Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • The former Dairy Queen space has been nicely refurbished into Triple B's BBQ.

  • Green beans with turkey neck at Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • The former Dairy Queen space has been nicely refurbished into Triple B's BBQ.

  • Ribs from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Brisket nachos with the works from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • The former Dairy Queen space has been nicely refurbished into Triple B's BBQ.

  • Macaroni and cheese from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • A cut-out barbecued rib from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Pulled pork from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Cornbread from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Smoked chicken from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Turkey tips from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Coleslaw from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Loaded mashed potatoes from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Triple B's BBQ in the former Dairy Queen spot in Maplewood Plaza.

  • Collard greens from Triple B's in Maplewood Plaza.

Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:18 pm

Sides score as much as main meats at BBQ spot

Ryan DuVall | Restaurant critic

Telling you the best thing I had at a new barbecue spot were the green beans might not seem like a ringing endorsement.

But the green beans at Triple B’s BBQ in Maplewood Plaza along Maplecrest Road were that good. Loaded with stringy smoked turkey neck and a touch of onion, and seasoned perfectly, these slow-cooked beans reminded me of the ones that came out of the pan with my grandmother’s roast. They took on the flavor of the onions and meat and really tasted like some love went into them.

And though that side and several others were winners at Triple B’s, there were some smoked meats that were worth raving about, too.

Ray Schenk, who owns Triple B’s, along with his wife, Brenda, was once part of the Jimmy Ray’s barbecue catering company, which is still in operation. He got his start like most barbecue mavens, honing his craft in the backyard on weekends. He said his style is part St. Louis with a little Carolina mixed in.

"We want something that pops," he said. "That’s the way I like to eat so that’s what we try to do. We won’t put anything out unless we think it is great."

The mural on the wall of the Schenks’ nicely refurbished space that was once a Dairy Queen stated, "If there is a better piece of chicken out there, the rooster got it." Not sure what that meant, exactly, but the chicken was fabulous.

It did not have a heavy rub on it and was served without sauce, and it really didn’t need it. It was very juicy, fell off the bone with ease and had just the right kiss of hickory. The spices that were dusted on it made it flavorful without masking the natural chicken flavor.

The same could be said for the pulled pork. Again, it was super moist and didn’t need much sauce. Given it spends more time on the smoker, it did have a much more intense smokiness, and that was not a bad thing at all. I liked mine with a little of both sauces. Triple B’s only offers a house-made mild – which Schenk described as "sweet with some tang" – and a hot.

The ribs needed sauce. They had a deep smoke ring and fell from the bone easily but seemed as if there wasn’t much of a rub on them as they lacked for salt. They were still pretty tasty but could have been better with a bit more seasoning.

What little brisket I tried on my barbecued nachos made me want to try them alone next time. There was plenty of the finely diced beef on my tortilla chips, and those little bits were moist and flavorful.

The nachos as a whole were definitely worth having again and I am eager to try them with chicken and/or pork. Deluxe style with lettuce, green onions, tomatoes and sour cream in addition to meat and shredded cheese is the way to go, and go ahead and add bacon because why not?

The only meat I did not care for at Triple B’s was the turkey tips. These tips were actually thigh meat, I was told, and though that turkey did wonders for the green beans, it was not as tender as I hoped and just fell flat.

The only side that fell flat for me was the collard greens. Cooked with the same turkey necks used in the green beans, along with oxtail, they had just a little too much vinegar for my liking and needed more salt.

The rest of the sides were gold.

The loaded mashed potatoes challenged the green beans for the top ranking. Loaded with green onion, cheese and bacon, they had sour cream whipped into them for added flavor and could stand up to any specialty potato in the city.

On the cold side, I would have a hard time picking between the coleslaw and potato salads – both made on site. The potato was pretty straightforward with chopped egg and celery in a sweet, mustard-based dressing, but there is nothing wrong with a simple potato salad when it as done as perfectly as this one.

The slaw was anything but standard as it was loaded with tiny bacon bits and diced tomatoes. It had a heavy dose of its creamy, sweet, mayonnaise-based dressing and basically tasted like a BLT.

The macaroni and cheese was also not a standard version. This penne pasta concoction had a ton of butter and a good amount of black pepper in its white cheese sauce and actually tasted like Alfredo sauce. I was expecting the yellow norm but would get this macaroni again because I ate every morsel.

Triple B’s cornbread will not only be had again, it will be had during every future visit. The big squares – about four inches by four inches and just as thick – were moist, sweet and delectable. There is a jalapeño version, too, but it had a lot of peppers and was too spicy for my liking.

I also did not find one employee to my liking. Though my orders were taken promptly and the food arrived fast, I was turned off by the inappropriate way one person freely talked about some of the restaurant’s customers.

But I will still give Triple B’s another chance. It is a must-try spot for barbecue lovers and probably a must-try even if you aren’t, especially if you love green beans.

Restaurant: Triple B’s BBQ

Address: 6207 Plantation Lane

Phone: 485-6482

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Cuisine: Barbecue

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Alcohol: None

Credit cards: Yes

Kid-friendly: Yes

Menu: Ribs ($19.50 whole slab; $10.50 half; $5.50 quarter), pork ($9 pound; $5.25 half; $3.50 quarter), turkey tips ($7 pound; $4.50 half), brisket nachos ($8), chicken ($6.50 half; $3.50 quarter), sides ($2.50), cornbread ($1.50; $2 jalapeño)

Rating breakdown: Food: **1/2 (3-star maximum); atmosphere: 1/2 (1 maximum), service: 1/2 (1 maximum)

Ryan DuVall is a restaurant critic for The Journal Gazette. This review is based on two unannounced visits. The Journal Gazette pays for all meals. Email him at rduvall@jg.net; call at 461-8130. DuVall’s past reviews can be found at www.journalgazette. net. You can follow him on Twitter @DiningOutDuVall.