Best BBQ in CT

August_West

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Yeah, that is what I tried at first, because I too like bark. Used to love burnt ends at Gates BBQ when I was in KC. Ran out of time, because I'm not patient enough to stay up to 2-3 AM, pulled it off just before midnight. So last time I tried crutching in butcher paper (less soggy than foil I'm told) then putting it back on naked to finish. With a pork butt there's no harm really in cranking the temp a bit to push through the stall. But I don't do that with brisket. What time do you start it? I'm sure that's my problem. I need to consider starting at night before bed.
Are you doing a whole packer?
 

Husky25

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Yeah, that is what I tried at first, because I too like bark. Used to love burnt ends at Gates BBQ when I was in KC. Ran out of time, because I'm not patient enough to stay up to 2-3 AM, pulled it off just before midnight. So last time I tried crutching in butcher paper (less soggy than foil I'm told) then putting it back on naked to finish. With a pork butt there's no harm really in cranking the temp a bit to push through the stall. But I don't do that with brisket. What time do you start it? I'm sure that's my problem. I need to consider starting at night before bed.
Tough to do without dialing in the temp. What unit do you use? What is the fuel?
 

dvegas

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The brisket, sausage and ribs I had at City Market in Luling TX on 3/31/2004 (on way to San Antonio from Houston Airport) was by far the best CT connected BBQ I've ever had :cool:
 

HuskyHawk

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Tough to do without dialing in the temp. What unit do you use? What is the fuel?

My first try was electric (easy except smoke requires adding chips). Now have an ugly drum, using charcoal. It holds temp quite well once I dial it in, but outside temp could impact that.
 

August_West

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Usually a Flat. Probably in the 8-9 pound range, but that's a guess.
Then you shouldn’t worry about wrapping or a stall. Just cook it at 225 until it’s done at 203 . it’s great practice and great eating. Don’t even think about burnt ends. Those are when you cut the point off the flat off a whole packer 2/3rds through and then cook differently for rest of cook.
 

storrsroars

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Usually a Flat. Probably in the 8-9 pound range, but that's a guess.
Are you cooking for a huge crowd? If not, are you freezing leftovers or just eating brisket for a week?
Then you shouldn’t worry about wrapping or a stall. Just cook it at 225 until it’s done at 203 . it’s great practice and great eating. Don’t even think about burnt ends. Those are when you cut the point off the flat off a whole packer 2/3rds through and then cook differently for rest of cook.
I just don't give enough poops for this kind of detail as bbq meat to me is simply a one-note flavor. But I respect the diligence and dedication!

Just for calibration with the rest of the thread, I'm the guy who would usually prefer to order 3 apps than a main course at most restaurants as that's where the chef usually shows his/her creativity, and would almost always pick an ethnic resto over a steakhouse or BBQ joint.

I also have a $14 roll of butcher paper used once for a Texas Crutch. I'll take offers starting at $9.50.
 

HuskyHawk

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Then you shouldn’t worry about wrapping or a stall. Just cook it at 225 until it’s done at 203 . it’s great practice and great eating. Don’t even think about burnt ends. Those are when you cut the point off the flat off a whole packer 2/3rds through and then cook differently for rest of cook.

Oh I know, but I think the bark ratio on burnt ends is very high. My guess is people who like burnt ends like a good bark. I’ll try that way again with the drum.

@storrsroars I’m cooking for 3. I will do a smoke for a crowd, but not brisket as I can’t time it. I’d do ribs and chicken. We will eat brisket a few times, then freeze. I actually turned some of my last brisket into an awesome smoky chili.
 
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Just got back from my house in Mt Pleasant, SC, where I had my brisket fix at Lewis Barbeque and pulled pork at Rodney Scotts. Lived in CT for over 30 years and I have almost given up trying to find good Q. BTs is about the only place I will go to in this area.
Have tried almost every BQ place in central CT and most were meh. Que Whisky in Southington had the worst brisket I have ever had the 3 times I was there. Gave them 3 chances and they struckout each time. Might as well have called it pot roast it was so dry. You need the great selection of whisky they have to wash it down. Mission bbq- meh, Smokin with Chris- meh. And don't get me started with Bears.
May have to make a trip to Hoodoo based on the comments above.
John Lewis was an original member of Aaron Franklin’s team in Austin and later with La Barbecue. Both obviously spectacular. He then took his talents to Charleston. I thought LA was equal to Franklin’s with hours less wait.
I thought BT’s brisket was pretty good.
 

Husky25

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My first try was electric (easy except smoke requires adding chips). Now have an ugly drum, using charcoal. It holds temp quite well once I dial it in, but outside temp could impact that.

I received a propane unit as a birthday gift. I made some modifications for fine tuning and smoking in the winter, I didn't have much problem with the outdoor temp. The biggest variable for me is the wind.

I haven't smoked much since March because kids' sports took up big chunks of the weekend. I hope to start back up with a pork shoulder and/or chicken (my kids like it) next Saturday.
 

UC313

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If you like burnt ends you can cheat and use a chuck roast. Ill take it to 165-170 then pull it and cube it up. Throw it in a covered tin foil pan, add butter, sauce, or whatever blows your hair back. Run that for an hour or so (or temped to 190-200) then take them out of the pan and put right on the grate. Another half hour or until crispy(ish) on the outside.

