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Is there a top barbecue in the Capital Region?

I did a search of this Board and not much came up for barbecue. Found this post on Dinosaur:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/746196

I recall reading about PJ's so there must be another thread re: barbecue, maybe on the General Tristate Archive Board.

Is there a top barbecue in the Capital Region? One that would satisfy someone who's had barbecue in Memphis, Nashville, N. Carolina or Texas? Or is it like Tex/Mex and bagels/bialys, better left to the region or city that does it best?

PS Anyone been to Franklin Barbecue in Austin?

http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/sl...

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  1. I know this subject has hit this board before, but I have no clue where the thread is. Only definitive comment I could make is skip PJ's. I think they are vastly over-rated, and nowhere near the requirements of somebody who has had Texas, Memphis or St. Louis BBQ.

    4 Replies
    1. re: trakman

      trakman, been to PJ's. Had the chicken and it was nothing special. Haven't tried the salmon yet.

      Other hounds will have to chime in re: the REAL barbecue - pig, beef, etc.

      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        Looks like I'll be heading to Coeymans (South of Albany) to check out Yanni's Too barbecue chicken. Placed #1 for chicken at the Troy Pig Out.

        http://yannisrestaurants.com/yanniawa...

        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          I'm not a big fan of BBQ chicken, but I had some last night at The Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake and it was real good. They have a BBQ on Wednesday and Saturday during the summer... no more this year. However, if you ever go to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, this is only another fifteen minutes up the road.

        2. re: financialdistrictresident

          A recent post from another thread (TOP NY Capital Region - Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy) re: PJ's:

          So appropriate of you to post that thread...I knew I was forgetting something! I finally went to PJ's BBQ in Saratoga and it was really good. I believe I got the trifecta combo which was 2 ribs (awesome), pulled pork (very good) and a quarter chicken (also very good). I also gobbled a quick cheeseburger from the little shack just outside the back entrance of the flat track...delectable in deed! And I was fortunate enough to be at the track on a Sunday when they offer WHITE (NE) CLAM CHOWDER in addition to their famous RED (Manhattan) Clam Chowder. It was amazing, the only problem is: I'm still craving the RED! I guess that will have to wait until Summer 2012...Bon appetite my New York brethren.

          Permalink | Reply

          By netmover on Sep 17, 2011 07:32AM

      2. I believe that preferences in BBQ are about as varied as favorites for pizza. Fortunately, there are many fewer establishments specializing in BBQ than there are claiming notoriety for their pizza.

        If you were to believe the last Metroland Magazine poll, the "Best BBQ" was at:

        1. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

        2. Capital Q

        3. PJ's BBQ

        If you were truly interested in the competitive nature of BBQ than you missed your chance to sample such efforts at the fourth annual Troy Pig Out this past July 16 & 17. The results were provided in the Table Hopping Blog.

        http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehoppi...

        There really are only a little over a dozen places in the Capital region that truly specialize in BBQ. I think you folks should take on the challenge to start visiting these places and offer your own opinion not only on how they compare with each other, but also on how they stand up against places in Memphis, Nashville, N. Carolina, St. Louis or Texas.

        Here's a list to get you started.

        Pj's Saratoga Style Bar-B-Q, 112 S Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Memphis Smoke House, 588 Lake Ave Rt 29, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Giffy's Bar-B-Q, 1739 Rte 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065

        Pig Pit BBQ, 1 Niver St, Cohoes, NY 12047

        Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 377 River St, Troy, NY 12180

        Brunswick Barbecue & Brew, 3925 State Hwy 2, Troy, NY 12180

        Uncle Marty's Adirondack Grill, 2930 Rt 43, Averill Park, NY 12018

        Otis & Oliver's Restaurant and Pub, 979 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham, NY 12110

        Capital Q Smokehouse, 329 Ontario St, Albany, NY 12208

        Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, 1557 Central Ave, Colonie, NY 12205

        Rubbin Butts Bar-B-Q, 1599 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12309

