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Best BBQ in Westchester?

Anyone have suggestions for real BBQ? I love Dinosaur in the city. I tried a place in Portchester once and wasn't impressed.

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  1. it's probably Memphis Mae in Croton... but it's not nearly as good as Fette Sau or someplace TRULY great.
    I think it's about as good as Dinosaur though.

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    Memphis Mae's
    173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

    1. Not in Westchester, a little further north, but Big W in Wingdale. The real deal and really good.

      Down in these environs Q - the place you tried in Port Chester that didn't impress you, is about as good as you're going to get. They are extremely inconsistent so don't know if your disappointment was due to hitting it on a bad night or not.

      I haven't eaten at Memphis Mae's in Croton so can't contradict weedy's rec but do a search on it here. I don't recall reading good things about it.

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      Big W's Roadside Bar B Que
      1475 Route 22, Wingdale, NY 12594

      11 Replies
      1. re: laylag

        We love Memphis Mae's, and my husband is quite especially knowledgeable from his years traveling through Texas and the south for work, plus he takes his own barbecuing seriously.

        Just because some people on Chowhound are negative about places--especially when they're fairly flippantly negative--doesn't necessarily mean very many people would feel similarly.

        Now, would I drive 45 minutes to an hour to go to Memphis Mae's? Probably not. But there are very few places I'd do that for.

        Is Big W (which I've yet to visit, but am quite willing to believe is terrific) worth a 90 minute drive? Because it's at least that far for most of the population in Westchester except for those who live near the northeast corner.

        FWIW, I really liked Q in Mt. Kisco--was the food there anything like the place in Port Chester? People are very particular about their BBQ, and some people have less of a "range" of what makes for great BBQ depending on how many different sorts they've had before.

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        Memphis Mae's
        173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

        1. re: Elisa515

          we don't like memphis mae's but to be fair, we haven't been back in three years (since the food was so bad). I'm not sure what you mean by "flippantly negative" but I'm a kcbs certified bbq judge, have eaten bbq all over the US, have a smoker in our backyard and have published articles about bbq and wine.

          Is biq W worth the 90 minute drive? I guess that depends on how much you like bbq but the bbq there is between good and very good and once or twice I've had world class brisket there. Closer to home is holy smoke in mahopac where the food is better than memphis mae (but that's not saying much).

          1. re: vinouspleasure

            Everything at Big W's is good but their brisket is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Only thing I would change is their sauce. It's way too watery. None of the items actually need the sauce so this is a minor complaint.

          2. re: Elisa515

            Elisa, Sorry you seemed to take offense to what I thought was a rather benign comment. All I said was that I'd not read good things about Memphis Mae's on these boards and perhaps the OP might want to take a look. I didn't give the comments veracity nor did I discount them. Just said it as I'd read them. And like with everything on these boards you should read the information and opinions and then make up your own mind. Because you highly recommend them perhaps I'll give it a try when we're over that way.

            As far as Big W, I hope you do get to try it. It's about an hour our house - 56 miles and we live on the Sound Shore so just about as far as you can get from there. We don't often drive up that way just to go there but is we are anywhere in the vicinity we include a plan to stop there.

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            Memphis Mae's
            173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

            1. re: laylag

              laylag,

              I didn't mean anything negative about what you said, and I hope you didn't read it that way. I meant more about the comments you are referring the OP to read. Personally, I always appreciate when someone writes thoughtfully about a restaurant experience; it really bothers me when someone writes "that place was bad 3 years ago" with absolutely no detail and no context for what the person thinks is good food, or what they found bad. That certainly isn't what you wrote.

              In general, I like to read what people do like and unless a place commits a serious food or service crime, I don't find the negative comments helpful. Then, based on whether someone likes places I like, I get a sense of whether to follow their tastes.

              I always wonder what motivates someone to jump into a thread and throw in a negative comment about a place, especially a dated negative impression.

              Now, as for Big W...I will get there someday, maybe as an adjunct to a shopping trip to Danbury. Or maybe a deliberate "field trip" in the spring. I'll even bring Foodsaver bags so I can seal them up at home.

              Again, thanks for the olive branch and opportunity to clarify.

          3. re: laylag

            if you want TRULY great listen to laylag

            1. re: corky

              ummmmmmm shortribs simmered in cabernet or brisket knish

              1. re: chowdom

                thank you warren for bbqing the knish!!

            2. re: laylag

              Memphis mae's is good BBQ, the combos are great. I dont pretend to compare it to the "famous" BBQ in the south or KC, but its tasty IMHO.
              Agreed about Q, very hit or miss and I find it be a bit expensive for what is. No surprise the Mt. Kisco one went out of business.
              Now I have to try Big W!!! Its not that far from me-maybe 1/2 hour

              1. re: AdamD

                I cant imagine that there isn't someone wanting to fill a hole for a BBQ restaurant in Northern Westchester?! Seems like a no brainer.

