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Maybe you missed out on Independence Day barbecues. Maybe because July 4th landed on a Thursday and you had to work on Friday, or you didn’t receive an invite to a weekend grillfest. We feel you.
But all is not lost. There are more opportunities to get BBQ in your system for the remainder of the summer if you don’t happen to have your own grill to make it happen.
Now here’s the thing—BBQ had always been a deeply personal subject and EVERYONE has an opinion on it. So, let’s make this an open thread where we all weigh in on our favorite places. Because at the end of the day, the goal is getting grilled meats, veggies, and everything else in between in your gut—and that’s a win-win situation.
That said, here are some fab places around the country recommended by readers:
Airport Food / BBQ / AUS / MEM / RDU / Airports / Restaurants / Food Travel / → All Tags
We want to go to this sandwich...
No one wants to spend the long holiday weekend at the airport, but with these barbeque options it won’t be that bad. Ribs, brisket, and pulled pork will make it all better when you are forced to spend Memorial Day Weekend at the airport. Here’s three picks that are finger lickin’ good:
Salt Lick Bar-B-Que - AUS
It doesn’t take a true foodie expert to tell you that Texas has some pretty decent barbeque options, so it was no surprise to find Salt Lick Bar-B-Que within the West Food Court at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. We’ve been on a couple of occasions, and always make extra time before our flight to grab a brisket sandwich. Smoked sausage and plenty of house made sauce are always good options, and they even throw in a spongy hunk of bread to sop it all up. Best of all they sell the sauce to go, so you can bring a bottle to the family cookout and be a hero.
Interstate Bar-B-Que and Corky's BBQ – MEM
There’s two awesome options from which to choose at Memphis International Airport, and we honestly cannot pick just one—so go ahead and try both. Up first is Corky’s near Gate A23. Pulled pork, ribs, and of course baked beans are all solid picks, but just make sure you save some room for option number two. Over in the Concourse B Rotunda is Interstate Bar-B-Que, and they’ve got whatever you didn’t get to try back at Corky’s. Ribs, brisket, and other pork parts are all available in all their smoky and saucy goodness. Just stock up on napkins—and antacid—before you complete your double dip of BBQ while killing your layover in MEM.
Continental Airlines / BBQ / Food / Food Travel / Airline News / → All Tags
Continental Airlines is true to their Texas roots, and they do so by bringing their own custom barbecue pit to events and festivals around the country. Thanks to the folks at BBQ Pits by Klose the airline has their very own custom Boeing 777. It’s a 1:10 scale of one of the airline’s wide body jets, and it weighs almost 40,000 pounds including its trailer. The wings are fiberglass though, so no using them as a flat top grill—but they can probably hold a beer or two.
This Continental creation has been around since 1999 and has made appearances at numerous cook-offs and has even made it to the Boeing facility in Washington. Supposedly this thing cost about $200,000 to construct, so they’re probably pretty eager to show it off.
Bizarre Foods / Food Travel / Spas / BBQ / → All Tags
This week's Bizarre Foods saw host Andrew Zimmern visiting the weirder side of Seoul, South Korea, where the emphasis was on undercooked foods – and by undercooked, we mean still moving.
We're fans of fried octopus, but not when it's cooked just to the point that the tentacles are still squirming around as you pick them up with chopsticks. And no, we're not so comforted by the knowledge that dipping them in sesame oil helps stop the suckers from gripping onto the inside of your mouth. Ack! Once you mention a food item "gripping onto the inside of your mouth," we've pretty much lost our appetite.
The same goes for mudfish, which sound pretty unappetizing already, and don't get any more so when we see they're tossed into the soup still flipping around. We like to eat after the food has lost all chance of jumping out of the bowl.
But one place we were taken with was Zimmern's stop at a charcoal BBQ/sauna. Yes, you can work up an appetite while relaxing inside a steam room, and then order up a tableful of BBQ meats – all barely cooked of course. Now that's more like it. How long before a BBQ/sauna opens in New York?
· South Korea Travel Guide [Travel Channel]
· Lounging In The Jjimjilbang Is As Cool As It Sounds [Jaunted]
· Drinking Dirt Soup and Banana Beer in Tanzania [Jaunted]
[Photo: Travel Channel]
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / Lower East Side / → All Tags
New York's dizzying pace of restaurant openings has slowed down a little in the past few months, but the one thing that hasn't stopped coming is all these BBQ places. Seriously, it seems like New York has gone from one BBQ joint to 40 in the past five years. Not that we're complaining.
The latest to hit the scene is Marfa, named for a small town in southwest Texas. Unlike many of the foodie-approved NYC BBQ joints that try to class-up the BBQ scene, Marfa is more concerned with reeling in as many as drunken LES hipsters as possible, and it does just that with Lone Star beer, "Marfaritas" (spicy thai chili + pink grapefruit + tequila), and "Marfa bites," small plates of fried fare like mini-corn dogs and macaroni and cheese spoons.
But despite the scene-iness, BBQ purists have plenty to get excited about here as well, from dry rub baby back ribs to "shells on" BBQ shrimp. Marfa might not feel like a genuine Texas eatery, but it tastes pretty damn close.
[Photo: Wade From Oklahoma]
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / Jazz / → All Tags
Of all the trendy NYC BBQ spots, Blue Smoke probably meets the most skepticism from 'cue purists. There's the uppity Gramercy location, the swank jazz club downstairs, the specialty cocktails (the Blue Smoke martini is Stoli vodka spiked with blue cheese-stuffed olives), and the tendency to offer very un-BBQ items like foie gras and deviled eggs. To be sure, this is not a down-home BBQ joint in Manhattan; this is Manhattan-style BBQ.
