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

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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 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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;

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

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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

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Holy Smoke: The Texas Brisket Meal

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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