BEST BARBECUE - 2007
Readers' Choice: Famous Dave's BBQ
The Twin Cities' sibling rivalry consists of a thousand different battles, but few are as important as the one over barbecue. And sorry, Minneapolis, but St. Paul's banner yet waves—or is that a giant Wet-Nap? Lee's & Dee's—a hole-in-the-wall off Selby with more Southern charm than Jimmy Carter in a bath of coleslaw—is a perennial favorite. But for our sticky dollars, you can't do better than Rooster's, a tiny, Memphis-style deli counter you can smell from I-35E as it passes over Randolph Avenue. Barbecue is foremost about ribs, so we'll start there: Rooster's rubs their baby backs in a pepper blend and smokes them real slow-like, then slops on their signature spicy sauce. (Mild is available upon request. Yankee.) The result is a tender, juicy slab of pork you experience with your whole body, from your nasal passages to your colon. Only your wallet is left unchanged—mostly, anyway. A full rib dinner, with slaw, fries, and a roll, runs just $12.62. But hold on one clucking minute: Rooster's is renowned for its chicken—naturally—as much as its ribs. These crispy, steaming morsels are as mouth-watering as anything you'll find north of the Mason-Dixon, and they're served at reasonable prices to all appetites, from 8 pieces ($9.35) to 40 ($57.94, including fries and two pints of slaw). Rooster's pulled-pork sandwich completes the holy barbecue trinity in fine form, stacking heaps of smoked pork shoulder, slathered in that same sauce, on a bakery-fresh roll. Chewing pulled pork is one of the carnivore's greatest pleasures, and Rooster's is so savory and fleshy that it's hard to finish without moving on to your fingers. Take it from us: Lick. Don't bite.