I love food, and love visiting local spots / hidden gems while I’m traveling. There’s nothing like driving into a city/town, finding an amazing place to grab some grub, and hanging out before a show. So, I decided to share some of the standout places I’ve been with all of you in a series of blogs. It’s important to mention that these places are going to be from all over the world, and all the places I’m giving you are 100% worth a visit if you are in or planning to be in that part of the world. So, let’s kick things off with a blog dedicated to 5 standout BBQ places I’ve thoroughly enjoyed on my travels.
Hickory House has been a staple BBQ Joint and local favourite in this Rocky Mountain Ski Town. Located on the single road going into town from the West, aptly called West Main Street, this place has been churning out exceptional BBQ and sides since its first incarnation opened in 1970.
Now, my experience at this place has almost exclusively been for their breakfasts, and they take the “most important meal of the day” to another level. One of my favorite dishes, which at this place is like picking a favorite of your own children, is the Protein Power Breakfast. This homage to all things Grilled consists of an 8oz New York Strip Steak, a ½ rack of ribs, and two eggs done your way with hash browns on the side. The ribs are fall off the bone, the steak is cooked to your preferred temperature and seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and the hash brown, more like a giant rosti than traditional hash browns, is crispy and delicious. Their homemade BBQ sauce is also a winner with just the right amount of tang, sweetness, heat and tastes great on pretty much everything they have on the menu. My recommendation for the Protein Power Breakfast is to pour the Hickory House Bold and Spicy BBQ Sauce on the eggs, hash browns, ribs, and steak. It just gives the dish a little something extra.
Picture this, I’m in Nashville for the first time having never really experienced The South or Tennessee BBQ before. My dad and I meet up after a producer meeting and site visit to the studio where we’ll be making the next record. We’re both extremely excited and looking to celebrate, so naturally, we’re going to hunt down the best BBQ this city has to offer. We hear about this place on 12th South called Edley’s and are told that it’s some of the best BBQ in the city. Now, this was before Reese Whitherspoon opened up a Draper James in the area. 12th South was a cool place to hang out, but not a tourist stop like it is today.
So, we roll up to this BBQ Joint, right beside the famous I Believe In Nashville Sign, and we’re immediately hit with that delicious smelling combo of spice and grilled meat. We decided to order the Smoker Sampler so we could taste a little bit of everything. With this platter, you can choose up to 3 meats and 4 sides. So, we had Brisket, Pulled Pork and Ribs, and for the sides, we had Baked Beans, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, and Cornbread even though the platter already came with pickles, cornbread, and sauces. I mean, you can never have enough cornbread right! The meats were delicious, the ribs well-seasoned and tender, the pulled pork was outstanding, and the brisket was rendered just right. I don’t know if it’s changed over the years with Nashville’s booming population and urban sprawl, but it will always hold a special place in my heart because of that day.
I initially wrote about Brook’s as part of a previous blog on my website and wanted to elaborate on this amazing New York State restaurant that, according to their website has, “the largest indoor charcoal barbecue pit in the East!” Brook’s has been an Oneonta staple since 1961 with its family-owned roots stretching back to their 1912 meat/poultry business.
I first found this place completely by accident as my band and I were driving from Albany to Ithaca New York. We stopped at a gas station off of the highway and passed this huge building with a massive sign that said the magic word, BBQ! Their menu has something for everyone from fish dishes to poultry, and even Buffalo-style Cauliflower if you’re looking for a vegetarian option. However, the star of the menu is their BBQ. I ordered the Beef Bun BBQ Sandwich and was thoroughly satisfied. They definitely know their grill here because the beef was perfectly cooked and still incredibly moist when you bit into the sandwich. The Brook’s Original BBQ Sauce paired beautifully with the charcoal pit BBQ flavour of the meat and the light seasoning they put on top. The fries were golden-brown and crispy, and the pickle tasted like a pickle which is good if you like pickles. It is no surprise why Brooke’s has maintained legendary status with the locals and incoming college crowd. Ask anyone who has ever lived in Oneonta and they will for sure tell you, you’ve got to go to Brook’s!
A friend of my family was getting married and invited the whole Taerk crew to the ceremony/party. The ceremony was beautiful, and the party was a lot of fun! The star of the show though was the dinner! This couple had Cherry Street BBQ cater the event with baked beans mixed with burnt ends, mac and cheese, vinegary coleslaw (my favourite), and BBQ Beef Brisket with a variety of sauces. The Brisket was smoked just right, had the perfect amount of bark on the outside while the inside remained moist and tender. The coleslaw was a perfect balance to the Smokey richness of the brisket and the creaminess of the mac and cheese. The beans were earthy, Smokey, and velvety smooth. Everything was so good that I went up for seconds. However, by the time I got back up to the stations they had run out of brisket. So, I got creative. I had them give me a plate of Mac and Cheese, covered with the baked beans and burnt ends, topped with their phenomenal BBQ sauce. There are no words for how much I love their BBQ!
Cherry Street BBQ currently has two locations, 1 on Cherry Street (the original location) and another in the Assembly Chef’s Hall on Richmond Street. No matter which site you go to, the quality is consistent, and the food is an experience in itself.
In the town of Jackson, just off of the main square is a humble BBQ joint just starting its 3rd year of operation. However, this young buck of a restaurant is serving up some huge flavor and some incredible combinations rivaling the more seasoned (pun intended) BBQ joints I’ve been to.
I found Big Hole BBQ while on a hiking trip with my family and between the 7 of us, we can eat! So, we ordered a bunch of stuff to share and loved every single bite. As far as appetizers go, the fried okra was awesome, the wings are grilled (not fried) and have that wonderful crispy exterior and juicy interior with the addition of the charred BBQ flavor. The big winner on this side of the menu, however, is The Big Hole Fries. Imagine a basket of fries, topped with onions, jalapenos, brisket, house-made cheese sauce, drizzled with Big Hole BBQ’s original BBQ sauce, and garnished with green onions. This Frankenstein’s monster of an appetiser is everything you could want and more out of a basket of fries. MUST TRY!
Now, these guys do all the BBQ classics really well and whether you’re getting a plate or a sandwich you really can’t go wrong. However, after trading foodventure stories back and forth with our waiter, he suggested that I try the Prime Rib Sammy; sliced smoked prime rib topped with caramelized onions and melted white American or pepper jack cheese, served on a hoagie roll. This was one of the most flavourful, and tender Prime Ribs I have ever had. I opted for no cheese and instead threw some BBQ sauce and fresh jalapenos on there; I have no regrets!!
If you have any questions about any of these places or have any suggestions on where I should eat next. Feel free to hit me up on my socials! Bon Appetite everyone.