Little Louie’s – Collingswood

Little Louie’s Ribs, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw


Before I lay this into Little Louie’s I want to leave some positives here. Little Louie’s appears to be doing well and for this I’m grateful. It’s nice seeing business’s succeed in town. This only means more people visiting and thus more taxes paid. By my insane line of reasoning I believe this will have some negligible effect on my astoundingly high prop taxes I pay each year. See: Too much. Probably not. Another is that they are most likely appealing to the audience that is in town that appreciates this type of bbq. However the reviews on yelp say otherwise. That’s all ok. Like what you like, I guess. Regardless of whatever feeling I have I want this place to succeed. It’s a well maintained property and will diversify the businesses in town (See not another Italian restaurant). I want them to keep on doing what is making them successful.

On the other hand my opinion is one of an extremely developed pallet for BBQ. I consider myself an expert into the styles, methods, and actual cooking of BBQ. My tastes are different, which doesn’t mean it’s right, but I can speak to things with authority. I can tell you what competition BBQ tastes like for example. I can also tell you the reasons why each region has distinct differences. I’m a snob.

Which leads me to the negative part of this review.

This is NOT traditional BBQ. It’s what they’re calling gorumet bbq. While they are most certainly using a southern pride smoker I cannot detect any hint of smoke in there at all and it somewhat defies logic.. This happens to be an affliction many proclaimed BBQ places in the area have however and I really cannot understand why. I’ve visited the known BBQ masters around the country on frequent occasions as this is what I enjoy doing and without fail the top dog restaurants always reek of smoke as well as their meats. I’ve tested a little why this occurs – for example I’ve put in the smallest amount of wood and still had many times the hint of smoke these places do. Is it me? Is it Us?

As I said above what I know as a BBQ joint (gates bbq in KC, Franklins in  Louie Mueller, TX) you couldn’t walk within 100 feet and not notice be smacked in the face with the smell of smoke brutally and horrifically. This place. None.  Now, I understand there is a misconception of grilling being also referred to as BBQ and often called “Northern BBQ” rather insultingly so I’m willing to make exceptions and lower expectations here. I’ve spoken to this point so many times before. This is OK. But again it’s not BBQ. There’s also another problem.

I met the owner while they were opening.

This complicated my feelings even more. I asked the question of what style of smoked bbq he is doing he responded with “memphis, texas, north carolina, south carolina, georgia” in one breath. As if he didn’t really know. I blindly stared back.  How you can name all of the most very distinct and often argued over as to which is best as your style? It is a bit peculiar. You cannot be all things at once. That much is true in life let alone BBQ. Essentially you pick a style and roll with it  because each style is very different in their approach and furthermore you’ve created this approach from years and years of eating this style. Most likely because you are from that area. For starters there are different types of woods and rubs. To develop 6 types of rubs is mind boggling. Even still some styles focus on types of meats and others on sauces and the insane variety of those. Maybe even lack there of!  I won’t even begin to go on the rant of how can you truly know these styles without having eaten these over and over over years and years. We’re BBQ SNOBS, No doye. So…about the food.

We ordered the brisket which was more like beef stew and I’m still amazed how you can make a brisket look like shredded beef. The ribs were insulting to my pallet. I have never seen a set of ribs so amazingly overcooked in my life so as to turn brown outside of..gosh. I don’t know – the cheap stuff you get in the supermarket? And don’t put damn sauce in my bbq BEFORE I can. Mixing sauces is disgusting. To be totally forthcoming I’ve never seen that combo of sauce and meat turn out like that. I understand sometimes end pieces get over cooked but…..look at the picture. How can a rib be so devoid of meat – even for a baby back!  That said it’s not the worst BBQ I’ve eaten in the area. This is because the sides were the only saving grace. The Baked beans were cooked well and the slaw turned out to be – if a bit spicy – a good treat. The service was also good and enthusiastic so points there. I even liked the decor. That’s about as memorable as my experience was. We pretty much turned the food away near the end. Being fairly cost efficient (see: cheap) we try to take home food but in this case we didn’t.

If you want REAL smoked meats please write me. I’ll gladly cook up a brisket and ribs combo for you. Even my pulled pork is pretty amazing.

Also Please see this link to compare against theirs to make your own judgement of who is doing bbq and who is…doing something else? You might hate mine! So what! =)