CT is in the north.
We don’t have a long bbq tradition (clam bakes aside, depending on how loose of a definition you want to use for a barbecue).
Most of our bbq places are imported.
Texas seems to be a major source for our bbq scene.
But when you look at the menus you see a massive grab-bag of meats, sauces, and styles.
This is not that difficult from going to an “Asian” restaurant in the south or midwest where you see a mix of Hunan, sushi, Vietnamese, and other dishes being served at the same restaurant.
Can you find brisket in Eastern North Carolina? I’m sure you can, but many top places won’t even bother.
They are too busy specializing in one meat (e.g. a whole hog).
Can you find babyback ribs in Dallas?
I’m sure you can, but many places won’t bother because they are too busy focusing on beef (brisket, beef ribs, sausage).
Different meats need different attention.
Different cooking temperatures.
Different woods even.
But here in CT we don’t have that luxury.
Places will choose one method, one wood, and one temperature.
Then all the meats are cooked there, from collagen-filled ribs to fatty brisket to lean chicken.
Because of this, bbq meats at different restaurants around CT are wildly variable.
Some places will have a phenomenal brisket, and tough nearly inedible ribs.
Or a nearly perfect bark on their pulled pork, but dry meats everywhere else.
That means the “best” bbq places in CT are the ones who mess up their worst meats the least.
Its a game of averages, with places being pulled down by their worst.
Because of this, we can’t look for a great bbq place, because each will have their highs and lows.
Each will have some meats they do well and some they completely mess up.
There are even some bbq restaurants that are complete and utter garbage, except for that one meat they do really well.
So when looking for great bbq in CT, we need to look for individual bbq meats, not a place overall.