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Voyages: Boneheads BBQ

Voyages: Boneheads BBQ

Calling all barbecue buffs of Halifax! Do you find yourself dreaming about succulently smoky meat slathered in spicy-sweet sauce and served alongside mountains of fresh-cut fries and heaps of crisp coleslaw? Well then, stop acting like a bonehead and run, don’t walk, to the corner of Barrington St. and Inglis for an experience you are not soon to forget.


A 6-time recipient of The Coast’s ‘Best Ribs in Halifax’ award, Boneheads BBQ offers a timeless selection of southern classics. From their creamy mac & cheese to the Texas-style brisket, and even to the three tongue-tingling varieties of BBQ sauce, everything is made in-house by local pitmaster/owner Cindy Wheatley and her trusty smoker, “Wayne’s Mom.”

The central concept behind Boneheads is to offer customers a genuine entrée into the rich American tradition of barbecue. While the type of wood and seasonings used vary significantly from one area to another, Cindy uses 100% Oklahoma hickory and has handpicked a greatest hits lineup to showcase her favourite flavours from each regional style. A meal at Boneheads also offers the type of down-home, unpretentious atmosphere you would expect from a barbecue joint. The food is served ‘homestyle’ on plastic cafeteria trays, and each table is provided with its own roll of paper towel for when things get messy – as they surely will.


Now, some of you may be asking what a lady from Nova Scotia could possibly know about the art of wood-smoked meat. Well, not only has Cindy spent countless years travelling across the Dirty South, eating and learning about BBQ, she is also a judge for the Kansas City BBQ Association. In other words, she has paid her dues and has no lack of street cred, or should I say meat cred.

In typical sailor style, I start off strong with a full slab (12 bones) of 6-hour slow-smoked baby back ribs. They come glazed in Boneheads’ signature Smokehouse Sweet sauce and are moist and tender. Upon slicing, they show off a seductive pink smoke ring that only comes from hours spent in the smoker. $24.95 gets you the scrumptious rack, house-made cornbread, and 2 sides. Since I am a man of tradition, my tray comes piled high with hand-cut fries, and a creamy but tart green apple and red cabbage slaw.

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Next, I partake in another one of Boneheads’ most popular offerings, the dry-rubbed and slow-smoked jumbo chicken wings. At $11.95 per order, you get a handsome carton of 5 whole wings, seasoned to perfection and served unsplit. The fact that they’re left whole for you to tear apart with your hands, caveman-style, is half the fun. A true crowd pleaser, this dish hits your palate with a nice kick and is sure to get your juices flowing.


I’m torn. How can I review a classic southern BBQ experience without addressing the 15-hour smoked beef brisket? But, to this day, I’m still dreaming about that chocolate peanut butter pie. For $4.95, this rich and decadent treat comes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and is served chilled in a takeaway container. While the presentation may appear strange to some, it seems fitting that the dessert comes ready to go, considering that I can barely move by the end of my meal, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


While Nova Scotia doesn’t seem like the typical destination for southern barbecue, visitors to Halifax and residents alike should be aware that Boneheads BBQ is churning out some of the best smoked meat this side of the border. As any pitmaster will tell you, there are no shortcuts in this line of work, and you better believe that Cindy and her team are not afraid to put in the hours. A visit to Boneheads will leave you with sticky fingers, a full stomach, and a smile on your face. What more could you possibly ask for?



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