New Hampshire: Rock’n Ribfest (Pulled Pork, Sandwiches, etc.)

1065925

Day two of New England week brings us the rest (non-rib portion) of New Hampshire’s awesome Ribfest; we already know that the festival serves up some pretty darn good ribs, but what about some of their other BBQ concoctions?

This review will deal mainly with Pulled Pork; in my opinion, Pulled Pork is one of the big hit or misses in BBQ as not only does the pork need to be tender and finely shredded, but the choice of sauce has to be absolutely right (a part where many places just don’t succeed).

VENDOR ONE: Jack’s Down Home Barbecue 

20150620_165415

My first experience with Jack’s was when I was offered a sample on my way to buy a rack of ribs from Texas Smokehouse; that first bite made me go and order a whole sandwich from Jack’s later in the day, because it only took me one bite to know I had found a winner.

20150620_165840

Jack’s Pulled Pork is tender and slightly juicy, with a really good chew to it; the soft bun absorbs some of the flavor, making the bun better as a result. All of that is good and needed, but the BBQ sauce is what really caught my attention and put the sandwich over the top. The sauce was perfectly spicy, not too much, but not too little; and the spice was the perfect hot edition to the sweet flavored sauce.

I did not get a chance to try Gator’s Pulled Pork Sandwich (something I plan on doing next year as I heard it was really good), but out of the Pulled Pork I did try, Jack’s was simply the best and a must eat for all Ribfest attendees and Pulled Pork lovers.

VENDOR TWO: Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ

20150621_140921

This is the part of the review that shakes things up a bit, as it introduces Butch’s Lip Smacker; a combination Pulled Pork, Brisket, and Coleslaw sandwich.

20150621_142506

This is one big, messy sandwich that lives up to its name; it is second only to Jack’s in regards to Pulled Pork and is unique in its own way due to its choice combination. Most of what I said about Jack’s pork can be said about Butch’s as well, minus the sauce (hence why it is second to Jack’s). Butch’s Brisket was tender, juicy, and melts in your mouth; the contrasting flavors and textures of the Pork and Brisket melded well together, and the added cool crunch of the coleslaw finishes off the sandwich nicely.

With this many flavors and textures gracing your taste-buds at once, the Lip Smacker from Butch’s should not be passed up.

VENDOR THREE: Road Hawg – Swine Dining

20150621_141541

Road Hawg introduces us to another unique BBQ creation, the Pulled Pork Ripper; a deep fired hot dog (to the point of the skin almost ripping) topped with Pulled Pork. Our server was a very nice woman who showed us true hospitality and was very friendly, here she is with our Rippers;

20150621_141544

Now for a closer look at the aforementioned Pulled Pork Rippers:

20150621_141642

They call this the Ripper for good reason; the hot dog had a very good rip to it, something that is hard to find with most hot dogs. The pork itself was not Jack’s level, but was still of really good quality and made for a nice edition to the dog; and when you take into account the good amount of thick, ketchup based sauce that was included, the Ripper makes for a really fun, satisfying snack.

Ribfest has a lot more to offer than just ribs, and proved to me that they know how to make other delicious meats as well; I hope everyone is able to try and enjoy these sandwiches and meaty combinations in the years to come.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Advertisements

New Hampshire: Rock’n Ribfest

1065925

Welcome to New England Week! Over the next few days I will be covering delicious food from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, before returning to Nyack next week. Today will be focusing solely on the best ribs to come out of Ribfest this past weekend, with tomorrow dealing with Pulled Pork, Brisket, etc.

I had the pleasure to attend Ribfest with a great group of people, and had an awesome time doing it, to save everyone money we went the community method, with everyone buying ribs from a different vendor and then sharing them among the group:

Photo Credit: Stacie Coburn

Photo Credit: Stacie Coburn

Thanks to Stacie Coburn for the picture!

VENDOR ONE: The Texas Smokehouse

20150620_145525

Hailing from Bedford, Texas, The Texas Smokehouse was my personal favorite. These ribs were tender and very meaty; I felt they provided a good amount of meat per rib, and were well worth the money. But as good as the meat was, the sauce was the real star of these ribs. As for the sauce, there was a lot of it; it was a nice mixture of tomato and vinegar flavor, an acidic BBQ sauce that stood out to me above all the other vendors.

