These tail end days of summer, when school starts but fall hasn’t really hit yet are the perfect time for eating BBQ.
I’d love to write about the best BBQ in Connecticut.
But the problem is, our BBQ joints are too varied.
They have meats that are great and have meats that are pretty bad.
Every place in CT has a lemon of a dish.
In a previous post we talked about chalking this up to not having enough BBQ places in CT for our places to specialize.
This means places will offer meats and sauces from BBQ styles all around the country in the same place.
Pulled pork next to beef ribs next to pulled chicken.
As different meats benefit from different cooking temperatures and woods, this gets lost in CT and all end up being cooked mostly with the same wood at the same temperature.
So our BBQ restaurants are like the ‘Asian’ restaurants you see in the South and the Midwest, where different styles are mishmashed together.
Now in CT we do have some really good BBQ, but it’s more down to the individual meats a place makes rather than a whole restaurant.
I’ve also decided to not include sausages in this list, because smoking sausages doesn’t serve the same purpose as smoking tough cuts like shoulder.
With all that in mind, let’s highlight some of the best BBQ meats (so far) in CT.
We say so far because places change, recipes change, competitors come up, there is always room for change.
#5: Bears Smokehouse BBQ (multiple locations); Brisket
All Briskets you should get from the fatty end. It’s where all the flavor is. It’s why people eat brisket! Also, be prepared for a lot of brisket on this list because the majority of BBQ restaurants in CT are from Texans and they do beef right. Full review
25 Front St. Hartford (860) 785-8772
2152 Poquonock Ave. Windsor (860) 785-8772
470 James St. New Haven (203) 350 – 9060
454 Ellington Rd. South Windsor (860) 785-8772
#4: Pig Rig, BBQ, Wallingford; Pulled Pork
Nice deep flavor to the pork. You have to like pork because there is no hiding the flavor. Meat is not stringy at all but breaks apart easily. Minimal bark which is a little disappointing but the pork is so good overall it is not missed. Full Review coming soon.
Address: 950 Yale Ave, Wallingford, CT 06492
Open Tuesday – Sunday at 11.
#3: Wire Mill Saloon & Barbeque, Redding; Brisket
Amazingly flavorful. Smoke flavor is present but not overpowering or dominant. Bark is sweet but not to candy-levels. Meat is tender and wonderful. Full review coming soon.
Address: 12 Old Mill Rd, Redding, CT 06896
Open Tuesday – Sunday noon to 9pm
#2: When Pigs Fly, Sharon; Pulled Pork
The flavor of the pork here is unique. There is something sweet to it, like tamarind. There is also a vinegar flavor which nice. The flavor is extremely deep even though the meat can be a little stringy at times. It’s wonderful. Pro tip: Mix together the Georgia peach and their hottest hot sauce and put it on top for something truly incredible. Full review
Address: 29 W Main St, Sharon, CT 06069
Honorable Mention: Bears Smokehouse BBQ (Multiple Locations); Beef Rib
CT needs to work on its BBQ ribs. Granted, we aren’t Missouri or Tennessee, but our ribs could use some work. The beef rib at Bear’s, however, start to get there. Exceptionally rich, so much that one rib is almost too much for one person. The bark is a thick crust adding nicely with the fattiness of the beef. So good, it doesn’t need sauce.
#1: Taino Smokehouse, Middletown; Brisket
It was always going to come down to you, Brisket from Taino. With your heavily salted bark and perfectly cooked meat. Sometimes the bark peels off, which can be a little bothersome. But on repeated sampling, this brisket lives up every time; with or without sauce
Address: 482 S Main St, Middletown, CT 06457
Tuesday – Saturday 11:30AM–9PM
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