What’s Up With Dickey’s?

So Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, at the corner of Demers and Washington in Grand Forks, has been closed for the past few days. What gives?

Well from two pieces of paper posted on the front door, Dickey’s won’t be closed for long.

One sheet just read SORRY WE ARE CLOSED. Dickey’s

But another read “Dickey’s Barbecue closed due to mechanical problems and will re-open in a few days. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”

Now what these “mechanical problems” are, I have no idea. It must have been something really important like the smokers, but here’s hoping we won’t be deprived of delicious barbecue much longer!

UPDATE: I haven’t heard anything official, but this Dickey’s may be done. It’s off of the website’s franchise list when you look for Grand Forks. Stay tuned.

Airport Barbecue

Airports get a bad name when it comes to food. Most travelers, tired and haggard, usually opt for what’s cheap and filling. But some airports are bucking the trend of terrible eats.

For instance, the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport has some great options like the French Meadow Bakery Cafe, Shoyu and Volante. You can get a pretty spot-on Chicago-style hot dog at either of that city’s main airports. And in Memphis, TN, a city known for great barbecue, you can find some pretty tasty stuff.

Interstate BBQ pork half-slab

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Dickey’s Comes to GFAFB

Josh Becker, an Air Force veteran and owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Grand Forks, has opened a smaller location on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Sliced brisket plate

“I’ve got a bunch of friends out there they were begging for something else, something different,” Becker told the Grand Forks Herald.

You can see my review of the Grand Forks location here. 

I think it’s great Becker is expanding with the AFB franchise, giving those that live on the base another option.

Grand Opening at ‘Dickey’s’ Today; Pulled Pork Sandwiches $1

While it’s been open since June, that doesn’t mean a grand opening celebration can’t be held at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Grand Forks, right? Well if pulled pork sandwiches are only $1, that’s fine with me.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday stop in for the cheap sandwich and a chance to win free barbecue for a year. Three lucky winners will be chosen.

And while the mercury just seems to keep going lower and lower, pulled pork sounds mighty fine to me, especially with sauce from those piping hot cauldrons that you’re free to ladle onto your plate.

“Our hot fresh barbecue is exactly what the Grand Forks community is looking for on those below freezing days,” said franchise owner Josh Becker. “We offer slow smoked barbecue that just melts in your mouth.”

Dickey’s is at 623 S. Washington. Click here for my review.

‘Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’ a Welcome GF Addition

For this post on the first legitimate barbecue joint in Grand Forks, we’re giving you two (and a half) reviews for the price of one! Read them both, then run to Dickey’s.

Barbecue is as American as a food can get. The mix of sweet and heat, crunchy charred bits and tender, juicy meat is irresistible for most. And the glorious sides that come with it, like mac and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw are almost as important as the smoky meat. Almost.

So the addition of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit at the intersection of Washington and Demers is, needless to say, welcome. There has not, to my knowledge, been a real deal barbecue joint in town. Yes there are places that serve up ribs or brisket, like Wild Hog or Speedway, but for something as important as good barbecue, a town really needs a place that does only that.

Dickey’s opened a few weeks ago where Mi Mexico used to call home and Hardee’s before that. It’s one of the busiest intersections in the entire state, but getting into the parking lot if you’re not coming from the south isn’t the easiest to maneuver. But it’s worth it.

Chopped brisket plate with onion tanglers, pickle, and jalapeno beans

Owner Josh Becker and team have transformed the Mexican-themed restaurant into a room that transports you to Texas, with blue checkered table coverings, wagon wheels and other decorations.

A friend and I sidled in on Saturday around 5:30 to find the place nearly packed, with about 10 people already in line. The wait was about 15 minutes, but the people ahead of us had a pretty big order. Ordering is done in a typical fast-casual type of way, sort of like Qdoba if you’re familiar. You tell one guy what type of plate you want and another what kinds of sides. You can also order sandwiches like The Lil’ Hoagie, the Big Barbecue Sandwich or The Westerner (choice of 2 meats with cheese). The “plates” include the 1 meat plate, 2 meat plate, rib plate or the quarter plate.

