Boaz BBQ: Finger Licking Good

By: Marion Edwards (LCTV)

With blues music and barbecue galore, Boaz BBQ, ‘barbecue on all occasions’, is one of the few black owned barbecue restaurants in Dubuque. Finger licking good, Boaz offers not only a selection of meats but sweets as well. 

“So I said, well, as long as I’m living here, I’m going to do something about it. So, I came across this place and it was the right place, at the right time,” Donald Edwards, owner of Boaz BBQ said.

2020 saw many businesses close their doors as the pandemic has no doubt impacted small business owners in the tri-state area. But one local man in particular took a risk by starting his business in the eye of the storm. 

“It’s kind of slang down a little bit, that’s where I got the name from barbecue on all occasions, kind of like my own way of putting things.”

Beginning in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Edwards took the risk of opening his own barbecue spot. He found inspiration to bring people back in the spirit of having a good time over barbecue and blues music. 

Edwards explains,“My skin complexity don’t matter, you know, it’s just all about food, you know, it don’t matter. Black, white, we all gotta eat.”

After researching information about minority businesses within Dubuque there was a considerable amount of lacking and outdated information.

“I’m not the type of person that feeds into, um, you know, the black versus white thing. I’m just here to barbecue and make food,” Edwards said. “Not really, taking any no’s or closed doors in my face because I’m black…I just become immune to it. So this has got to keep going, no matter what.”

Located on 1689 Elm Street, not only does Boaz have its own little corner in downtown Dubuque , but it’s own secret sauce too. With classic style barbecue, Edwards talks about how one thing can change the way the BBQ tastes.

“There ain’t no shortcuts, no way around it…we’ll use wood only…I choose between Oak and Applewood…it’s different than the meat and the flavors and the taste, with the different types of wood that we burn.”

And good barbecue it is. Chicago born Native, Ricardo, one of Boaz’s night cooks, comes in to help prepare the process of cooking meat for the day. 

“…you gotta come in about two, maybe two, three hours early to get it going. You gotta get the flame going, get the meat,” Ricardo describes, “My job is to cook the meat, take the orders, come back, make sure everything is prepped for the next morning…put all the food up at night.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions as well as tricky weather, Boaz BBQ offers curbside pick up and is offered through services such as GrubHub and Doordash.  

Ricardo says that the amount of meat they cook varies on their business that day. One day it could be slow while other days are busy.

Although COVID-19 restrictions limit the full experience of Boaz BBQ, Donald Edwards and Ricardo hope for people to still stop by for some tasty barbecue.

To learn more, visit Boaz BBQ’s Facebook page at for more information about hours and a closer look at the menu.

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Currently a junior at Loras College. Majoring in Media Studies. Student-reporting for Loras College Television. Originally from Chicago, IL, passionate about creating amazing content.

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