Ancient New England proverb: when it comes to barbecue food, it's better to have slow cook food than food from a slow cook.
The Boston, Mass., area offers several great places for well-prepared slow cook barbecue foods (definition: utilizing less heat than grilling over a longer period of time), including Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington and Newton, Redbone's in Somerville, Mass., and Firefly's in Marlborough. All these dining spots have chefs that clearly know what they are doing, which is great given that there's also a good number of local barbecue restaurants that miss the mark. Real barbecue cuisine does not equate to rotisserie! Often, we can do better on our own with some high quality barbecue sauce and meats bought from the local butcher and proper use of the grill.
It's nice, however, when someone else with a virtual PhD in barbecue cooking does all the work for you. Thankfully, a newcomer to the Boston area barbecue dining scene, brings perhaps the best barbecue foods to this area: Commonwealth Barbecue in Wrentham, Mass. It's located about a mile from beautiful downtown Wrentham and the Wrentham Premium Shopping Outlets.
Employing a south of the Mason Dixon line roadside shack look, this order-at-the-window barbecue joint shows amazing promise from the start with the aroma of smoked barbecue meats permeating the air the minute you step out of the car. Those aromas were born out of a lengthy process: the smoked meats are cooked for several hours over hard woods and that translates into "real" barbecue foods in the form of ribs, pulled pork or chicken, beef brisket and sausage. Another plus is that you can adjust the amount of BBQ sauce you want on your meal as there are large containers of sauces of varying spiciness at the counter. Sides like "cowboy beans," corn bread and southern fried pickles drenched in buttermilk add additional southern food ambiance to this unpretentious, outdoor dining scene at the picnic tables under the pavilion. Yesterday, I had some mouthwatering pulled pork that was just out-of-this-world good -- tender, flavorful and plentiful!
Although it's not a southern staple, soft serve ice cream is a dessert highlight with very low prices and huge portions served for small, medium and large. It's a nice way to end a satisfying, full-bodied barbecue dining experience at this "south" of Boston mom and pop drive-in!
Commonwealth Barbecue is open for lunch and dinner and is located at 659 South St. (Route 1A), Wrentham MA. Tel. (508) 384-9676.
Pulled pork, cowboy beans and butternut squash from Commonwealth Barbecue (photo by Eric)