07 July 2022
Dine with Draz: Big Ed’s Barbeque
Written by Laurie Draz
I love America, I love barbecue, and I love Big Ed’s Barbecue at Old Bridge. Here this patriotic month of July, we wanted to go with an old-fashioned American favorite, so we hit on the classic. Big Ed’s Barbeque and Smokers have been serving delicious barbecues seven days a week for the past 30 years.
This place appears to be off Route 66 or somewhere on the eastern shore of Maryland. The building’s bright red color matches the real red jars in the foreground, and the life-size cow and pigs are a favorite for pictures. The parking lot is filled with pictures of cowboys and cattle – lots of fun – and inside there is a large bar and lots of cozy booths. The lighting is just right, and the speakers sounded one great ’60s and ’70s song after another.
Big Ed’s isn’t a great place to eat in a white tablecloth, but they are masters of the genre. I had the rare pleasure of meeting and dining with Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone from the popular TV show ‘BBQ Pitmasters’. America’s winning barbecue chef Mixon and Stone reveal that the secret to award-winning barbecue lies in seasoning and technique, and that to master both, you need time and practice. Big Ed has been at it for 30 years, and it has worked.
We started with a free basket of delicious garlic bread and ordered some mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. We also tried the apple dumplings which are fried donut-like balls with juicy apple slices inside. Drenched in powdered sugar, these crunchy candies would easily make a great dessert, especially if they had caramel sauce on them. The applications come in a basket lined with parchment paper, creating a wonderful ambiance for the aisle fish house. It’s like a perfect evening at the fair.
Now for appetizers. The portions are huge, and the meat is rich and saturated. Most appetizers come with your choice of baked potatoes, french fries, coleslaw, baked beans, applesauce, corn from the cob or macaroni and cheese. Dinner One chose a combination of baby back ribs and a pulled chicken meal. The homemade barbecue mix was perfect – rich, good flavor and sticky enough to make the tender ribs shine. I loved the juicy chicken, although a few bones were found, so be on the lookout if you order. The baked beans, in a small bowl, were also fantastic and well worth the pick.
Second dinner went with the seafood group. He took another notch fried shrimp with fries as a side to a large plate of 10 fried shrimp and a large portion of fried oysters. He loves fried clams, which aren’t on many menus because they can turn fillet if not cooked properly. He liked soft and sweet clams. We’ve all snuck a little bit of it and agreed to it. Fried oysters and shrimp is a summer beach dish that both young and old can feast on.
I tried the St. Louis ribs with brisket, pulled pork and a side of baked potatoes. Saint-Louis style is all about the rub, and it was delicious with a hint of sweetness. Try your ribs this way, especially if you don’t like much sauce. The large piles of pulled meat were very rich and tasty. I really enjoyed every bite.
We all agreed that cole slaw was a winner. Another thing is the fragrance. You know this is a real barbecue from the parking lot. Woody smoke fills the air inside as well, and the intense aroma permeates every bite.
They have a selection of dessert favorites such as the chocolate peanut butter pie, the lava cake, the cheese cake and the carrot cake we ordered. It’s a delicious long slice dotted with whipped cream. Although the cake was very good, the dessert can be hard to handle as you will be completely full of your entrees.
The Big Ed website has many coupons and specials, including all you can eat ribs (good luck with that). They have a great selection of beers, and there’s plenty on the menu – like chili and fried chicken – I’ll definitely be back. There is plenty of parking, and it is accessible for the disabled.
Cost – moderate
What we loved – the great roadside look and feel, the huge portions of skillfully prepared and well seasoned dishes, the large parking lot, TVs everywhere, the relaxed and calm atmosphere. We give it 5 js.
Big Ed’s Barbeque is located at 305 Route 34 in Old Bridge. 732-583-2626. It is open 7 days a week from 11:30 am and the last session is at 9 pm. BigEdsBBQ.com. Reservations are not required, but it is a good idea to call ahead.