Barbecue is having a cultural moment in New England. Here: 17 spots emblematic of our new golden age—and well worth a summer drive.
By Christopher Hughes with additional reporting by Jacqueline Cain and Scott Kearnan
Barbecue is about as American as blue jeans and baseball. Yet the siren call of smoke was ingrained in our DNA well before the Jamestown settlement threw its first whole-hog fete. In fact, our lust for meat cooked low and slow over a wood-fired pit predates the Republic of Texas, Christopher Columbus, hell, even Homo sapiens.
Granted, the South’s much ballyhooed “barbecue belt” (the Carolinas, Texas, Memphis, Kansas City) deserves all the adulation it gets for raising the craft from elemental to art form and for cultivating canonical joints such as Southside Market, in Elgin, Texas, and Arthur Bryant’s, in Kansas City. But in recent years, a tectonic shift has occurred, with worthy ’cue practitioners popping up north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
That includes in New England, where barbecue is having a cultural moment. Suddenly, local pitmasters are treating spareribs and slaw with the same attention to detail that tweezer-wielding toques have always brought to their menus. The results? Well, they speak for themselves. Here: 17 New England barbecue spots emblematic of our new golden age—and well worth a summer drive. Read entire article on BostonMagazine.com
Theodores’ Blues Booze & BBQ
Founded in 1979 by two guys named Ted, then bought 20 years later by a duo of Keiths, this Pioneer Valley blues haunt—really, it’s purportedly haunted—has an innate sense of history. Bands jam nearly nightly in a weathered brick building that also houses the country’s oldest continuously operating pool hall. (The Keiths own that, too.) Thick and sweet sauces, including the awesomely named “Super Badass Sweet Daddy Slap Your Pappy Hot Sauce,” pick up the hickory notes of 12-hour smoked pork and brisket that melt like butter. Fair warning: You’ll want to arrive well before the opening act in order to enjoy that day’s fresh-smoked scores, which can quickly become, er, history.
201 Worthington St., Springfield, 413-736-6000, theodoresbbq.com.