If asked to nominate a genre of food to typify "American Ethnic," I'd quickly raise two greasy hands for barbecue. There's nothing more comforting and authentic than meat cooked low and slow over smoky hardwood.

My travels have taken me to barbecue hotbeds like North Carolina and Texas. And during the last three years, I've spent more time with my Weber smoker than I have with many members of my family. (Disclaimer: Much of my family is 400 miles away in Ohio; the smoker is 40 feet away in my garage.) So I know what to look and taste for in barbecue: tender and moist meat, a pink smoke ring near the meat's exterior and "bark" that concentrates the flavor of the rub.

Without a doubt, Grumpy's Bar-B-Que Roadhouse is the best I’ve found in Lehigh Valley to date. The pork ribs were phenomenal -- fall-off-the-bone delicious. The pulled pork was moist and imbued with smoky goodness. Shredded beef brisket was at once hearty and toothsome. And the meaty smoked chicken leg was fork-tender; I hardly needed a knife. Grumpy's coleslaw -- a traditional BBQ side -- had only a light creamy sauce covering the cabbage and veggies, as opposed to other joints that drown the chopped salad.

The atmosphere at Grumpy’s was a B+. The dining room almost seemed a little too nice with striped wall paper. And I'm a fan of paper towel rolls at the table, which were missing – at least Grumpy's has a pile of napkins.

Overall, Grumpy’s is top-quality BBQ -- even if this were 500 miles south.

I have yet to sample Dickey's over on Schoenersville Road, although I've heard decent things about it. Are any other BBQ places I need to hit up in Lehigh Valley?


This post was written by Lehigh Valley InSite guest blogger Michael Drabenstott, who also writes the Beyond Scrapple blog.