Meats include Texas style chopped beef brisket, Virginia style ham, Southern pulled pork, marinated chicken breast, turkey breast, polish sausage, spicy cheddar sausage and pork ribs.

Sides feature barbecue beans, jalapeno beans, coleslaw, potato salad, mac and cheese, fried okra, fried onion tanglers and others.

Sliced brisket plate

I opted for the Texas chopped beef brisket with jalapeno beans and fried onion tanglers. Unfortunately they were out of mac and cheese, but I’ll try that next visit.

Over by the drink station are three pots of piping hot sauce you can ladle onto your plate. I slathered nearly everything in the spicy sauce (not sure if it had a name) and grabbed a big pickle (free!) from a big bin next to the sauces and found a table.

Digging into the brisket, it was cooked perfectly, with a discernible smoke ring. It was tender and tasty, but just a bit too fatty. The sauce was actually fairly spicy, which I liked. The jalapeno beans were even spicier than the sauce, but not too much for me. They, along with everything else, were piping hot. The fried onion tanglers were crispy and obviously onion-y and the portions of the sides were surprisingly big. Every plate gets a roll, which I found to be adequate but nothing amazing. I would split it open, throw some brisket on and top it with onion tanglers and spicy sauce to make a damn good mini sandwich.

I spotted the owner Josh Becker, a Texas native donning a cowboy hat, handing out rib tips (I think) to the hungry customers waiting in line. He was even tinkering with the iced tea and soda machine, showing he’s serious about running a smooth operation, which it looks to be. Becker came over to our table, asked us if everything was good and thanked us for coming in.

Dickey’s caters and even has a drive-thru. While I only had the chance for one visit, I will be a repeat customer, exploring every inch of the menu. Next up for me are the pork ribs and (hopefully) the mac and cheese. But I’m sure everything is great. The joint is definitely a great new place to check out in Grand Forks.

Now for the next take on Dickey’s, from the same guy who brought you the controversial Pizza Ranch review

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is Worth a Try

I really like going to grand openings of restaurants. Most “foodies” will tell you that’s the worst time to go because the restaurant is working out the kinks and is much better to try after the establishment has been opened for at least 30 days. I tend to disagree. Simply because this is where customer service will need to shine to make sure the business gets people to come back and eat there. I also feel that if they’re confident in their product and are willing to open, then there should be no need for a 30 day tinkering period.

Dickey’s, I would say, seems to have this right. I arrived at 11:30 on opening day and found quite a line coming out the front door (the only downside to grand openings, long lines). The wait wasn’t too bad as we stood in line for about a half hour until we ordered. Their friendly staff eased the waiting time by passing out menus for both in-restaurant eating and catering, as well as handing out cards for free barbecue sandwiches.

Dickey’s has a variety of choices for the meats it offers. Beef brisket, pulled pork, ham, turkey breast, polish sausage, spicy cheddar sausage, pork ribs, and chicken breast can be served up with as many sides as anyone could ask for.

I ordered the beef brisket and a pulled pork sandwich with a side of creamy coleslaw (because it ain’t a barbecue unless it’s got slaw!) and a side of the waffle iron fries. As you walk through the line to order sides, I was also asked about what I would like on the sandwich which generally has pickles and onions on it. I opted for the onion only and proceeded to the register.

After I paid and headed to the drink station, Dickey’s provided its barbecue sauces to put in a cup or to be drizzled over the meats. Dickey’s original, spicy, and sweet barbecue sauces sit in heated pots to keep the barbecue sauce flowing. I tried Dickey’s original on all the meats I had on my plate.

