Stick to the Ribs: The Hudson Valley’s Barbecue Breakthrough
A word from Hudson Valley Magazine’s Executive Editor, Olivia J. Abel
I have a confession to make: I don’t really like ribs. Yes, I’m talking about barbecue ribs. I understand that to many people this statement will cast me in a suspicious light. After all, who on earth doesn’t like chocolate, kittens, and barbecue ribs? In fact, with the possible exception of burgers, I can’t think of a style of food that inspires a more passionate following than barbecue. And a rack of slow-cooked ribs, whether pork or beef, is often the smoky centerpiece of an overflowing plate just brimming with barbecued goodness. So, whether you like them saucy or dry-rubbed, sweet or spicy, I understand that a well-prepared rack of ribs is pure perfection to the growing legion of barbecue fans from coast to coast.
Of course, some parts of our great country have been living la vida BBQ for years. Texas comes to mind. Get this: In 2013, Texas Monthly, a fellow member of the City and Regional Magazine Association, hired the nation’s very first barbecue editor. (This is good work if you can get it.) It’s a move that underscored just how important it is to the average Texan to be tuned in to their local barbecue scene.
The following year, the editor of Texas Monthly took over the New York Times Magazine, and famously declared: “New York is in the midst of a barbecue renaissance.” We agree. Admittedly, he was talking mostly about New York City, but we are here to tell you that world-class barbecue has arrived in the Hudson Valley. In our cover story, which begins on page 30, we outline 17 one-of-a-kind places where you can chow down on an amazing variety of smoky, saucy, succulent treats.
Writer Mary Forsell had lots of fun researching and writing the barbecue article. (Okay, it is fattening fun, but fun nonetheless.) She shared some thoughts from her barbecue journey:
“I had always thought of barbecue as a man’s world, but I discovered that women love it, too. When I visited Roundup Texas BBQ & Tumbleweed Saloon in Cold Spring, there was a substantial lunch crowd of women downing barbecue. One very pregnant woman came in and was trying to stuff down one last barbecue meal before the baby came — it looked like that was going to happen at any moment — but was disappointed that there simply wasn’t enough room left in her stomach to fit the food!
I became so smitten with barbecue that I actually served it at my husband’s surprise birthday party. I got it from Roundup in Cold Spring, because it’s close by, but all the places I visited were good. Very good. Let’s just say, there weren’t any leftovers!”
Happy eating, Hudson Valley. And don’t forget the ever-growing RibFest, which is held August 14, 15, and 16 at the Ulster County Fairgrounds. Even I may rethink my position on these succulent favorites.
Olivia J. Abel