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Friday, July 30, 2010

Connecticut Barbecue

Among all the barbecue regions of America, Connecticut is easily the most..... uh......

Okay, there is no such thing as "Connecticut barbecue," in terms of a particular style indigenous to New England or the northeast whatsoever. However, some establishments around the nutmeg state give a nod to the nation's barbecue regions with their own renditions of such well-established styles.

Wilson's in Fairfield, CT
is one of the most well-known Connecticut barbecue joints, once featured on the Food Network's popular Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. Their menu offers the standard ribs, brisket, sausages, and chicken, though they tend to pay homage to every region of American barbecue. Various types of sauces, such as Kansas City style sweet barbecue sauce, to the peppery bite of Tennessee-style vinegar based sauce, are all included here. Texas style brisket, Memphis and St. Louis style ribs, and Carolina style pork shoulder are all found here. Check out their website.

The Cookhouse in New Milford
is a well established Connecticut barbecue and country food joint not to be overlooked. And it's big. Their menu features all the favorites, including pulled pork smoked for 15 hours, and a cut of brisket known as "burnt ends." Being a favorite of some of our friends at Sizzle Grove, burnt ends are almost exactly what they sound like... the darkest ends of a smoked brisket. They are, however, far from actually being "burnt." Visit The Cookhouse website for more info.

Sizzle Grove correspondents recently had a chance to visit a less-known barbecue establishment in Groton, called Chester's Barbecue. We had the chance to sample their spare ribs, after staring for about ten minutes at their extensive menu. The ribs are served smoked with a minimal dry rub, with either sweet or spicy sauce served on the side. Of course, we chose spicy rub. The ribs were tender with a balanced smoke flavor... not smoked all day, but not rushed either. Chester's Barbecue has some great reviews online from their visitors. A banner on their website boasts "Barbecue is not the sauce, it's what the sauce goes on." We couldn't agree more.

Just about twenty minutes down the road from Chester's is the massive Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville. Among the dozens of restaurants on the upper level near their "Earth Casino" area is Big Bubba's BBQ. While staying in eastern Connecticut, we thought maybe we'd try out this place too. What sets Big Bubba's BBQ apart from most barbecue we've had is their pulled pork and barbecued beef. What we expected to be a sandwich with some pork shoulder and some brisket slices on it turned out to be brisket cooked so long, it turned into pulled beef. A variety of sauces were offered to us on the table, but the beef and pork sandwiches needed none. Their spice rub was so rich and flavorful, with meat so moist and juicy, their barbecue literally seemed to make its own sauce. Smoke flavor was fairly mild, but the overall impression surely wasn't. They're online too.

There are certainly other barbecue establishments in Connecticut and the northeast. Got any favorites? Send us your review... but keep it positive, we don't do negative posts at Sizzle Grove. Our temporary email address where we accept submissions under the subject line "sizzlegrove" is

(Scenery photo licensed by Creative Commons)
(Cookhouse photo permission granted by Rob at The Cookhouse)

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