                1. re: apples

                  Demanding group of diners perhaps. But I agree. A decent, casual kid friendly BBQ joint with reasonable prices would make a killing.

            3. I don't recommend Memphis Mae's. We went once a while back and despite the dearth of bbq in these parts have never once considered returning.

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              Memphis Mae's
              173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

              27 Replies
              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                Definitely not something you crave as a destination. But when you crave some BBQ, what else is there? Its not earth shattering, but its not bad. It decent BBQ take out at Westchester prices.

                Do you have another suggestion for someone in the Pleasantville/Chappaqua/Mt. Kisco area?

                1. re: AdamD

                  You're right, there are no other options in the area. Hopefully someone with great BBQ and aspirations of opening a BBQ restaurant is reading this thread! But for now... I would rather save up my craving and go to Dino.

                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                    Someone should open a real BBQ shack-no frills, just real cue at reasonable prices.

                    1. re: AdamD

                      I think about it from time-to-time. To do it right, you need to cook over wood and given the dense population in westchester, I think it's pretty tough to find a spot. I believe memphis mae's invested in a smoker system that filters a lot of the emissions...similar to what the restaurants in the city do. The best bet may be putnam county a la holy smoke.

                      having said that, I'm a good backyard bbq chef but I'm not sure how that would translate to a restaurant (or shack).

                      1. re: vinouspleasure

                        So Vinous, for those without jet transport to Wingdale and Mahopac, whats the best Westchester spot for ribs (not necessarily brisket or pulled pork)? Umami is well liked here and they have ribs on their menu, qualifying to be my next destination. I've already been to plenty of places in the county and Manhattan that most Chowhounds hold in moderate to low esteem (Ribs on the Run, Q, Roaring Rooster (Now Chickens Gone Wild), Chirping Chicken, Brother Jimmy's) as well as the highly regarded Tom's Place in Florida. Memphis Mae's seems to be a 6 on a 10 scale from what I've read so far, Dinosaur is probably an 8. Didn't get to try Jimmie Lee or Southbound BBQ before they closed, nor the Tony Roma's in Cross County.

                        1. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                          I've only been to the Dinosaur in Harlem. Twice. Overall was not impressed in the least. Service I recall was horrible but I care less about that if the food is great which it was not at all. My brother said the one upstate was better. I am fond of Q in pt. chester for the brisket covered fries which satisfies the craving but it is on the expensive side. Big W's is worth the drive for whatever he has left by the time we get there. FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm more of a chinese bbq rib fan then the suace slathered fall off the bone type. Would rather chew then fall...

                          1. re: cubanat

                            I've never been to any of the Dinosaurs but hear plenty of praise about them. Q is not bad, yes a little expensive for what you get (the sink with the pedal in the dining room is a nice touch though if it's still there). I actually prefer the mega-sauced american ribs, even after consuming numerous chinese spareribs as a kid.

                          2. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                            unfortunately, imo, there is no good q in the county and in retrospect, I understand why people like memphis mae's, it's about the best we have. My wife urges me to think of it as something other than bbq, some sort of new food category like bbq nouveau, and enjoy it on its own terms.

                            the places you name above are not really bbq (though I don't know tom's place). Real bbq is cooked low and slow and, if you're a purist, over wood. If you're looking for something to approximate real bbq my short list would include:

                            dinosaur
                            sette fau
                            rub
                            hill country
                            blue smoke
                            big w

                            all though it's not southern bbq, there's some great bbq in chinatown.

                            1. re: vinouspleasure

                              Vinous, the bbq purist thing is way overated. good food is good food regardless of how long, how low and in what red-neck part of the forest the wood came from. I've eaten pulled pork sous vide with an amazing sauce on it that blew away whay I thught was the best southern recipes I had tasted. Was it bbq? Not according to "the rules" but then again who cares?? For the record imo blue smoke is so mediocre! I would rather eat daisy mae's on a park bench in February! I really like daisy mae's so that came out sort of wrong...

                              1. re: cubanat

                                cubinat, no worries, obviously all that's important is that you think it's good since you're doing the eating. Sounds like you love bbq, maybe you should give judging a try. There's an annual class given in new paltz each year to become certified and there are a number of local contests. enjoy!

                            2. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                              I don't know where you are located, but Mahopac is not that far from Northern Westchester (certainly closer than Wingdale). It's 10 minutes or so from the Taconic in Yorktown. Depending on where you are, it can be closer than Croton.

