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September, 2018

Seattle BBQ Research Trip: Jones Original Barbeque


Jones Original Barbeque

This was my fourth and final stop in Seattle, West Seattle specifically, and it was a great one!

Here’s my rundown:

Beef brisket–not very smoky, tasted like roast beef.
Chicken–excellent! Smoky and flavorful, but still moist.
Hot links–this is what I’m talking about! Spicy and coarsely ground sausage.
Pork spareribs–very good flavor with great texture.
Greens–pretty standard.
Mac ‘n’ cheese–very cheesy with good flavor.
Macaroni salad–I was excited to order this. My late mother made this salad, and I don’t see it very often on menus. This one was pretty bland, but still evoked great memories.

The meat here is pretty good, and the guy below’s facial expression pretty sums up how I felt about the chicken, hot links and ribs. You definitely need to hit this place.

Staffer at Jones BBQ with a very “This is what’s up!” look.

Seattle BBQ Research Trip: Willie’s Taste of Soul


Willie’s Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que

This was my third spot. Willie’s is a combination barbecue, Creole food and soul food joint. I had mixed reviews about the food, but mainly because everything was drowned in sauce. I never ask for the sauce on the side because I want to experience the barbecue as the owner would normally serve it. 

Here’s my rundown:

Beef brisket–pretty standard, not a lot of smoke flavor though.
Chicken–very good, bone-in chicken.
Hot links–very good spice and a coarser grind.
Pork chop sandwich–excellent! A thin pork chop, perfectly fried and seasoned.
Pork spareribs–pretty standard.
Baked beans–pretty standard.
Greens–pretty standard.
Potato salad–very good texture.
7-Up–very good, but not super moist as others that I’ve had. This was more like a great sour cream pound cake.

The barbecue here is pretty average, but I would return to Willie’s to try the Creole and soul food options.



Seattle BBQ Research Trip: Emma’s BBQ

Emma’s BBQ

This was the second spot on my barbecue research trip.


Here’s the rundown:

Beef brisket–served in chunks, and not as smoky as I would have liked.
Chicken–served in boneless chunks, not as smoky as I would have liked.
Hot links–finely ground sausage with good amount of spice.
Pork spareribs–tasty with good texture and spice.
Rib sandwich–served in a hoagie bun, instead of the usual slices of white bread.
Greens–good flavor, fairly standard.
Mac ‘n’ cheese–nice and cheesy, reminded me of scratch mac ‘n’ cheese I would make at home.
Potato salad–fairly standard.
Blackberry Lemonade–an unusual and very refreshing combination.

As I was leaving, I introduced myself to the staff, and I met Tess Thomas, the proprietor (Emma was her mother, I believe). We chatted and she asked me how I liked the food. I gave her my report, but told her that I didn’t get any pulled pork because it wasn’t ready. She told me that it was now ready, promptly went back in the kitchen and gave me a sample. I’m so glad that she did because that pulled pork was excellent. It a nice outside bark, and was moist and flavorful on the inside.

A big thanks to (left to right) Willow, Robin, Cole, Laura, Piper and Jan for joining me!

My Barbecue Research Team at Emma’s BBQ

Seattle BBQ Research Trip–Lil Red Takeout and Catering

Lil Red Takeout and Catering

I took advantage of an unexpected trip to Seattle to so some barbecue research. Ahead of my trip, I reviewed some recent “Best BBQ” lists by Eater Seattle, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and people on social media. 

This was my first stop, and it was pretty next-level. It’s a combination of barbecue, Caribbean and soul. The Caribbean influence comes because Red’s wife is Jamaican.  Even though there’s plenty of seating, this is a takeout place. Everything is served in to-go containers. No misfires at all on what I ordered.

Here’s my rundown:

Beef brisket–great smoky flavor.
Jerk pork spareribs–transcendent, mainly because Red doesn’t use a heavy hand with the jerk spice. Very tender ribs, but still has a little chew. These were by far the best ribs that I had in Seattle.
Pulled pork–bursting with flavor and great texture.
Fried plantains–nice carmelization, tender and sweet.
Greens–pretty standard.
Lumpia–a Filipino-style spring roll filled with cabbage and chicken–tasty.
Banana pudding–a great dessert! The pudding has Jamaican accents with a rum-like finish.
Jamaican rum cake–just opening the container, I wondered if I would fail a breathalyzer test. Very moist and flavorful cake, but you have to be a fan of rum cake (which I am).

Loved the fact that Lil’ Red’s also serves sorrel (a hibiscus drink) and red drink! Love to see these related drinks on a menu side-by-side.

I highly recommend this place!

Meet My Collegiate BBQ Research Assistants!!


Miles Francisco is a third-year student at the University of Oklahoma studying Political Science and African and African American Studies with minors in International Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Miles is passionate about social justice and creating a more just world for all. Miles believes strongly in the power of people when they are given an opportunity to speak for themselves and knows that there is hope in the future.

After graduating from OU, Miles plans on attending law school before starting a career in the political arena. Miles is an avid reader and staunch believer in the “goatness” of one LeBron James.

Miles will help me explore the Native American roots of barbecue, and how African Americans accessed this culinary knowledge before the 20th Century.


Clarke Jackson is a senior at Spelman College who is majoring in Anthropology and Sociology, and minoring in French and Food Studies. She was born in North Carolina and grew up in Maryland.  Clarke have a passion for traveling internationally and learning languages, and have had the opportunity to study abroad in France, England and Cameroon. Clarke’s been eating a plant based diet since 2016 and I am very interested in black veganism as a form of resistance and liberation.

Clarke will help me explore the evolution of African American barbecue in the Atlanta area, and vegan interpretations of barbecue happening around the country. The latter should prove very interesting!