I have been going to Detroit for business for quite a while now and have found a few BBQ places that I can recommend. This list will be updated as I find more reviewable places.
The big name in Detroit for BBQ is Slows. They have a sit down restaurant in the Corktown neighborhood (2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216), a kiosk at Comerica Park and a take out joint on Cass Avenue in Midtown (4107 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201). They also recently opened locations in Pontiac and Grand Rapids. It has been around since 2005.
Having eaten at the Slows original location and gotten take out from the To Go location, I can tell you that this is the real deal. Slow (natch) smoked succulent meats and fresh sides. The Mac and Cheese is one of the best – very rich and individually served with a deep melted cheese helmet on top. The sandwiches are large and varied. Two of my favorites are:
THE LONGHORN Sliced beef brisket with onion marmalade, smoked Gouda, and Spicy BBQ Sauce.
THE YARDBIRD Smoked chicken, sautéed in Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce, mushrooms, and Cheddar cheese, topped with applewood bacon.
For the bigger appetites, the sampler platter will fulfill your need for protein.
Surprisingly, only the Slows To Go location has Rib Tips. They are meaty, saucy and messy, but an undeniable treat.
A two slightly sticky thumbs up on Slows.
I found this hole in the wall one night when I was in the north eastern suburbs of Detroit. Lazybones Smokehouse (27475 Groesbeck Highway, Roseville, MI 48065) is a small restaurant that does most of its business through carryout sales. They have a small area with stools and a shelf if you want to eat in the establishment itself and a small area outside with picnic tables. All of the meats here are priced by the quarter pound, half pound and pound. This addresses one of my pet peeves, those restaurants that don’t have a sampler platter. I was able to order rib tips, brisket and burnt ends, a side and a water without breaking the bank. The brisket was very good with only one flaw, a bit too much fat for my liking. In general, my favorite meat is burnt ends and I was disappointed to find them very fatty and undercooked – not rare (God forbid), but mushy. The rib tips were excellent (Awesome in the Eric and Al rating scale) – not fatty at all, nicely caramelized and with lots of meat. The mac and cheese side dish was very good with strong cheese flavor. I will be back to try some other meats (and have more of the rib tips, for sure).