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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smokin’ selections for the Super Bowl in Indy

Thanks to the Super Bowl and many hospitable Hoosiers, our nation is discovering what a great destination that Indianapolis can be for sports, entertainment and food. This is a city that is vibrant year-round with many things to do outside the month of May, which is devoted to a 500-mile race.

It’s also becoming a place where barbecue lovers will find many choices as well. If you’ve been a previous visitor to this column, you’re already aware of places such as Squealer’s, Hank’s Smoked Brisket, Pa and Ma’s Barbecue and the first Indiana location of City Barbeque.

Unlike Memphis, Kansas City and other cities, Indianapolis does not have its own style of barbecue, but there are many here who take pride in showing their influences from all points south.

Here is a short primer to other places you might like to try, whether you’re in town for the Big Game or just looking for some great joints in Indy:

-- Black Diamond Barbecue, 6404 Rucker Road, was opened on the north side in June 2007 by two people who loved cooking ribs in their backyards in the dead of winter (people after my own heart). They serve up the usual selection of ribs, chicken and beef brisket by keeping things simple. Don’t leave without having some pie! They can provide catering for large groups.

-- Judges Tip of the Rib Bar-B-Que, 2104 W. Michigan St., also has the distinction of being a juice smoothie bar. Viewers of the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis voted Judge's the best barbecue place in the state. Obviously, that’s debatable but it’s nice to see a joint that also does BBQ Meatloaf and Smoked Salmon. Don’t wait until the weekend to go to Judge’s – it’s not open on the weekends.

-- King Ribs Bar-B-Q, has three locations, but my favorite one is located at a former car wash at 4130 N. Keystone Ave., which makes it easy to take the barbecue with you. Other locations can be found at 3145 W. 16th St. and at 56th Street and Georgetown Road. If you’re looking for something different, try their barbecued pigs’ feet.

-- Papa Roux, which has locations in the City Market downtown, 222 E. Market St.; and on the east side at 8950 E. 10th St. While Po-Boy sandwiches and stews make up most of its New Orleans-style restaurants, they produce a smoked pulled-pork sandwich that weighs more than a pound. Happily, they’ll serve it to you on bread that is gluten-free.

-- Bar-B-Q Heaven, one of Indianapolis’ oldest and most established joints, 2515 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., does a strong carry-out business and will let you place your order online. A second location can be found at 877 E. 30th St. They have an expansive menu that includes rib tips, turkey ribs and pigs’ feet and the best in soul food sides. Take home a bottle of their sauce! Bar-B-Q Heaven also has a direct tie to the game. It is an official contract recipient in the NFL's Emerging Business Program and is participating in the NFL's Emerging Business Challenge. For more information, visit the Emerging Business website.

I could mention several places, such as Garrett’s Smokehouse Barbeque, the Pit Stop Barbecue in nearby Brownsburg and Big Hoffa’s Barbeque), but I want to keep this article brief and whet your appetite for future columns.

And visitors, please don’t judge us adversely because Famous Dave’s is here too.