Roadside barbecues sizzle this summer
Photograph by Frank Roberts
Smoke ’em if you got ’em! These roadside barbecue eateries offer a tender, juicy, dry-rubbed alternative to hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza that will make your taste buds sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”
When Pigs Fly South
Rte. 44, Mabbettsville; 845-677-4735
Converted from a retro-50s ice cream stand, this restaurant is co-owned by Bennett Chinn, a CIA graduate whom Valley residents will remember as the erstwhile chef at the Haymarket in Poughkeepsie.
Barbecue in the American South, like tomato sauce in Italy, varies from region to region. Chinn was born in Atlanta, but has lived in South Carolina and traveled extensively below the Mason-Dixon line, so he incorporates various regional recipes into his diverse menu. The brisket is prepared Texas-style. The pulled pork uses a vinegar-based sauce popular in North Carolina. The ribs come by way of Memphis (dry) and St. Louis (wet). And the sides — collard greens, black-eyed peas, hand-cut cole slaw — derive from all across the Southlands.
But the fare is not all high-calorie decadence. Chinn also whips up a California-style chicken salad with avocado and crisp romaine, and, for vegetarians in need of a BBQ fix, a grilled “letter A” portobello sandwich.
This is the second When Pigs Fly South location (the original is in Sharon, Connecticut); it opened in May to rave reviews. Open Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
The Round Up Texas BBQ and Tumbleweed Saloon
2741 Rte. 9, Cold Spring 845-809-5557
The Round Up is straight-up Texas-style barbecue. The meats are all dry-rubbed — no sauces, like they do in Tennessee and the Carolinas — and smoked with hickory wood. The brisket is slow-cooked in the smoker for 18 hours (although they serve it right quick, it’s the opposite of fast food).
The food is also served up just like they do it in the Lone Star State. You order at the counter, and the smoked meat of your choice is sliced and presented on butcher paper. Then you add the side dishes. “The knife and fork are optional,” says co-owner Bill Villetto. “In Texas, you eat with your hands.” And he should know: his two partners, a couple from Austin, Texas, bring the Southern bona fides.
Fans of the seasonal fare have reason to be happy: The Round Up has been operating as a roadside stand for the past year, but plans are underway to open a full-fledged sit-down restaurant in the fall. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., except Monday.
Mahoney’s Smoke House
1659 Rte. 9, Wappingers Falls 845-297-3462
Tucked away in Bank Plaza is this just-opened restaurant, owned by the same folks that made Mahoney’s at Poughkeepsie’s Dooley Square famous. Until recently, the space was a bar called Kitty McGuire’s, and the place retains some tavern touches; the beer specials — including $1 mugs — and Friday night karaoke are sure to please. But don’t let the décor fool you. This is real Southern-style barbecue, prepared in a smoker out back. Options include St. Louis ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken sandwiches, and tasty sides such as sweet potato fries and corn bread. Or, rally up the gang and try the sampler platter. If you’re hungry and on Route 9 — and you don’t want the usual chain fare — this is a find. Open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 a.m.