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                Mahopac is near Yorktown, which I visit once in a blue moon. It is certainly closer than Wingdale--near 22 in Dutchess or something. In fact during the old days I'd take 684 up by Katonah and go west to Yorktown, then further west to Croton. A long, scenic drive. I'm from the lower part of the county but you're right, it's not that big.

                              2. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                                I'm hardly a BBQ expert, but if Dinosaur is an 8 out of 10, I'm scared to uimagine what Memphis Mae's is like. While far from traditional BBQ, Ribs on the Run is better than Dinosaur (at least the chicken is). I had a great time at Dinosaur when I was there last, but the food was pretty much tasteless and dry. Our server was a family member of the owner in Syracuse and he even told me that the food at the Harlem location doesn't hold a candle to the original.

                                -----
                                Memphis Mae's
                                173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

                                1. re: jhopp217

                                  How about you try the place (Memphis Mae's) yourself instead of rating it based on the most negative posters?

                                  1. re: jhopp217

                                    How is Ribs on the Run even considered BBQ? Everything comes out of the oven!!

                                    1. re: pabboy

                                      I have always wondered about that place. Must have some good rub and sauce, a lot of people seem to like it.

                                      1. re: AdamD

                                        Yeah the 10 scale was just my impression after reading numerous reviews here. So the short answer is I agree with jhopp and Elisa. As for Ribs on the Run, first I heard they're not "really BBQ", then "they steam their ribs" now "everything comes out of the oven". Again, I'm not doubting anyone, but why don't they......................grill?

                                        1. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                                          Ribs on the run is not real BBQ by any means. That being said, they make some very good chicken. Their sauce is tangy and sweet. Their ribs are just OK if you ask me, but I do like their chicken. Like I said, I am not a BBQ expert, but I'd take their chicken over any of the BBQ chicken at Dinosaur. I've never even heard of Memphis Mae's. Where is it?

                                          -----
                                          Memphis Mae's
                                          173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                            It's in Croton. I don't visit the Hudson towns much these days, but I'll probably get there eventually and see for myself. Who do you think has good ribs?

                                            1. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                                              I've got to be totally honest. While I like them, I don't love them. This is mostly due to the fact that in NY we are a little BBQ starved. Not sure where you are from, but everyone always raves about Sherwoods in Larchmont and I think they are terrible. I had a friend who lived in Wingdale briefly and I made the massive error of never trying Big W which I hear is excellent. I'm going to have to venture down to the city one of these days and try Blue Smoke or something like that. As of now, the best BBQ I've had are ribs made in my friends backyard smoker.

                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                I'm a lower Westchester guy too so Larchmont is an acceptable distance (whereas for Wingdale I'd need the seaplane and a welcome from Mr. Rourke/Tattoo). I actually walked into Sherwoods one night a few years ago and it was packed with high school and college kids as well as families. As I understand it's more of a popular local hangout than an awesome food spot.

                                                1. re: Proud_2_Be_A_CH_Peep

                                                  For some reason people go gaga for their food, especially the ribs and wings. I think they are average at best. They must be doing something right, because they place is always mobbed.

                                2. re: vinouspleasure

                                  I think you could find space in northern westchester. In my mind, its a freestanding building with big smokers out back under a tin roof-with fans and heaters. Anything close by and you will need a ventilation system-which adds to the cost and makes the food more expensive. Very small kitchen to prep sides. You could even start with one or two meats-pulled pork, chicken, brisket, wings or ribs. Then add more if the business grows. I think a lot of people dismiss BBQ spots because the ribs and brisket are dry.

                                  besides moist smoked meat, the key is the sauce IMHO. How is your secret recipe and is it ketchup, mustard or vinegar based? You will need all three to make it a good spot. Make an addictive sauce and they will keep coming!

                                  1. re: AdamD

                                    There is a place that doesn't meet the OP's original parameters, but it sounds more like the sort of place you describe. It's on Rte. 9, around the Garrison/Cold Spring area; it's somewhere on that long stretch between the northern border of Westchester County (well north of Annsville Circle) and Fishkill. Shack type place set back on the west side of the highway, next to I think a hardware store.

                                    Anyway, has anyone been there? I don't think I've ever read anything about it on Chowhound.

                                    1. re: Elisa515

                                      I was there this summer, we stopped for dinner before Shakespeare on the hudson.I had high hopes but found it overpriced and mediocre. I think the owner is trying to make great q but IMO it's wide of the mark. Holy smoke is a better bet, especially if you like beer.

