UPDATE: January 2020. Slabs and Crabs has announced they are now permanently closed. Too bad because it was really good ‘cue.
Who says New Jersey is a “Barbecue wasteland?” Oh, that was my good friend Pete Genovese of NJ.com. Well, guess what, Pete? You might want to rethink that.
Here in Pennsauken, NJ alone there are three BBQ joints within about 3 miles of each other. Back Alley Barbeque opened in 2018 and Men in the Kitchen opened in 2016.
Slabs and Crabs, located at 1100 Route 73, is the new kid on the barbecue block making Pennsauken BBQ central in South Jersey.
Owned by brother and sister duo Malcolm and Patricia Lee of Burlington, along with their cousin Alvin Williams of Woodbridge, Slabs and Crabs opened on September 14th to much excitement. They have been actively promoting the new business via their Facebook page and have already built a large following of instant fans.
Malcolm is a former plumber who originally opened a BBQ food truck and catering company called Slabhouse in Burlington, NJ. It quickly became popular at car shows and private events building a steady stream of loyal catering customers. When the opportunity to take over the location in Pennsauken, formerly a computer repair shop, he jumped on it, thinking it was the perfect location to add a brick and mortar location. He could park his smoker outside and still have enough room inside for a stove, refrigerator, storage, and prep area.
While Malcolm has no formal training, just a love of good ‘cue, Patricia Lee is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, PA. She told me she always wanted to be a food critic, but decided to take the cooking route instead.
The menu changes daily but brisket, ribs, and pulled pork are mainstays. Other proteins that rotate are smoked and fried wings, smoked drumsticks, pulled chicken, jerk chicken, turkey wings, meatloaf, smoked meatballs, fried cod, whiting, salmon, jerk shrimp, and of course whole crabs! They’ve also done some whole fried chicken and turkeys on occasion. Platters with 2 sides and cornbread will run you anywhere from $12-$17 depending on what you choose.
Sides that rotate include baked macaroni and cheese, rice and beans, baked beans, collard greens, yams, baked potatoes, black-eyed peas, and corn on the cob just to name a few. The baked mac seems to be on the menu just about daily.
Moist cornbread comes with every platter or can be bought separately. I can see Patricia’s creative culinary side come out with her strawberry or strawberry-peach cornbread – the latter adding just a little extra sweetness which pairs so well with the smoked meats and savory sides. A little something extra to take the platters to the next level.
They also offer each of the proteins as a sandwich ranging from $3-$7. The pulled pork goes for $4 each and sometimes they run a BOGO special — that’s right — two pulled pork sandwiches for $4! What a steal.
Barbecue sauces are made in-house featuring a variety of regular, hot, sweet, jerk, and more.
They will be featuring tacos on Tuesdays starting soon – your choice of available proteins that day in tortillas with all of the fixings.
They make freshly squeezed lemonade daily and will have an assortment of sweets on hand by Philadelphia’s Puddins Cake Corner. Upon our visit, they had brownies available.
I have to say, this is an exciting new BBQ establishment in Pennsauken. It is take-out only, so there are no tables and chairs. Call ahead for easy pick-up or order through Uber Eats. Other delivery will be offered at some point. They’re open for lunch and dinner (11AM-9PM) and they accept cash or cards which is awesome. There’s plenty of parking.
I’m both excited and terrified that this is so close to my house. Haha! I really wish them well and will definitely be dropping by again soon.
Slabs and Crabs is located at 1100 Route 73 in Pennsauken (going towards Philadelphia) before you get to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Once you pass the Wawa (on the left), they are directly on the right.
Check them out soon, you won’t be sorry!
Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey. You can find more of her writing on Philly Grub and NewsBreak.