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Finger Lickin' at Rib Bizz in Boca Raton

Rib Bizz, the Boynton Beach barbecue shack transplant from Marquita and Curtis Houston, made its debut a couple of weeks ago in Boca Raton. And already it's off to a smoking start, hawking slow-cooked ribs and pulled pork out of its bigger, better storefront in North Boca.

I stopped in recently to sample Rib Bizz's namesake goods and wound up trying a half rack of baby backs alongside homemade collard greens, mac 'n' cheese, and jackbread, a spicy corn bread laced with hot peppers. I washed it all down with sweet tea brewed in-house and a personal-sized sweet potato pie fresh from the oven.

Rib Bizz offers three sauces to top its charcoal- and fruitwood-cooked

'cue: The original is a traditional tomato base that's sweet and

not at all spicy; a thick mustard sauce calls on Georgia and Carolina

foodways (the Houstons are indeed from Georgia); and a hot habanero

sauce merges the sweet original with some fiery heat.

I had my ribs topped with the original, with some habanero on the side,

fearing the repercussions of slathering the hot stuff directly on my

food. But the hot sauce was not nearly as potent as I'd hoped -- all I

felt from sampling it was a mild buzz no hotter than ordinary crushed

red pepper. Some habanero flavor would've made up for the lack of heat,

but I couldn't detect that either. It was a shame, because I didn't too

much care for the overly sweet original sauce that came on the ribs.

The ribs themselves were smoky and charred on the surface but a

little dry. Baby backs are easy to overcook and can often dry up

while waiting in a warming tray or if they're reheated. It could've

just been bad luck, since the piggy flavor was spot-on. My side of

collards was juicy and sweet -- damned fine stuff -- and the mac 'n'

cheese was good, for the traditional baked variety. I was eager to

try the jackbread as well, but found it just OK.

Still, the service at Rib Bizz was sweet and attentive, and every

customer was greeted warmly when he came through the door. I'm eager

to stop in to Rib Bizz again soon to try its pulled pork with mustard

sauce, hopefully on a big ol' sandwich.

Rib Bizz

6020 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton


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John Linn

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