The Best BBQ Joints You Have to Try Today

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Look delicious? Get this brisket slider at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse.
Look delicious? Get this brisket slider at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in downtown Syracuse.

Sticky, tangy, smoky, sweet, and spicy — however you like your barbecue, New York’s best barbecue joints are ready to serve up a plate of saucy goodness.

Try these top barbecue restaurants to get your fill this season.

• Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Brooklyn, Harlem Troy, is the go-to barbecue restaurant/biker bar statewide, hands down. But you won’t want to put your hands down. You’ll want to keep shoveling delicious barbecue into your mouth, along with the classic barbecue sides like baked beans, greens and coleslaw. Dogs are welcomed in the outdoor seating area. Take home some Dinosaur sauces to get your Dino fix at home between visits.

• Smokey Bones BBQ (Liverpool, Colonie, Cheektowaga, features new offerings periodically, like USDA prime bone-in New York strip, Louisiana-style barbecue shrimp and Cajun mahi. But its flagship items are barbecue platters, featuring generous portions of smoked pulled meat, ribs and turkey breast. The combo platter is great to share or for anyone facing tasty indecision.

• Pond Pit BBQ (Sandy Creek, serves up chicken wings, ribs, brisket and sides like salt potatoes, cowgirl caviar and tomato cucumber salad. Try the smoked stuffed brisket and cheese jalapeño poppers as an appetizer. Check the Facebook page for special events, contests and the lineup of live entertainment.

• Brooks House of Barbecue (Oneonta, features a huge indoor barbecue pit to bring on all the smokey flavors barbecue lovers want. Top off the meal with an ice cream cone and bring home the barbecue flavors with Brooks’ own line of rubs and sauces, available for sale at the gift shop.

• Saltbox Smokehouse (Sodus, is the place to be for slow-smoked flavor and fork-tender meat, including pulled pork, brisket, kielbasa, and wings. Seating is limited, so why not get takeaway and enjoy lakeside at Sodus Point Beach Park, five miles away?

• Nickel’s Pit BBQ (Watkins Glen, Corning features farm-to-fork dining, sourcing food from local farms for fresh flavor. You can take out your meal to enjoy at nearby Watkins Glen State Park (at that location) or eat in.

• Ray Brothers BBQ (Bouckville, smokes its meats over locally sourced wood for five to 14 hours for fall-off-the-bone tenderness and flavor. For this reason, they can sell out, so plan to visit early.

• Slammin’ Jammin’ Southern Smoked BBQ (Corning) serves up authentic flavor and true Southern style in generous portions. The restaurant is mere blocks the Corning Museum of Glass.

• Smoke Signals (Lake Placid, boasts a made-from-scratch menu of barbecue favorites with all the expected sides, plus a few unexpected options, like hummus, gyro bites, and Brussels sprouts.

• Fat Bob’s Smokehouse (Buffalo, Aurora, treats guests to meat from its custom-built Texas smoker, sides like a few varieties of homemade mac & cheese, and local craft beer.

• Hickory BBQ & Smokehouse (Kingston, serves smoked barbecue, along with a huge variety of appetizers and sides. If you have to please a crowd, Hickory’s likely got something for everyone. If you can’t decide—or want to share—choose the Kingston Trio, turkey thigh, beef brisket and pulled pork.

• Tail O’ the Pup (Ray Brook, is the perfect BBQ joint for your trip to Saranac Lake or Lake Placid. In addition to savory ribs and other barbecue favorites, Tail O’ the Pup also rents cabins that sleep four to six where you can sleep off your food coma—or just enjoy some Adirondacks camping.

Photo: Enjoy a rack of ribs at Brooks House of BBQ and then bring the flavor home with its house sauces and rubs.