It was time for a little more backyard BBQ this weekend. This time around I tried the Western NY staple, Cornell Chicken. I made a slight variation on the original recipe based on an America’s Test Kitchen recipe I previously got my hands on. It certainly works to make a pretty good looking and tasty chicken. No Cornell Chicken can be served without salt potatoes, so of course I made a pot full. If you’ve never had salt potatoes, I recommend you try them. Add 1.5 to 2 cups kosher salt to 8 cups of water, boil three pounds of small round (I used Yukon Gold) potatoes until tender, then drain and set the individual potatoes on a cooling rack and watch the salt crust form. Melt some butter, a stick should suffice, throw in some fresh chives and a twist of the pepper grinder and you are good to go.
Today I went to Nationals Park to see the Braves beat the Nats in game one of the doubleheader – go Braves! While at the park I saw they had a bbq stand called Blue Smoke. I had already eaten one overpriced ballpark food item and then debated fries or pork, fries or pork? Ultimately I ended up getting some overpriced fries, and just took a photo of the Blue Smoke stand. Blue Smoke was between Shake Shack and Box Frites – all three part of the same Union Square Hospitality Group out of NYC. My Box Frites were good enough, and if it counts I did get the Chipotle Barbeque dipping sauce. I am kind of glad I did not end up going for the pork sandwich, as I doubt they are succeeding with the same quality product as they would serve in the Blue Smoke restaurant in NYC- not that everything you read on the internet is true, but the Yelp reviews for Blue Smoke at the Nats stadium are pretty lackluster at best. I will say however that I have had a burger from a proper Shake Shack restaurant before and I saw some SS burgers at the stadium that looked pretty true to the real thing…so maybe all stadium food is not a half representation of the original. Anyway this post is more about a drive-by of a bbq joint that an actual tasting, but at least if you are headed to Nationals Park anytime soon, then you know what’s there and can try it for yourself.
So I haven’t made it to any barbeque joints, shacks, restaurants, or the like in a while, but Friday we night stopped at the venerable Manuel’s Tavern at the corner of North and Highland for some dinner. I decided to try their self proclaimed Memphis Style bbq sandwich. The pork was thin sliced, not pulled or chopped. It was tender with a nice bite of black pepper. The sauce was sweet and piled on. I would actually recommend getting it with sauce on the side. The sandwich was topped with slaw, a standard cabbage-carrot mix with some green pepper too. With some of the other sides Manuel’s offers you could make it a real ‘bbq plate’ if you wanted. It’s solid bar food and a reasonable bbq sandwich, if you are in the neighborhood.
It’s been a year and a half since I went to Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, NY, but I remember is was good enough that I would go back! I remember noting the ribs were quite good, as were many of the sides. I think the pulled pork left something to be desired, but all in all a good place to eat BBQ. I had to have some faith going into it based upon the size of that wood pile in downtown Rochester! they weren’t just keeping the place warm with it.