I sat down and was surprised at how much work Dickey’s did to the interior. They did a great job of making it look like a traditional barbecue pit with wagon wheels hanging from the ceiling with lamps attached, checkerboard table cloths, and paper towels for napkins. I couldn’t help but still feel like it was a fast food place. I understand it used to be a Hardee’s, but after walking through the line and with a drive-thru, it was a barbecue pit that was fast to serve. I don’t mind this because if you have a short lunch break in the middle of the day and are hankering for some barbecue, Dickey’s fills this need.

I took my first bites into the pulled pork sandwich and I have to admit it was only fair. The meat was moist and juicy, which I completely appreciated, but it seemed to lack a smoky flavor that I had come to expect. The sauce did little to enhance the flavor of the pork.
My second bites went into the beef brisket and I was impressed. The beef brisket had the smoky flavor and Dickey’s original barbecue sauce complemented it extremely well. A bit of advice when you do get the brisket, make sure you get about a full cup of the barbecue sauce to toss on the brisket.

The sides I was able to dig into and found them to be tasty. The creamy coleslaw had a rich flavor and was very tangy. The waffle iron fries had a very simple seasoning to them, which according to the establishment’s manager was call “FooFoo”. Yes, “FooFoo” which is the seasoning mix that is thrown onto the waffle iron fries and fried okra that gives those sides a nice seasoned taste to them.

Overall the Dickey’s experience is positive. For a chain barbecue pit, it exceeds expectations. The friendly staff acknowledging and complementing the selections I had made to the tangy flavors of the barbecue sauces, this would be a “must eat” when you’re craving that Texas style barbecue.

Just because we can, here’s a mini review from Grand Forks Foodie:

Last week we ventured out to Dickey’s BBQ. Service was amazing. They were very attentive and helpful. I got the basic BBQ sandwich (redeeming my coupon from the Target parking lot). It was good but from someone that loves her own homemade pulled pork, I was glad they had a condiment side to add a little more sauce.

The side dishes were all great. The kids loved the mac and cheese (very reminiscent to grade school cafeteria mac and cheese) and they also loved the chicken nuggets.

This place seems to be consistently busy. So congratulations to the new business here in town!

ALSO: Reggie offers his take on Dickey’s

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit / 623 South Washington Street / 701.203.4464

Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Urbanspoon

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Opening June 21

Barbecue lovers in the northern valley will soon have another joint to get their smoked meat fix – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is set to open later this month.

The restaurant at 623 S. Washington St. is expected to open June 21 in the former location of Mi Mexico and, before that, Hardee’s. That intersection is one of the busiest in the state, so I’m not sure why other businesses have had trouble. Hopefully the sweet smell of smoking wood will bring customers in droves. I know I won’t be able to pass it up.

Dickey’s is a relatively small chain, operating since 1941. The meats are slow smoked on-site at each restaurant. They say they “source only the best meats in the country and track them from the field to the table.”

Dickey’s Quarter Plate

The menu includes sandwiches, meat plates, quite a few sides and other items.

Some sides include beans, coleslaw, jalapeno beans, mac and cheese, fried okra and waffle iron fries.

You can get a 1 or 2 meat plate with two sides, a roll, onions and barbecue sauce. Prices seem pretty reasonable, too.

Other meats Dickey’s has to offer include Texas-style chopped beef brisket, pulled pork, polish sausages, spicy cheddar sausages and pork ribs. Is your mouth watering yet?

Dickey’s website

This Weekend is a Foodie’s Fantasy

If you’re a food lover or just looking for something fun to do, this weekend has no shortage of events in the area.

The 10th annual Grand Cities Art Fest will be held in downtown Grand Forks on Saturday and Sunday, bringing with it not only dozens of exhibitors, but some tasty options if you’re hungry.

Grand Cities Art Fest

While art is nice and all, I’m mainly interested in the food. A few years ago, the Famous Dave’s truck came up from Fargo, so that was reason enough for me. I’m not sure what exactly will be available as far as vendors, but you’ll no doubt find something to your liking. The event starts Saturday at 10 a.m.

