Friday, April 6, 2012

Blue Smoke

There is no shortage of establishments catering to the barbecue-loving New York crowd. Heck, we even have the annual weekend-long Big Apple BBQ where some of the best pitmasters congregate in Madison Square Park and smoke some delicious 'cue. It’s a true meat-lovers paradise! (This year, it's June 9-10. Mark your calendars!)

One of NYC’s local pitmasters, Kenny Callaghan from Blue Smoke, represents every year.  While I love Fette Sau, and Hill Country BBQ is pretty solid too, Blue Smoke ranks as my #1 favorite spot for several reasons: they’re consistent, they take reservations (so no waiting for 1 hour+ for a table!), and aside from the delicious ribs, the sides are a sure hit.

My piggylicious meal at Blue Smoke! YUM
 I’ve been going to Blue Smoke for years and love that every time, the food and service are great. They also have a full bar and whip up some great cocktails, including Mint Juleps! Be sure to make reservations ahead of time on, otherwise you may be in for a long wait!

Mint Julep Cocktails
My favorite appetizer to get is the Chipotle Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip. The flavor and juiciness to these wings is amazing, you won’t be able to stop!

Chipotle Chicken Wings

My last trip to Blue Smoke, I tried the Shrimp Corn Dogs with Avocado-Lime Dip. I was pleasantly surprised by these. Served on long wood skewers, the corn dogs are light with a nice crunch.

Shrimp Corn Dogs with Avocado-Lime Dip

Another hit are the Warm Barbecue Potato Chips with Blue Cheese & Bacon Dip. Doesn’t the dip sound amazing?? Hard to say no to blue cheese and bacon. These chips are really good, but at $8 I often don’t wind up ordering it to save room for more substantial dishes.

I’ve had the Crispy Chili Crusted Calamari before (with red pepper mayo) and while it’s not bad, I wouldn’t recommend getting this dish here because there are plenty of other better appetizers to choose from. This dish just doesn’t show off their strength.

For sides...

The mac & cheese is seriously good. Gooey on the inside with a slight charred top. I could eat an entire order (or three) of this. You won’t want to share!

Mac & Cheese (and a shot of cole slaw in the back)

The Sesame Coleslaw is unique in that it’s not mayo-y, rather it’s vinegar based yet also sweet. It helps cut through the fatty barbecue and is really refreshing.

Sesame Coleslaw
I’ve also tried the Hush Puppies with Jalapeno Marmalade before. I don’t have a picture of it, but these were pretty good!

And now for the most important part… the RIBS!

Blue Smoke makes three kinds of ribs. Their descriptions on their menu of these are pretty accurate:
  • Kansas City Spareribs: Big, juicy, spicy and sweet, slathered with our KC Sauce
  • Memphis Baby Back Ribs: Our leanest rib, with Magic Dust and Original Sauce
  • Texas Salt & Pepper Beef Ribs: Dry-rubbed and full of smoke flavor. No sauce necessary
Rib Sampler (For one)
What's the difference? Kansas City ribs are bigger, meatier and fattier/saucier than Memphis ribs, which are lean and are drier on the surface. Texas beef ribs are also very meaty. Memphis ribs are my favorite, but I definitely always favor very lean cuts of meat. If you like juicy, fatty meats, Memphis is not for you. You really can’t go wrong with any of them – I have friends whose favorite are all different ones!  If you can’t make up your mind, get the Rib sampler and try all three!

If you really love the barbecue sauces or rubs, you can buy them on-site.  Just ask! I'm always so tempted to get a bottle of the Magic Dust (on the Memphis ribs).

Piggy says yes!

Piggy KL

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