settle for anything but the best.
Buz and Ned’s, despite the wait lines, despite Bobby Flay, and despite the billboards and their superior marketing machine, is good, as far as I’m concerned . . . but it’s far from great. And, I have to admit, I’ve been summarily disappointed in almost all the bbq available around Richmond. Buz and Ned’s sauce is way too sweet and completely unoriginal; Q Barbecue is a little bland and too trendy for me. Hawk’s pulled pork is indistinguishable from anybody else’s q, and is more like a soul food joint with questionable claims to cleanliness. Bill’s Barbecue is good only for the old timers who remember when it used to be good. Virginia Barbecue . . . edible, but nothing special. Ronnie’s Ribs, sold out of a truck and cooker near Poe’s Pub, is better to me than Buz and Ned’s, but still nothing to scream about; and Grandpa Eddie’s, while good, just doesn’t do it for me: the ribs are prepped with a dry rub, which some bbq fans absolutely love, but I find unnecessary, detracting from the taste of the meat.
But tonight I tried a place I found online. I think I Googled best ribs in richmond last month some time, but I don’t know what link led me to where. I simply found their webpage and took one look at the picture of their ribs and said, “Yes. Yes. I think that’s it.”
Buz and Ned’s is third best. Ronnie’s Ribs takes second place.
The best barbecue in Richmond can be found on Patterson Avenue at TD’s Smokehouse.
The ribs are cooked Kansas City style, and the sauce is tangy and just a little sweet — not overpowered by molasses, honey or brown sugar. It’s just right. The pulled pork tastes great without any of TD’s NC-style sauce at all. I’ll have to go back for their chicken and brisket, but the jambalaya is wonderful and meaty, and the mac and cheese is rich, extra cheesy and helped along with the addition of sweet onions.
I’m definitely going back to make a party of it, and get some of everything — it’s that good. By the way, their website has a couple of coupons on it. Save some money and eat up. And make sure the beer is cold at home, because it’s take-out only at TD’s.
And it’s magnificent.