Billy Sims Barbecue Expands in Michigan

arbecue lovers no longer have to wait for the Fourth of July to get their grub on. Now they can just head over to Billy Sims Barbecue for some summertime favorites. Billy Sims Barbecue, a fast casual style restaurant started by Billy Sims, former Lions running back in the '80s and Heisman Trophy winner, was first opened in Oklahoma, where Sims played college ball.

The "it's not just BBQ, it's Boomer-Q" restaurant chain is now sweeping across Metro Detroit with its latest addition, a location in Troy, which opened in early April, at 1977 W. South Blvd. near Crooks Road. Other locations are in Southfield and Lincoln Park.

According to Troy Manager Mike Schmibt, what makes this barbecue spot so popular is that there aren't many fast casual barbecue chains in Michigan and the style of barbecuing is unique.

"We offer a true Kansas City style barbecue, slow smoked with a dry rub over pecan wood. We don’t put any sauce on anything. We leave that up to the customer," says Schmibt. "We slow smoke our pork and brisket for 12-13 hours and our ribs for about 5-6 hours."

There are a variety of meat options at Billy Sims that will fit your barbecue needs. Customers can choose to enjoy chopped or sliced brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, bologna, hot links, polish sausages, chicken or turkey.


According to the restaurant website, Billy Sims himself said that we could experience "some of the tastiest and most tender brisket and ribs around." So I took my family to try this Kansas City barbecue style.

As soon as you walk through the door you are overwhelmed, in a good way, with the sweet smell of barbecue or "Boomer-Q" as Sims likes to say. The restaurant has a football theme complete with official Lions' colors, blue and silver, painted walls and photos of Sims in action. There are also two televisions, one closest to the booths and the other by the tables, so sports fans can eat and watch the game.

Like all fast food restaurants, there aren’t any waiters and the menu is on display behind the counter. The menu has a fun football theme, too. If you are a sports fan, you will recognize the names of some meals like "The Heisman," which is chopped brisket or pulled pork, bologna and a hot link, "The Half Back," which is a half rack of ribs, and smoked turkey breast called the "Turnover Turkey."

The dinners come with two "sideliners" or sides which is anything from potato salad, chips, chili with sliced brisket inside and "Mini Huskers," which is corn on the cob to name a few. They also have "Sooner" salads, which came from Sims' signature phrase "Boomer Sooner." They even have a kids' menu.

I tried the two-meat combo plate called "1980" which most likely stands for the year Sims was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. I chose the chopped brisket and chicken. My fiancé tried the four-meat combo called "The Rookie." He had sliced brisket, pulled pork, two ribs and a polish sausage. The combos came with two sides, "Okie" Toast, a pepper, red onions and a pickle. Our little one had the grilled cheese and some of my chicken.

Sims was right. We experienced some of the tastiest and most tender brisket and ribs around. But for me, the chicken takes the cake. The chicken was so juicy and tender that my 1-year-old, who only has six teeth, did a little dance in her high chair as she chewed with ease. Now that's tender.

The Troy location also has Billy Sims souvenirs. Fans can purchase signed footballs and paintings, T-shirts, mini and full size helmets and even a “Bloomin' Billy" Afro Chia pet.

So if you would like to go to a barbecue restaurant without the loud atmosphere or having to wait for your food, try this fast casual restaurant.

Billy Sims Barbecue has a total of 34 locations in Oklahoma, Missouri and Michigan.

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