BBQ in Saratoga Springs, NY and Manchester, NH

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!



3 Responses to “BBQ in Saratoga Springs, NY and Manchester, NH”

  1. October 20, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    saratoga springs! My stars, are you secretly an upstate new yorker? My mother lived in cooperstown for several years, wish I’d known there was good barbecue to be had so close by.

  2. admin
    October 20, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    Sara, I did my undergrad study at Cornell and my graduate work at UVM, so I always enjoy the chance to go back to that part of the world. Not sure that BBQ is worth a special trip, but not bad for what it is.

  3. September 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Have to be honest. I have never had good BBQ at PJ’s :-(. I am a BBQ fanatic and lived in Memphis for many years. I am kinda an expert and what PJ’s does is grill not BBQ. BBQ means smoking the meats using wood. PJ’s just puts everything over a charcoal grill, so they grill.

    I thought the food was sub par, very small portions and expensive. My vote for best real BBQ goes hands down to Memphis Smoke House on Lake Avenue also in Saratoga Springs. The difference between the two are like night and day. I highly recommend if you want real southern barbecue, go to Memphis Smoke House instead. PJ’s did have a good soda they make though.

Leave a Reply