20150620_152356

If you visit Ribfest, make sure to get a rack of these delicious ribs.

VENDOR TWO: Gator BBQ Company

20150621_140735

These too were a meaty rack of ribs, which is exactly what you want; unlike Texas Smokehouse, who doused their ribs in delicious sauce, Gator relies more on smoking theirs, and they really stand out in doing so. In fact, the smokey flavor seemed to penetrate the entire rack of ribs, making sure there was great flavor in every bite.

20150620_152605

With a name like Gator, you’d know these ribs carry a great Southern BBQ tradition; and this vendor was another consensus top seller in my group’s opinion.

VENDOR THREE: Firefly’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que

20150621_140751

This company from Massachusetts was my third favorite rack, and another seller my friends and I reached consensus on as a top vendor. While not as meaty as the previous two, it still contained a nice amount of meat; but the good flavor from Firefly’s is what makes these ribs a must try.

Like Gator, Firefly takes the smoked rib route, and provides a unique taste in doing so. The best way I can describe their sauce was that it carried a smoked-in granular taste, which was not only very good, but also unique among the ribs we were able to try.

20150620_152702

If you visit Ribfest, you would be remiss to miss out on this delectable rack of meat.

This year there were nine Rib vendors who participated and competed at Rock’n Ribfest; the fact that I only covered three of them does not mean that the other six where terrible or shouldn’t receive your consideration. It just means that out of all the ones I tried, these are the three I believe you can’t afford to miss.

That being said, I encourage everyone to not only attend next year’s Ribfest (it is well worth the trip), but to try out as many vendors as possible; who knows, you may find a vendor who steps up their game and is even better than the ones I spotlighted today. For more on Ribfest, please visit their website: http://www.ribfestnh.com/

Be sure to come back tomorrow as I cover Ribfest’s other non-rib must eat meats.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com

Holy Smoke: The Texas Brisket Meal

download

Today’s review is special not only because it covers a Putnam restaurant, but also because this is the first time that I review an entire meal instead of one specific food item. The Texas Brisket Meal from Holy Smoke is our selection, and it is a review that is 11 years in the making. I first noticed Holy Smoke one Sunday in early February 2004 and expressed desire in checking the place out; and now, in 2015, that desire has been fulfilled.

20150329_134152

As you can see, this meal from Holy Smoke consists of a few elements; coleslaw, garlic smashed potatoes, cornbread, fried pickles (not pictured above, but included below), and of course, the signature brisket.

First, the sides; the coleslaw was thick and provided a nice crunch, the cornbread muffin had the nice combination of a strong crust and a soft inside, and the garlic smashed potatoes were some of the best I’ve had. They were leaner than most mashed potatoes, but included small chunks of whole potatoes in it as well; and the light, but easily detectable taste of garlic throughout really shone through.

The appetizer I chose was fried pickles, and Holy Smoke certainly goes a unique direction with theirs:

20150329_133212

Most venues who serve fried pickles do so in little circular slices, but not Holy Smoke; they give you fried pickle spears, and good ones at that. The breading was light, but had a good taste and texture to them, and the inside was coated nicely, providing a surprising last minute heat (spice) that you do not expect going in. The pickles themselves are thicker than most, and provide a nice bite.

And that brings us to the brisket:

20150329_135440

Drenched in onions, the linchpin of this meal certainly did not disappoint. After spending 17 hours in the pit, the meat was both tender, and incredibly juicy; there was no point during consumption that I thought the meat was too dry, or unenjoyable.

Furthermore, there was so much on the plate that I actually got to take some home and get another lunch out of it. If there is one (minor) criticism to be made, its that there was no standout seasoning or rub that really made the brisket “pop”; but that in no way takes away from the fact that this is a really delectable brisket.

Holy Smoke BBQ in Mahopac NY (located at 241 NY-6N), truly knows how to make a good meal, and I certainly recommend them to anyone looking for good BBQ. Along with the meal, the atmosphere is fun, and has outdoor seating that is ideal during the summer months. I will definitely be going back to Holy Smoke, perhaps even this summer; after all, the Fried Buttermilk Chicken sure sounds good.

Got food tips? Email me at: foodreviews24@gmail.com