After scouring the United States in pursuit of its finest barbecue, Memphis Smoke House's chefs embraced Tennessee's tangy and sweet flavors as their culinary medium. The barbecue aficionados eschew charcoal in favor of oak, hickory-apple, and cherry hardwoods to slow smoke their briskets, chicken, turkey legs, and ribs each day. They rub meats in specialty spices before smoking them, then douse the tenderized morsels in house-made memphis bourbon barbecue sauce. The staff serves each platter with cornbread and authentic Southern-style sides of Cajun hand-cut fries, hush puppies, or mashed-potato molds of Robert E. Lee. In their dining room, cool air wafts through the wall's colorful signs, and classic music resounds across an outdoor seating area beneath a red-and-white tent. Memphis Smoke House can also cater get-togethers ranging in size from 15 people to large events of 300.
The Giffords have been in the barbecue business since 1995, when a single catering job helped them launch a fleet of food trucks and a brick-and-mortar restaurant they called Giffy’s Bar-B-Q. But before the family ever sold a single wing, they spent years perfecting their barbecue-chicken recipe and its attendant chicken dance. The result is a recipe they still serve today—marinated pieces of chicken slow-cooked in a charcoal pit and slathered in their housemade barbecue sauce. Glazed baby-back ribs and kaiser rolls piled high with pulled pork or smoked brisket round out a menu chock-full of slow-cooked meats and quality ingredients such as Idaho potatoes and locally made desserts.
Founded and run by childhood BFFs LJ Goldstock and Tom Coppola, LT's Grill sates Albany-area appetites by dishing out a hearty menu of family favorites. Sink incisors into a savory dinner entree such as a full rack of dry-rubbed or Kansas City–style wet, slow-cooked ribs ($19.95), or the grilled 12-ounce pork sirloin slathered in homemade Jack Daniels barbecue sauce ($16.95)., A fresh 12-ounce potato-encrusted haddock fillet topped with sour cream and dill, then finished with a crisp potato crust ($15.95), cures spud shortages like a self-cloning Mr. Potato Head.
Recognized for the Best Ribs in 2010 by Capital Region Living Magazine, Brunswick piques palates with separate dinner and bistro menus full of slow-smoked meats, seafood, sandwiches, and more. A half-rack of Kansas City–style ribs, smoked patiently over local oak, delivers billions of atoms of flavor to cuisine receptacles ($15.99). Guests can also cheerfully chow on Memphis-style barbecue, an accumulation of spice-rubbed pork ribs, which, like the best hairstyles, come free of messy sauce ($15.99 for a half-rack). Or, pair a cold beer or glass of wine with the pulled-pork plate, cooked tender to facilitate facile chewing ($14.99). Noncarnivores can dine on the vegetable stack, a bevy of seasonal grilled veggies woven into fresh buffalo mozzarella and topped with olive oil and balsamic glaze ($13.95).
Part of the Blue Spice Restaurant's network of luxurious Thai eateries, Water House Blue Spice surrounds visitors with the scents of curry, fresh mango and pineapple, and thai basil. Inside, right next to the windows and a few big pots of broad-leafed tropical plants, there's an elevated dining area with floor cushions for relaxing at the low-slung tables. Traditional table-and-chair seating is available too. Regardless of where you sit, the food's the same—green-papaya salad, salmon in panang curry, jasmine rice, and pork and shrimp dumplings, all of it shredded, grilled, fried, steamed, or karate-chopped to perfection.
When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey's BBQ in Dallas in 1941, he kept his menu small and simple, only cooking up beef brisket, pit hams, and barbecue beans, which he sold alongside potato chips, beer, bottled milk, and sodas. Dickey smoked all of his meat in-house, a practice that put his eatery on the map and one that his sons, Roland and T.D., still rely on today.
The menu has expanded since Travis’s time behind the grill, offering plates and sandwiches that brim with nine kinds of barbecued meats, including spicy cheddar sausages, pork ribs, polish sausage, and Texas-style beef brisket that’s chopped to order. Several types of baked potatoes are piled high with meats and cheeses, which diners can wash down with a gallon of tea or Dickey's signature 32-ounce Big Yellow Cup of soda. Staying true to the same spirit of hospitality, cooks always include a buttery roll, a homestyle side such as jalapeño beans, fried okra, and dill pickles, and free ice cream with every meat plate.