Grub on the Green Line: Big Daddy’s is finger-licking approved


An array of Big Daddy’s barbecued meats, including ribs and rib tips. Photo by Henry Nieberg ’19.

The Mac Weekly

It was a cold, rainy, fall day. I was determined to take the light rail to the BBQ that I was told was the best in the Twin Cities. My friends and I, soaking wet, walked in and immediately heard “Love Train” by the O’Jays. Considering how expensive ribs can be, Big Daddy’s was relatively cheap. We ordered ribs, rib tips, roast chicken and every imaginable side, all for $45.00.
Besides dipping my fingers in the two types of BBQ sauce offered (normal and spicy), the first thing I tried were the ribs ($7.49). I was told by the workers, and friends who have tried the restaurant, that the ribs are the best part of the menu—and boy were they right. The meat didn’t necessarily fall off the bone as other ribs do, but they were so soft and tender that I couldn’t help but moan. I later added sauce, but it really wasn’t necessary, the meat was good by itself.

An array of Big Daddy’s barbecued meats, including ribs and rib tips. Photo by Henry Nieberg ’19.
An array of Big Daddy’s barbecued meats, including ribs and rib tips. Photo by Henry Nieberg ’19.

Last year, I wrote a review on Famous Dave’s BBQ, a chain of restaurants. Though I have lower expectations for chains than successful local restaurants, Famous Dave’s had at least five different types of barbeque sauce. I can’t stress enough how important quality is over quantity, and this is what Big Daddy’s accomplishes.

The rib tips ($10.99) and roast chicken ($5.49) were great, and I’d definitely eat them again, but if I were to go to Big Daddy’s on a limited budget, it’s worth spending the money on the ribs. I talked to one of the “Big Daddies,” and he let me try the “Big Daddy Flintstone,” which were the best beef short ribs I have ever tried in my life. Granted, the owner wanted me to try this, so it made sense that it was incredible.

I was very pleased with the chicken. Even though it wasn’t BBQ (it seemed to be more rotisserie in nature), the seasoning was fantastic, and the meat was as juicy as chicken can get. The final dish I ordered was the rib tips, and these were nothing special. While they were good, they were a little rough and the flavor didn’t stand out.

In addition to great barbecued meats, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried all the different sides. While the coleslaw didn’t have much mayonnaise or flavor, I couldn’t stop eating it. The macaroni and cheese was some of the creamiest I’ve ever had. The collared greens and baked beans were standard, nothing special. The baked beans, however, had a bit of a peppery taste. If you’re a fan of baked beans I’d give it a try. The fries were above average as well. My favorite side was the potato salad. No one else tried it, so I had the pleasure of eating the whole dish by myself. Like the coleslaw, the potato salad also had a little less mayonnaise than usual, which for me was a huge plus since I’m not the biggest fan of mayonnaise. It had a little kick to it and had the perfect texture. All of the sides are $1.79, so I’d invest in a lot of sides.

Getting Southern food is about comfort. When looking for good BBQ, it isn’t always all about the food; it’s about the atmosphere, then of course the sides and the meat. This place had it all. Given that Big Daddy’s lies just a block from the Green Line, you have no excuse not to go. The food came almost instantly, and the staff was very friendly. I walked out full and pleased with everything I ordered. If you’re looking for good BBQ in the Twin Cities, this is the place to go.

Big Daddy’s Barbecue is located at 625 University Ave W, St. Paul.