Also, the annual Rhubarb Festival is Saturday at University Lutheran Church in Grand Forks from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. WDAZ anchor Terry Dullum will be there as a judge. Rhubarb desserts, pies and rhubarb shakes are available, among other things.

And who can forget Rib Fest in Fargo? Events on Saturday include stage shows by A Touch of Magic, Penny and Pals, and much more if you’re trucking around tykes.

Musical entertainment includes Trixter, Firehouse and Warrant, followed by a fireworks display.

There are seven barbecue vendors at the festival and ice cold beverages to wash it down.

Just a heads-up: it is going to be pretty darn hot this weekend, so be prepared.

Know of anything else going on?

Knockout ‘Norwegian’ Ribs???

I met a few friends at the Blue Moose in East Grand Forks recently. I previously sang its praises regarding mac and cheese and the Outlaw Burger but I had never tried the “Norwegian” BBQ ribs.

Norwegian BBQ Ribs

I ordered the BBQ rib taster appetizer and the insanely good spinach con queso. The ribs are billed as “Norwegian,” but I don’t know how it applies. All I know is they’re among the best ribs I’ve had in the area.

The sauce is a bit sweet, not spicy all. But there was quite a bit of meat on the bones and it fell off easily.

Properly cooked ribs are one thing, but a tasty sauce brings it over the top.

Also, try the gooey, cheesy spinach con queso with tortilla chips. It is one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had.

Spinach Con Queso

The red pepper in it and the garlic make it irresistible.

The Blue Moose Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Skip the Ribs at ‘Space Aliens’

Since I last blogged about the McRib, a fake rib sandwich, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some actual ribs.

Unfortunately, the ones I found at Space Aliens in Grand Forks were lacking.

I ordered the regular platter of four ribs for $12.99. The menu says the award-winning ribs are “expertly seasoned with over 20 spices, then slowly smoked in our authentic Bar-B-Que smokers.”

You can get your choice of sides like cole slaw, fries, or baked beans among others.

I got the cole slaw and “outer space fries” to go with the ribs. When the slab came out, it was overcooked and overly fatty. There were some bits of char on the meat that, when I crunched down on them, filled my mouth with the taste of an ashtray. There wasn’t a whole lot of meat on them either.

Space Aliens Ribs

The cole slaw tasted like it was sitting in the kitchen for a few days. But the fries were surprisingly good. They were the best part of the meal.


The menu also includes a number of appetizers, soups, salads, quesadillas, burritos, brisket, shredded pork, steaks, chicken dinners, sandwiches and burgers.

I haven’t tried many of the other dishes at Space Aliens. I went there a few months after it opened and never really came back.

The brisket I had then was dry and the portion was very small.

Also, beer in the bar is expensive.

I’d recommend finding another place for tasty ribs. Just a few feet away from Space Aliens is Texas Roadhouse. I have their ribs a few times and there were very good. I’ve heard good things about Speedway’s version, too.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Coming to Former Mi Mexico Location

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will soon be calling the former Mi Mexico location home, according to Reggie.

“When I moved to North Dakota, I looked up barbecue and all that came up were Chinese food restaurants,” said franchise owner Josh Becker. “There was a desperate need for barbecue here.”

Dickey's Quarter Plate

Becker is right. The only time we get good barbecue up here is when the Famous Dave’s truck comes up from Fargo for the Art Fest or something. Wild Hog in south Grand Forks is alright, but I found their version a bit dry. I do need to get there again and try the ribs, though.

Dickey’s was started in Texas in 1941. They serve hickory-smoked meats like beef brisket, pulled pork, polish sausage and more. Sides include cole slaw, barbecue beans, potato salad and French fries. There are over 200 locations across the country.

A Fargo Forum review found the meat tasty, but the sides lacking.

Dickey’s is expected to open in mid May. I can’t wait.