MoGridder’s BBQ and Auto Service

I’d been wanting to go to MoGridder’s since I heard about it on the Food Network, on “Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.” (As soon as the bleached-hair guy on the show has a heart attack, I’ll swoop in and take over the show). It’s out in the Bronx in Hunt’s Point, where all the rental truck returns, auto shops, and chop shops are. It’s one of the best rated rib joints in New York, and they offer a combo oil change and rack of ribs for $34.95– a bargain in these days of $135 crude and rising food prices.
Since it was Saturday in New York, we ran into an impromptu parade and/or protest, a road closure, a crane blocking the street, and a street that the GPS did not know had changed into a one-way. We drove over with the top down, and I felt like Ace in Escape from New York, which is playing on UHD this month.
It’s hard to miss. Parked in front of the auto shop on a 5 way corner is a fire-engine red trailer with a propane tank and smoker on the front. There’s a big sign showing a hillbilly with his popgun chasing a pig riding a steer plastered on the side, and some picnic tables set up outside. If you want classier digs, around the corner in the auto shop is the “MoGridder’s Lounge” which has tables and condiments, and a big wash sink to clean your sauce-encrusted mitts after gnawing the bones clean.

They serve the barbecue standards- ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and sausage. Firecracker got a pulled pork cheese steak with a side of potato salad, and I got a 2-meat plate of brisket and ribs, with beans and collard greens. They also serve fresh lemonade. It could be sweeter, but it’s nice and refreshing. We lugged our prizes to the cushy lounge to keep watch over my double-parked car, and had ourselves a hearty lunch.

The ribs are damn good- meaty and tender without having that “fall off the bone” quality that means too much sauce, or injecting, in my book. The meat didn’t need sauce to taste good, which is a must. The sauce was not too tomatoey or sweet, but had a nice smoky flavor. The brisket was delicious too, with good beefy flavor and just the right amount of fat. It was sliced too thin for my liking, and for $13 I expected more than 4 ribs and 4 thin slices of brisket. Next time I’ll get a full rack, or we’ll split one of the huge combos.

The pulled pork cheese steak was a thing to behold. The pulled pork was flavorful and tender, reminiscent of the Kalua pig from Hawaii. It came with peppers and onions, and enough Cheez Whiz to feed Philadelphia. It’s a great idea, mixing the classic pulled pork sandwich with the Philly cheese steak, and it’s worth driving into the Bronx for.
The sides were very good as well. The beans were spectacular, with tons of sweet smoke and spice. The collard greens were a little bland; they could have used some more bacon fat. They were tangy but mostly flavorless, like most collards, and a little too soupy. The potato salad was heavy on the mayo, northern style. The resident Southern belle wanted some egg or spice in there, so I used the last of my Tony Chachere’s packets to spice it up. Overall it was a very good meal, a little on the pricey side for truck food, but we both left stuffed and sated and glad we made the trip.
It’s worth the trouble, even if you don’t have the map from The Brain telling you where the mines are on the Bridge. Brother Jimmy’s might have more Southern specialties, but their ribs and beans aren’t this good. There you can have an Abita, some peel ‘n eat shrimp, or fried pickles… but good luck getting your oil changed. MoGridder’s is unique road food, a little out of the way for most travelers, but where else can you get award-winning ribs and a tune-up while you wait?

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