Chinese and Vietnamese tend to be my fall-back foods on the road, but sometimes I’m a sucker for BBQ. However you want to write it (barbeque, Bar-B-Q, barbecue, Bar-B-Que, etc.), it’s quick, smoky and meaty goodness. I can’t say that I prefer any region’s BBQ over another’s, as I really appreciate all the differences. What I do like is for my meat to be tender, and for sauce with some bite to it. Last month, I had a chance to try a couple of favorite places in the northeast.
Whenever I’m lucky enough to drive into Saratoga Springs from the south on a summer’s day, I know to open my window and enjoy the sweet smell of PJ’s Bar-B-Q. There’s generally a line of people outside waiting to order, listening to oldies and checking the menu board to be sure of what they want. I’ve been there a few times, and on this particular trip I ordered the “Trifecta Sampler” (Saratoga’s a horse town, in case you don’t know) so I could sample a quarter chicken and a quarter pound of ribs ($11.25 for the meat, plus $3.10 for the two sides). Nothing fancy, but they’re cooked over charcoal in massive amounts, which might explain why you can smell it from well down the road.
A couple of weeks later, I was in Manchester, NH where someone recommended I try City Flame Smoke House. Here I ordered the Pulled Pork plate ($9.50). The pork shoulder is slow smoked over hickory wood for 16 hours. Nice and tender. In addition to BBQ beans and corn bread (not too sweet, thankfully), I really liked my side of roasted red peppers salad. Not something I typically see on the menu, and a nice complement to the other items!