        LT's Grill, 2305 Nott St E, Schenectady, NY 12309

        Wagon Train Bbq, 671 Mariaville Rd, Schenectady, NY 12306

        Chuck Wagon Diner, 653 Western Tpke, Duanesburg, NY 12056

        -----
        LT 'S Grill
        2305 Nott St E, Schenectady, NY 12309

        Giffy's Bar-B-Q
        1739 Route 9, Clifton Park, NY

        Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill
        1557 Central Ave, Albany, NY 12205

        Pj's Saratoga Style Bar-B-Q
        112 S Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Otis & Oliver's Resturant & Pub
        979 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham, NY 12110

        Capital Q Smokehouse
        329 Ontario St, Albany, NY 12208

        Brunswick Bbq and Brew
        3925 State Highway 2, Troy, NY 12180

        Uncle Marty's
        2930 Ny Highway 43, Averill Park, NY 12018

        Pig Pit Bbq
        1 Niver St, Cohoes, NY 12047

        Pj's Saratoga Style Bar-B-Q
        112 S Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Memphis Smoke House
        588 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

        Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
        377 River St, Troy, NY 12180

        Rubbin Butts Bar-B-Q
        1599 Union St, Schenectady, NY 12309

        Wagon Train Bbq
        671 Mariaville Rd, Schenectady, NY 12306

        Chuck Wagon Diner
        653 Western Turnpike, Duanesburg, NY 12056

        19 Replies
        1. re: Roger K

          Thanks, Roger K. I'll have to pass the torch on this one since I only eat poultry and fish :)

          I was talking to someone who relocated here from Austin and they were missing barbecue and Tex/Mex . . .

          Look forward to reading the posts.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            What you especially cannot get in the Cap District is TX-style brisket like in the Austin- Hill Country-San Antonio area. It's always dry and tasteless around here.

            1. re: gerchak198

              Went to PJ's today to check out the new digs and was pleasantly surprised. Especially by the brisket. I've been to Austin/Lockhart/hill country and PJ's brisket is pretty legit! Make sure to order the fatty end (of course). Also had the Memphis ribs and their dry rub was tasty and the ribs were moist and tender with a pink smoke ring. The chicken is hit or miss, mostly miss because often we find it a bit dry (as it was today).

              As someone who regularly craves real TX brisket, I'd go back to PJ's for it in a heartbeat!

                1. re: bdegregory

                  Wow. PJ's BBQSA is really improved this year. I haver always liked the chicken but, having been to the great places of TN, TX, and MO, I didn't expect what I got yesterday. Fabulous pink-ringed ribs and brisket. The brisket was better than Dinosaur!

                  1. re: bdegregory

                    bdegregory, thanks for the report. I haven't been yet this year. Too bad for me because I'd get the chicken . . .Did you notice if they had fish? Maybe salmon?

              1. re: Roger K

                PJ's has some construction going on. Maybe in preparation for opening year round?

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Yes, most definitely.
                  btw, did you read Cheryl Clark's review of Mango 29 Deli in today's T.U.? A friend was speaking highly of it as we drove by it on our way back from the Cambridge Hotel Thursday. I was going to post something about it on CH but Cheryl at least has first-hand experience and all the particulars about the owners.

                  http://www.timesunion.com/living/arti...

                  I think someone was seeking a good deli on CH a few months ago.

                  -----
                  Mango 29 Deli
                  1023 Rte 29, Schuylerville, NY 12871

                  1. re: Roger K

                    Thanks, Roger K.

                    Is PJ's open? I need to drive by and see how their reno for opening year round is going . . .

                    Also need to do a taste test. Someone posted they have salmon. I've tried their chicken and it was just okay.

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        Jaylhorner wakes up much earlier than I do. :-) and provides accurate information. There are plenty of pictures of the ongoing renos on their website http://www.pjsbarbq.com/PJs-BAR-B-QSA... but still no projected re-opening date other than Spring. Their website also makes it apparent that they are in the process of franchising across the US.

                        I don't think I or my wife have ever tried salmon there, so I can't give an honest opinion.

                        Glad to see you're active again on CH. Missed reading your comments for awhile recently.

                        1. re: Roger K

                          Interesting . . .I don't usually think of barbecue and franchising together . . .

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            A quick Google search turns up lots of options, but you have to smile at a name like this: http://oinkadoodlemoo.com/OinkADoodle...