                                    2. re: AdamD

                                      I usually don't sauce my q but I agree, those are the mainstays and would help. I also love the white sauce native to alabama. Here's a link to the recipe if you want to try it at home:

                                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                          3. The answer to this question WAS South Bound in Valhalla.. Never got the story as to why that place closed.

                            I'm no BBQ expert, but I've traveled a bit and would say for outside of the 914, if you had to try one style: Memphis/Alabama style > Texas style > Eastern Carolina style.

                            BBQ is BBQ when done well. In my opinion, Memphis Mae's > Q. Q's meat are somewhat enjoyable, their ribs leave a lot to be desired.

                            TT

                            -----
                            Memphis Mae's
                            173 S Riverside Ave, Croton On Hudson, NY 10520

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: TuskerTrail

                              The place on Route 9 is in Cold Spring. It is called Texas Round Up.

                              http://www.rounduptxbbq.com/

                              There are pretty extensive reviews and descriptions on Yelp. We've been a few times, only to take out. It is good, not incredible. As a previous posted mentioned, I think the smokemaster is still perfecting his trade. I spoke to him once, he is a really nice guy. Their bbq sauce is great. Brisket and sausage was good. RIbs were a little dry.

                              As of last time I was there, they don't have all their permits, so food is served from a trailer attached to a building. Kind of fun, no thrills. Lots of bikers (not a turn off for me, could be for others).

                              Not even close to my NYC Favorites (which include Hill Country, Fette Sau, or Blue Smoke, depending on what I am looking for). Then again no one will top the pulled pork from The Pit in Raleigh.

                              1. re: MichaelJP

                                Thanks for the report! Sounds like it would be worth stopping there on the way home from Fishkill or Saratoga for takeout.

                            2. Damn thee CH! After two weeks of eating healthy and I now craving some fatty BBQ.
                              Thanks to all of you! :)

                              1. I am not a BBQ expert but the Rib House in Mt. Vernon is good for Westchester even if it is not a road trip kinda place. They have even made eat in space a little more attractive. It used to look like a cafeteria at the race track. Their sauce is not overly sweet. I like it better than a lot of bad BBQ I have had. You can also get jerked chicken and the macn cheese is pretty good.

                                Another place in Mount Vernon which I have not tried is Lincoln BBQ which, despite the name is portuguese and therefore not Southern USA BBQ. I tried to get a menu once but they did not have one that I could take with me (and no web page either). I am sure it is iin Portuguese, but I think I could get the idea. I guess I would expect more churrascuria there but I was wondering if anyone has eaten there.

                                1. I saw a place just up from the Bear Mountain Bridge on 9W but I can’t remember the name. Didn’t go in but logged it for a later visit, anyone have experience they would care to share?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mister_pj

                                    that's the new home of the barnstormer. We ate at the old location about two years ago. They were out of ribs so I had the chicken, my son the pulled pork. Both were very good and I vowed to get back for the ribs but haven't circled back. Definitely worth a try, please report back.

                                    1. re: mister_pj

                                      I have eaten there too. I didn't mention it since it is not in Westchester. I really enjoyed it and the owner was very friendly. I had the pork ribs and I thought they were good. I wrote about it a while back and I said they were not "falling off the bone." or something like that.. Someone else replied that this was actually a good thing. This is why I always preface my remarks with, "I am not an expert."

                                      I seem to recall that we wished the baked beans had been made from scratch.

                                      I found the thread from a while ago.
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665610

                                    2. memphis mae's is mediocre at best. they can't make cornbread to save themselves: it's very dry and falls apart. You could make better cornbread from a box.

                                      Their chicken and salmon are good, but way over-priced for the portion size. Their ribs are tough. Their bbq sauce is pretty good.

                                      Desserts are very over-priced also.

                                      The service, whether pick-up or eat-in, is icy cold and unfriendly. Their attitude is pretty much, "give me the money and get out of my face".

                                      Only as a last ditch, desperate condition would I get food from them.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: topspin400

                                        When did you last go to Memphis Mae's?

                                          1. re: topspin400

                                            All I can say is, your experience there was unusual.

                                        1. re: topspin400

                                          I'm not sure it's fair to start a review of a bbq restaurant with cornbread, particularly when you liked some of the bbq. Despite being overpriced, our family stops by memphis mae's about once every two months for lunch or dinner. We do enjoy the bottlecaps, fried pickles and the cajun style po boys.

                                          the bbq portion of the menu is inconsistent at best: the pulled pork runs from good to very good, the chicken runs from edible to very good.the brisket runs from terrible to edible, the ribs imo are the only consistent item on the menu, they are consistently bad. I also think the bun overwhelms the bbq sandwiches and I can't think of another bbq restaurant that puts so little meat on their sandwiches.

