Alright, another new BBQ place in NWI and I went ahead and gave it a try. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened last Friday (July 1, 2011) in Portage, IN and while I tried to get in that day I was unable to because of the long wait. So the wife and I waited a few days and hit it up for lunch on the 5th. This is a chain place so you pretty much know it’s not going to be the best BBQ you ever have but it’s not as bad as some (see my review of Bandana’s, wow they sucked.) So let’s break it down.
First thing you will notice is no real rig, it’s just your standard smoker appliance (as my friend Joanne calls them, a hot box.) While you can still get good BBQ out of these things, it always brings a question to my mind of the hardcore BBQ knowledge of the person behind it and being a chain place I wouldn’t expect much anyways. Now when I went in Friday the line wasn’t that long, but it was taking them forever to get through each person. On Monday, while we were the only people in line, it still took forever to get the food prepared. They have some serious work to do with their staff to streamline the process as the person had to do a lot of unnecessary steps to really get your meat on the plate. It’s hard to explain but you will see when you are there.
They have a bunch of different meats to choose from including your standards like brisket, pulled pork and ribs while also bring in some ham and 2 sausages. Actually looking at their menu online now they actually list a different one (hot links) instead of what they actually has (well say they have as they were out when I was their to my disappointment) a cheddar sausage.
Because they were out of the sausage we got brisket, pulled pork, ham and ribs. The brisket was the best of the 4, we got it chopped and overall it was pretty decent. The ribs were okay, had a good smoke ring but were a little overcooked. Also the meat on the rib was kind of on the skimpy side. Flavor was good in some parts and not in others. Pulled pork was bland and mine had no bark, it could have came out of an oven for all I know. With sauce it was okay but it brought nothing to the table. The ham was not good and I wouldn’t get it again. In the future I’m going to go with the brisket and sausage (my wife loved the brisket by the way.)
For sides I got mac and cheese and the jalapeno beans and the wife got a ceaser salad (yeah I know weird, but she liked it) and the waffle fries. The mac and cheese I think was best of them. The beans were okay, watery which I prefer. They have another bean side I’ll probably try next time with the potato casserole they were out of when we there there. The fries were standard store bought and soggy. The 2 meats also come with bread which I didn’t try but the wife liked. She wished though that they had the cinnamon butter from Texas Coral to go with it because she thought they were similar.
The cost wasn’t to bad overall, a little cheaper then some locally but still on the high side when compared to other food places, but really BBQ generally costs more. The one thing I didn’t care about price wise was the drinks. For a fountain drink it was almost $3 because they give you a “souvenir” plastic cup which just adds to the cost but really gives me nothing in the end.
But the one really nice thing that makes up for the extra cost of the drink….FREE ICE CREAM! Sorry, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s pretty good and free if you eat there. Yeah it’s a gimmick but I like it.
So to compare this place to the other latest BBQ place in NWI, Big Daddy’s, it’s really easy to pick a winner. Dickey’s is hands down better then BD’s. I will definitely head over to Portage for my BBQ fix over going 2 blocks to BD’s. To put a number on it I’d give Dickey’s a 7.5 out of 10 which is a solid C but given the local competition it’s currently the best I’ve had around here. I know I need to venture more into Lake County but haven’t had the time. Hopefully soon I can bring you some reviews of those places and give some real competition between these places. Oh, I guess there is a Dickey’s in Schererville and 2 opening soon in Merrillville and Hammond so you can probably get identical BBQ from those places.
If you have tried it please let us know what you think, I love the responses I get in the comments.
*** Update ***
Okay I’ve now been back two more times and got a couple updates. On my second trip I was able to get the Spicy Cheese Sausage and boy they are lucky they didn’t have that the first trip. It’s horrible. Also I tried out the sliced brisket and I have to say it’s better chopped. Same product but the chopping helps to make it a bit juicier overall.
Though some positive differences, both times the pulled pork looked (and tasted) significantly better then the first time. You could actually see some smoke and bark on it. As well, my buddy Wade got the ham and it actually looked good (he said it tasted great to as I didn’t try it.) It was much juicier then the first time. Also, the manager (owner?) walked around talking to customers getting feedback and such and seems to be taking it as he said he has ordered some extra menus for another wall. Overall good steps forward and will definitely be going back again.