                            1. re: Roger K

                              I might have to change my if it quacks, clucks or swims I'll eat it . . . to "doodle."

                              I wonder if there are plans for an oinkadoodlemoo in the Capital District?

                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Dinosaur, KC Masterpiece, and Dreamland Inn are just 3 that come to mind. I am sure there are dozens more.

                    1. re: Roger K

                      Roger K, did you go to the Troy Pig Out? Any recs?

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        No, FDR, didn't make it to the Troy Pig Out. Working on refinishing the deck and rewarded ourselves with pizza from The Fountain instead. ;>)

                    2. Big W's in Wingdale. Dutchess county. Route 22 in Wingdale. South of the Capitol area. Awesome

                      1. PJ's is OK but could never be compared to places in Memphis,North Carolina,or Texas

                        1. We were visiting family in the Albany area over the weekend. I picked up the Deluxe Family pack at Dinosaur on Friday afternoon. For $65, the meal included a whole chicken, a full rack of ribs, a pound of brisket, 6 pieces of cornbread, and three sides (we choose mac and cheese, potato salad, and fried rice) as well as a bottle of bbq sauce. I am not going top argue with anyone about how "authentic" the food is or defend myself for having an opinion about bbq without being from Memphis, Texas, KC, or St. Louis. I will say this, it was a GREAT value for $65, and the food was all delicious. I would highly recommend this place and hope to dine in next time rather than get takeout.

                          1. I am actually ashamed of BBQ in general in this area. There is ZERO reason, or any taste justification for $23.50 rack of ribs (http://www.pjsbarbq.com/pdfs/PJs-Barb...), and I'm not just picking on PJ's, $24.95 at dinosaur (http://www.dinosaurbarbque.com/locati...).

                            Think about it, BBQ started in America (but originated in China, but thats another story all together) because all the tough, almost inedible portions of swine and cow were given to the slaves. The only way you could eat them was by hours upon hours of slow-cooking to melt the connective tissues, fat etc. out of them.

                            So, with pork prices being the way they are, even if I bought a fairly expensive rack of pork baby-back ribs @ $4.50/lb, a rack of ribs costs $12-$15, retail prices. I am more than sure that your price would drop to $1.5-$2.00/lb buying in bulk. I am sure fuel prices (fruit-bearing tree woods, charcoal, etc) add to it, but does that justify the price?
                            An experienced pitmaster can oversee hundreds of pounds of pork shoulder, brisket, ribs, chicken etc. There isn't a reason why BBQ is now as expensive as my porterhouse steak. I have been all around the country, and eaten pretty much every style BBQ there is, and down South, BBQ is more of a love, a passion, then it is here. I find that people whom have traveled the country and eaten at different BBQ locations generally agree on the sorry shape of BBQ in the NE. There are exceptions, of course, but mostly, I find that BBQ is too much of a "restaurant" food up here, and not "a cheap labor of love", if that makes sense.

                            I realize that operating costs/location/traffic considerations are different here, but I have serious problems with paying $24 rack of ribs, $9 pulled pork sandwiches, etc. Its not that I can't afford it, its just that I refuse to pay those prices for something inherently and historically, cheap. I make my BBQ sauce, a gallon at a time, and all my spices, base, and ancillary ingredients cost me $8/gallon. If I sold it, it wouldn't be $10/12oz, maybe $3-5/12oz bottle.

                            I know, people are looking at my somewhat rant and saying "well, why don't you open your own cheap BBQ?". I am seriously considering it. My father passed away unexpectedly, and now I have some money to invest in the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, I would MUCH rather have my Father, but he loved BBQ, and I've been making it most of my life (even though I grew up in Albany), and he loved eating my food. So, maybe I will, and I already have a business plan drawn up and ready to go. I just need to know more about the business end of things, permits, laws, etc.

                            P.S. If anyone has any information about this, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bwinter714

                              bwinter714, thanks for sharing your thoughts re: barbecue. Sorry about your father.

                              Did you go to the Troy pig out?

                              PS There is probably a trade assn.for restaurants and NYS's web site has a page on starting a business in NY.