                                          I, like other reviewers, have some skepticism around whether the food is always smoked or if they occasionally take short cuts in the kitchen. I have asked our waiter a couple of times if the chicken or brisket on a particular night is smoked and the answer is always 'yes'.

                                          Looking at this old thread, I realized I never got back to roundup, the bbq restaurant near cold spring. Searching for bbq in westchester has become less of an imperative for me as the explosion of bbq restaurants in nyc has resulted in the availability of great bbq. And, as I've written in other threads, if I need a pork fix, Elita's in Ossining pernil over rice with plantains and a hot, garlicky sauce for $5 trumps memphis mae's every time.

                                          1. re: vinouspleasure

                                            it's the most obvious deficiency since EVERY bbq place serves cornbread. Mempis Maes is the worst I've ever had by far. As soon as you're done struggling to take off the plastic wrap, it falls apart into crumbs.

                                            Their attitude for eat in or pick up is atrocious: it's like "give me your money and get out of here". Plus, everything is overpriced.

                                            I love BBQ and live in the neighborhood. I go to Memphis Mae's maybe twice a year when I'm really hard up for BBQ. Bob-B-Que and Ribs on the Run are way better.

                                            1. re: topspin400

                                              I dunno, we've never experienced poor service there. our experience with the cornbread is that like the bbq, it's inconsistent, sometimes good, sometimes bone dry. I'm much more likely to look at how hush puppies are prepared at a bbq restaurant and they do a pretty good job there.

                                              have you been up to holy smoke? I haven't been for years but thought the bbq was better than mm.

                                              1. re: vinouspleasure

                                                Was at Holy Smoke a few weeks ago. BBQ is still good. I love the smoked chorizo - delicious and different.

                                                1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                  Holy smokes chorizo is excellent, the only reason I go there and all though not nearly my favorite place, holy smoke is what a mile away from Bob-B-Que and it is better.

                                              2. re: topspin400

                                                Oh, you're talking about take out. We only eat at the restaurant. No plastic on the cornbread when there.

                                                Bob-B-Que in Shrub Oak, I agree, is terrific. Have only had sandwiches from there, but I make sure to stop by whenever in the area.

                                            1. D & A Smokehouse on Central Ave in Scarsdale is really good. Try the Burnt Ends if available but everything that they make is awesome.

                                              1. First post in this thread. I'm also looking for true bbq in Westchester. And I hate to say it, but I also have to echo the thumbs down on Memphis Mae's in Croton - just not very good ... gave it more than one try. I also agree that Q in Port Chester is very inconsistent, but if you hit it on a good night, it's very good. There is a new place that opened on Central Ave in Scarsdale, DNA Smokehouse, that I haven't tried yet. Far as the city is concerned, Bluesmoke is the best I've had there followed by Hill Country. Daisy Mae's isn't bad either. Also, Williamsburg has Fette Sau but their menu changes and you don't know whether they're going to have what you want that day until you show up - also long lines. Nearby in Williamsburg is Mabel's Smokehouse which is as close to consistenly excellent as I've had with the possble exception of Smokin Al's in Massapequa on LI.

                                                There is also a place called Bobby Q's in Westport CT that is decent. Still waiting for one in Westchester.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: eldogg

                                                  Have you tried Bobby-Q (I think I spelled that right) in Shrub Oak?

                                                  1. re: Elisa515

                                                    it's called Bob-B-Q. it's fantastic. one of the best in the area.

                                                    1. re: topspin400

                                                      I make sure to stop by there whenever I'm in the area. Great sandwiches (I've only been there at lunch time)!

                                                      1. re: Elisa515

                                                        Thanks for the tip. Will try it!

                                                  2. re: eldogg

                                                    A little north of Westchester but if you are willing to go to Brooklyn, go to Big W's in Wingdale. Excellent.

                                                      1. re: topspin400

                                                        Unless there have been some recent and drastic changes...No way...something had to have been wrong with your order!

                                                        1. re: topspin400

                                                          If I'm going to go for bbq, I'm not going to waste calories on chicken! Love the brisket and pulled pork. And the mac and cheese...mmmmm.

                                                          1. re: valerie

                                                            Big W's chicken is one the the best and most jucy I have ever had so open your mind to it, Big W is king as far as BBQ is concerned, B-B-Q's in shrub oak is nothing special imo, good for locals, not worth traveling to. The place in cold spring is great too...texas something or other

                                                            1. re: ryanallday

                                                              Yes the chicken is awesome but everything else is as well.

                                                        2. re: valerie

                                                          His brisket is amazing, the only better brisket I've had in ny is at mighty Quinn's in the village