Back to Features

Fourth of July BBQ eats

Barbecue worthy of our independence

Bob’s BBQ Pit ribs and cornbread. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

For many patriots across the South Sound, the Fourth of July means burgers and dogs on the grill. But for those of us that crave something just a little more -- there's BBQ. Let's talk real BBQ, slow-cooked, tender meats, dripping in sauce that require a stack of napkins afterward. There are plenty of local options for you to grab on the go and enjoy from your lawn chair under the fireworks.

Anyone familiar with East Tacoma is likely familiar with Uncle Thurm's Soul Food. The signature plate -- finger licken ribs and chicken -- features exactly what the title advertises: meaty ribs sauced up and served alongside Southern fried chicken offering two soul food favorites on one plate. Add some mac n cheese and some beans and rice for a true classic. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 3709 S. G St., Tacoma, 253.475.1881

BBQ2U Combo Plate (Photo credit: Dutch Randall)

Just across the bridge in Gig Harbor, you'll find BBQ2U, which specializes in Texas-style BBQ. In addition to dry rub and lots of smoke, this means big, hearty-sized helpings. Whether you grab a pulled pork sandwich with both hands, or one of the combo versions served on a tray with pickles and fresh onions, your hunger is sure to be satisfied. The smoky, sweet, and a little bite of vinegar will equally satisfy your taste buds as well. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily, 4814 Pt. Fosdick Dr., Gig Harbor, 253.313.5656,

My 4 Sons in Midland is worth the drive off the beaten path. The ribs here are fall-off-the-bone ribs with plenty of flavor that you'll find that you can't get enough. And with sauce readily available on the table, you can dip, eat and repeat. The sides are nearly as good; the beans are full of flavor and when combined with a potato salad that is chock full of bacon, cheese, and plenty of mayo, they are the perfect addition to anything BBQ. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, 9823 Portland Ave. E., Midland, 253.777.4677

Located in Parkland close to JBLM, the Warthog BBQ Pit is truly the place to go if you are hungry. You can get a half chicken here with sides for just $15. This is slow-roasted until juicy and tender before being dressed in BBQ sauce; this may be the best $15 you ever spend. Seasoned and drenched in sauce, the chicken falls off the bone while still in your hands. Keep a lot of napkins nearby as you'll need ‘em. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 11811 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.426.1980,

Food trucks have become more and more popular over the years, and Hamhock Jones has found itself worthy of sharing in this new-found popularity. Serving up soul food ranging from grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers to BBQ. One option that is unique here is a combo platter that includes two filets of cornmeal crusted fish and two baby back ribs along with two sides. Though not a combination you are likely to find at most soul food places, it's a combination that surprisingly works; the spice and crunch of the fish makes for a good partner to the sweet and smoke of the ribs. Give it a shot!

Sticking with the food truck theme, the Flaming Pig BBQ food truck, centered in Olympia, has a creative view of BBQ. It's possible here to get all the favorites in one hand-held version, which is easy when you're planning a day of sitting in your camp chair. The Lil Piglet combines a hearty Portuguese sausage with pulled pork, AND smoky mac n cheese in a deli bun with BBQ sauce. It literally combines all the best parts of going to a BBQ all in one transportable meal. Locations vary, 360.628.3871,

Da Tiki Hut pulled pork sandwich (Photo credit: Dutch Randall)

Though not a traditional stop for most BBQ enthusiasts, but Hawaiian dishes, like those offered at Da Tiki Hut on Sixth Ave. in Tacoma, offer several options with an island twist. The pork sandwich here is a must. Kalua pork is piled high on a soft bun with cole slaw and seasoned fries. Even with the new and improved interior, the sandwich is the perfect to-go option that has very little mess and a whole lot of flavor. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 4427 Sixth Ave. #101, Tacoma, 253.625.7690

In Lacey, Jim Bob's Chuck Wagon is known locally for its selection of burgers and a family-style environment. In addition, the menu offers some pretty awesome BBQ dishes. It can be tough to decide here, so I recommend the two-meat plate with pulled pork and a beef brisket. Unlike other plates of brisket, they've taken the work away and already shredded it into bite-size pieces; your only job is to eat and enjoy. With several sides to choose from, the sweet potato fries add a sweet and salty addition to the dish for a good balance to the meal. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, 4011 Pacific Ave., Lacey, 360.491.5090,

In Gig Harbor, Brimstone PNW adds a PNW flair to traditional BBQ dishes. Very little says the NW other than coffee; let's face it, we love our coffee here. The slow-smoked brisket is first rubbed down with coffee which provides a unique flavor not found elsewhere. The smoked flavor combines with the bitter of the coffee beans. To really finish it off, add a side of the Angry German Tater Salad that contributes a mustard kick to the mash-up of flavors. 2:30-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 12:30-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 12:30-8 p.m., Sunday, 7707 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor, 253.858.2709,

Sometimes a good hole-in-the-wall is the best place to find what you're craving. Bob's BBQ Pit in Tacoma is just such a place. Famous for its ribs, they can be peeled right off the bone before being devoured. And unlike most locations, these babies are available in mild, medium, or hot; so, if you like a little kick with your ribs, this is your place. The medium is generally hot enough for most customers, though the brave will surly grab the hottest version. Add a corn muffin, you may need it to tame the heat between bites. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, 911 S. 11th St., Tacoma, 253.627.4899

comments powered by Disqus