But mostly what drives purists crazy about Blue Smoke is that they refuse to settle on just one or even two regional BBQ styles. Their signature ribs come in saucy Kansas City style, smoky salt-and-pepper Texan, and sweet baby back a la Memphis. On top of that they have the audacity to offer Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis toasted ravioli and even traditional Southern fried chicken.
The kicker for the nay-sayers is that Blue Smoke somehow does it all well, hitting the right notes on each region's style (if we had to pick, the peppery Texas ribs take the cake). Plus you can even order BBQ downstairs at the Jazz Standard, where New York avant garde legends like Rashid Ali and Dave Douglas play regularly.
Nope, we're not in Kansas City anymore, but as far as Manhattan BBQ goes, Blue Smoke is the real deal.
[Photo: Blue Smoke]
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / Times Square / → All Tags
Daisy May's is probably the most over-covered of all the NYC BBQ joints, but even though Oprah, Rachel Ray and the Today Show have already visited chef Adam Perry Lang's Hell's Kitchen cafeteria, no serious Barbecue lover could leave this one off the list.
Leaving aside the food for a moment, Daisy May's has one of our favorite restaurant creation stories. A few years back, a venerable institution called the Penthouse Club decided to open an establishment in the Times Square West area. But this is the new Times Square, not the old one, so that meant the new strip club had to include a ritzy steakhouse, and of course a hot young chef.
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / Williamsburg / → All Tags
The bizarre-but-tasty NYC BBQ trend isn't just for outer borough dives and trendy Manhattan celeb faves. One of the city's most celebrated new-ish BBQ joints is Fette Sau, a giant party scene of a restaurant set in an old factory space on Williamsburg's crowded Metropolitan Avenue.
There's something that screams not-genuine-BBQ when you walk into Fette Sau on a weekend evening and see hundreds of drunk 20-something hipsters spread out on picnic-style benches, downing flights of whiskey and shouting each other down while they impatiently await their orders. Despite the faux-rustic décor, you'd never think you were anywhere but Williamsburg.
But whether this is your kind of scene of not, the grub comes through in a big (and most-definitely-genuine-BBQ) kind of way. Smoked ribs fall off the bone, juicy pork belly melts in your mouth, and meals are finished with perfect pickles trucked in from Lower East Side legend Gus' Pickles.
Photo: [Gandhu & Sarah]
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / → All Tags
We're not so keen on any restaurant that promises to specialize in two cuisines at the same place. Great pizza and fried chicken? Doubtful. Chinese and Cuban? No thank you. But we'll make an exception for any combo that is so bizarre, it just might be good. That's the case with the Arkansas/Cajun grub at East Village eatery Mara's Homemade.
The Cajun part actually came first--Louisiana shrimp boil, fried okra, crawfish cheesecake and the like--but of course it's the BBQ we get most excited about. You see a lot of Texas BBQ around these parts, and some Carolina joints as well, but we know of no other Arkansas BBQ place in New York.
Mara's describes Arkansas style as a blend of Memphis and Texas, which means spicy rubbed meats smoked on-site over hickory wood and topped with a tangy sauce. Still confused? You can always check out the BBQ Song for full definitions.
All we know for sure is that Mara's unnecessarily giant platters of smoked brisket and baby back ribs are up there with the best you can find anywhere in the Big Apple.
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / → All Tags
Seriously, what's up with NYC BBQ? If these things descend on New York any quicker they're going to put Gray's Papaya and Ray's Pizza out of business.
The latest is Billy Sunday's, which opened last week in the just-starting-to-gentrify neighborhood of Prospect-Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn. An early stake-out reports the place is pretty legit, with heaping sandwiches of hickory-smoked beef and pork, topped with the requisite sauerkraut and traditional Kansas City molasses or, getting a little crazier, hot blueberry chili. The sides are well in order too—Memphis baked beans, dirty rice, fried mac 'n cheese and the like.
The down-home cuisine is matched with a predictably chilled out Brooklyn vibe, although the commenterati are already aflutter about one decidedly Manhattan import--$7 beer, possibly a first for this side of Prospect Park.
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / Al Roker / → All Tags
We've been talking smack about New York's upscale BBQ trend, as we're more into the southern-style hole-in-the-walls than the BBQ-for-hipsters hotspots. But the truth is, some of these places are actually worth it. OK, at least one is.
Hill Country BBQ is a relative newcomer with a trendy Flatiron District location, a crowded live music lineup, and frequent Al Roker sightings. So we were rightfully a little suspicious this might not be the real deal.
But Hill Country lives up to the hype. The Texas-style pork ribs are spot-on and spicy, the moist brisket is tender and soft, and one of the most important BBQ aspects—the sides—are pretty perfect as well. With gooey mac and cheese, hot red chili, and smoky chipotle deviled eggs, even vegetarians leave Hill Country happy—and that's pretty solid praise for a traditional Texas BBQ joint.
Photo: [Hill Country]
NYC BBQ / Restaurants / Food Travel / BBQ / → All Tags
As NYC BBQ goes, we get more excited about outer borough hole-in-the-walls than trendy Manhattan eateries. No offense to trendy Manhattan eateries, they just seem like bizarre settings to eat something as messy as BBQ ribs.
The Smoke Joint, in Brooklyn's pretty-trendy Fort Greene neighborhood, falls somewhere in between. It's definitely not a roadside 'cue shack, but it does bring a chilled-out atmosphere and traditional BBQ prices.