New Hampshire: Rock’n Ribfest

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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

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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.

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

VENDOR TWO: Gator BBQ Company

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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