Sunday, July 22, 2007

Great food in Vermont: Curtis BBQ

Along the Connecticut River valley in Vermont, north of Brattleboro in the little village of Putney, there is a fantastic place for barbecued meat called Curtis BBQ. It is a bit out of place, perched next to a gas station and a large highway intersection, but the smell, the smell, the smell is right. Judging from the size of their parking lot, people come here from far away. Vermont is not famous for its barbeque, but this place IS famous (PP was here 15 years ago, so it is going strong too). The Roadfood review says:

"The self-proclaimed “Ninth Wonder of the World” truly is an amazing phenomenon: an excellent barbecue parlor in Vermont. No regional excuses need be made for the racks of ribs and half chickens pitmaster Curtis Tuff cooks on a big open grate over smoldering hardwood. These are world-class meats, served in high roadside style. When we say high style we mean that this is not a restaurant at all. It is a picnic."
The setup is a bit unusual too, since the kitchen is inside an old blue school bus, and you order through its window. The menu is extensive since there are lots of side dishes. "Slab" refers to ribs, a full slab is about 60 cm long I would guess.
The grill is in an old trailer, wheels still attached, and with chickens and giant slabs of ribs being slabbed down right in front of you. When you sit under the umbrellas at the picnic tables you get the smoke wafting over you now and then...
PP and I couldn't help comparing the food to Ridgewood Barbecue in Tennessee, the best BBQ we have ever had, but this was not far behind. The pork and chicken were delicious, as was the home-bottled lemonade soda (Curtis' Lemonade), and cucumber salad. The baked beans could have been better, they need more bacon and more sweetness. But the pork was great, falling off the bone as leaves in fall. And the BBQ sauce - mmmmmm!
Last night we had BBQ ribs here at home, and they had been on our grill for over 4 hours slowly cooking and smoking - yummy!!! Maybe red meat is not so good for you, but it is definitely good. We made our own barbecue sauce too, with too much pepper in it (we did follow the recipe). We need to try some different sauce recipes, so we can get it RIGHT. We had mussels made on the grill in a cast iron pan for appetizer (try it! so delicious) and coleslaw (cabbage, carrots, mayo, applecider vinegar, salt & pepper salad) with the ribs. I got so stuffed!


O.K. said...

Haha, I love the kitchen and the grill! How, eh, american. Or maybe it is "punk"? And the menu!
Maybe Guide Michelin would be less impressed, I've heard they tend to put quite a lot of weight on service and presentation in their final verdict.

LS said...

American? I would think you can find at least a trailer grill in Central Asia, they reuse everything over there. But school buses are very American, I admit. These days they have to be yellow, so this could not be put back in use. Michelin-guide, doesn't that refer to the tires on the bus and grill?

O.K., what would you have ordered?

O.K. said...

I'd have "one of everything" as PP would say. And afterwards one would surely look like the Michelin man.