Bomb Bomb’s Barbecue Sauce and Rub 

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Photo by Greg Bezanis

When Frank and Deb Barbato took over Bomb Bomb BBQ Grill and Italian Restaurant, 1026 Wolf St., in the 1990s, they decided to add a southern twist to couple with their Italian cuisine. Instead of being just another run-of-the-mill Philly barbecue spot, the pair wanted to take an award-winning approach to their dishes, so they packed their bags and headed south to the Williamsburg, Va. area. 

The learning vacation served as the foundation to a success story that has included their restaurant earning two first-place distinctions for Best Ribs at the annual Stephen Starr-Garry Maddox Barbecue Challenge, which is held every summer at Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way. A Zagat survey also rated the Lower Moyamensing establishment one of Philly’s top-five barbecue restaurants. 

Deb and Frank continue to share the cooking responsibilities with longtime employees and fellow chefs Fred Tupper and Gordon Stokes. Frank Jr., Frank and Deb’s son, runs the Glassboro. N.J., location. While some chefs might keep their award-winning recipes top secret, the couple has decided to share the Barbecue Sauce and Rub recipes that make their ribs and chicken taste so good.

 Barbecue Sauce 


12 ounces of ketchup 

4 ounces of bacon, chopped and cooked 

4 ounces of onion, minced 

1 ounce of smoked paprika 

4 ounces of honey 

2 ounces of dry mesquite barbecue seasoning 

2 ounces of spicy mustard 

6 ounces of bourbon 

2 ounces of liquid smoke 

Black pepper and hot sauce, to taste 


Combine all of the ingredients together. Can be used for grilled ribs or chicken. 

Deb’s Rub 


2 cups of garlic powder 

2 cups of onion powder 

2 ounces of smoked sea salt 

1 tablespoon of black

1/2 cup of brown sugar 

1 cup of mesquite seasoning 

2 tablespoons of chili powder 

2 tablespoons of paprika. 


Combine all of the ingredients together. 

Bomb Bomb BBQ Grill and Italian Restaurant

Owners: Deb and Frank Barbato 

Opened since 1951 

1026 Wolf St.


Contact the South Philly Review at

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