Bob Bringhurst and Becky Bowden first met at school, here in Rhode Island, when they were young. In typical fashion Bob and Becky grew up, married other people and moved away. As fate would have it they each got divorced and both moved back to Aquidneck Island at the same time. Becky from Alaska and Bob from Texas and Alabama. When they ran into each other again, both realized they had similar goals. Becky always wanted her own business and Bob, while down south had had fallen in love with "barbecue."
“With so many seafood, hamburger, Chinese, gourmet and grill restaurants around, we decided to carve out their own niche,” Bringhurst said.
Barbecue was the natural answer to the question.
So in 1994 they opened Becky’s BBQ and the restaurant has been going strong ever since.
Sadly, six years ago Becky died and Bob has carried on their dream ever since.
While Middletown does not officially have a town center, Becky’s is located in a very central area, across from The Christmas Tree Shop, Route 138, 82 East Main Road. The interior of the small restaurant is decorated as if it were someone’s kitchen with all of their favorite things and mementos hanging on the walls and lining the shelves. The wall paper has very busy patterns, kitschy but in a good way.
“The style of barbecue is southeastern where the word barbeque is a noun not a verb,” Bringhurst explained.
Becky’s uses hickory wood and the barbecue cooker sits right in front of the restaurant. Low and slow is the mantra for smoking the meats, which translates to low, slow and lots of time. The pork and beef are barbequed in the hickory pit for 18 hours. The pork and beef are then pulled, cleaned and lightly sauced. If you prefer no sauce at all, just ask. Becky's BBQ's two main sauces are Kansas City Sweet and North Carolina, which is a vinegar and pepper based sauce.
The chicken and ribs are hand-rubbed with their own blend of spices and then barbequed in their hickory pit at 215 degrees for four to five hours. Then the meat just falls off of the bone but still manages to remain juicy and not dried out.
The process of barbeque causes the connective tissue to tenderize and dissolve.
“When the meat comes out of the pit, it does not need sauce because the flavor is smoked right in,” Bringhurst said.
The sign of a real barbecue, or BBQ, is the reddish color of the meats caused by smoking process.
Becky’s offers barbecued pulled pork, beef and chicken, BBQ ribs, one quarter or whole slabs, chicken quarter and halves with a choice of sides; Becky’s three-bean bake, smashed potatoes, niblet corn, potato salad or cole slaw.
The best corn bread you ever had, light and fluffy, comes with just about everything. The prices are very reasonable as most all of the entrees come with a drink.
I wondered here in the northeast who would their customers be? While talking with Bob I found out just who they were. A myriad of folks came through the door at lunch time. Military men, teenagers, office workers dispatched to pick up orders for their co-workers, Department of Defense workers, young mothers and tourists.
At one point there was a line out the door.
Becky’s BBQ won the Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of 2010 for their ribs. It is an honor well deserved.
Becky's BBQ is located at 82 East Main Road, Middletown. The phone number is 401-841-9909.
Find out current hours, order information and more at the Becky's BBQ website.