Ill do about the same with pork belly too.
 
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Hindsight BBQ in Waterbury pretty solid. Not as good as BT’s but a hell of a lot closer for me in Wolcott. Have pretty good beers there too.
 
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I almost never get BBQ but when I used to I pretty much always got rib tips. Are they a thing in other places now?
 

Husky25

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If you like burnt ends you can cheat and use a chuck roast. Ill take it to 165-170 then pull it and cube it up. Throw it in a covered tin foil pan, add butter, sauce, or whatever blows your hair back. Run that for an hour or so (or temped to 190-200) then take them out of the pan and put right on the grate. Another half hour or until crispy(ish) on the outside.

Ill do about the same with pork belly too.
Thanks for the cheat code. Whether it give me 30 extra lives in Contra too is irrelevant. I'm definitely trying it.
 

CTMike

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On top of it being a big pricey hunk of meat, it’s hard to get brisket to come out well! Ain’t no shame at all in throwing on some beef chuck… it’s pretty forgiving and tastes great. I’m still chasing that brisket dragon but it’s not easy!
 

8893

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Taino in Middletown does a very nice job with brisket, and we have found them to be pretty honest when we ask how it fatty it is on any given day. They only make enough to sell every day and they sell out often. Like many in this thread we are pretty picky about it, and my wife always asks how fatty it is before we order. Sometimes they say "pretty fatty" and we pass; other times they say "We can chose some of the less fatty part for you" and we are fat and happy.
 

ColchVEGAS

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Taino in Middletown does a very nice job with brisket, and we have found them to be pretty honest when we ask how it fatty it is on any given day. They only make enough to sell every day and they sell out often. Like many in this thread we are pretty picky about it, and my wife always asks how fatty it is before we order. Sometimes they say "pretty fatty" and we pass; other times they say "We can chose some of the less fatty part for you" and we are fat and happy.

I have not been to Taino but I have a friend who used to work in the food industry and Taino was his account. He said they were very diligent about selecting the meats they would purchase. Very focused on quality there.
 

HuskyHawk

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John Lewis was an original member of Aaron Franklin’s team in Austin and later with La Barbecue. Both obviously spectacular. He then took his talents to Charleston. I thought LA was equal to Franklin’s with hours less wait.
I thought BT’s brisket was pretty good.

I can only share what I hear, but I have several colleagues in the Austin area who are big time BBQ fans and who make many pilgrimages. Consensus is that Franklin's is good, but a too crowded tourist trap and not one of the best local spots. These guys spin interesting stories. They report "Louie Mueller's grocery store and meat market first opened in 1946, and it became one of the holy trinity of local barbecue joints, along with Kreuz Market in Lockhart and City Market in Luling." The entry on La Barbecue
La Barbecue. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is some sort of Tex-Mex-Cue fusion joint with brisket tacos and cheesy sides. You’d be forgiven, but you’d be wrong. In this case, “La” is not the feminine article, but an abbreviation of the first name of LeAnn Mueller. You may have heard of LeAnn’s grand pappy, Louie, or her notoriously mercurial brother, John, both legends of central Texas barbecue (if not, check the back-issues below for more details). LeAnn evicted her brother from his food trailer after his second or third stab at adulting went south, turned that trailer into a venture of her own, and took her rightful place as barbecue-preneur worthy of the Mueller name.
The backstory
Depending on your point of view, John Mueller is either pariah or prodigal son. The grandson of barbecue legend Louie Mueller, John grew up steeped in the spells and potions of which barbecue magic is made. He was pit master and partner with this father at the Taylor, Texas restaurant for most of his twenties. Then one day he quit and eloped with another employee.

He returned to Austin in 2001 with an eponymous restaurant on Manor Road, where he became known for his love-it-or-leave-it approach to customer service. But the barbecue was worth it, crafted with the help of his promising apprentice, Aaron Franklin. The venture ended abruptly when he was evicted in 2006, sending Mueller off on a multi-year bender that included a failed marriage and a DWI arrest. By 2009 he was living in a tent near Granger Lake. (Franklin, on the other hand, took the pit from that restaurant and started a food trailer that has grown into a decent little barbecue joint in its own right.)

In 2010, an old friend and customer proposed capitalizing on Austin’s burgeoning food truck scene, and by late 2011 he launched the J Mueller BBQ trailer in south Austin. The food was as good as ever, and Mueller himself was much improved. I recall being offered a beer by a smiling Mueller while waiting in the line there. But the good times didn’t last, and his business partner (who also happened to be his sister) forced him out, later building that business into what is now La Barbecue.

I was slated to go on some expeditions with these guys, but then Covid hit and I haven't been to Austin since.
 

8893

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I have not been to Taino but I have a friend who used to work in the food industry and Taino was his account. He said they were very diligent about selecting the meats they would purchase. Very focused on quality there.
We've been there dozens of times and never been disappointed. They are good people. I really like the flavor of whatever they use for their smoke. Quality up and down that menu imo.

One time they totally screwed up our takeout order for a graduation party we were having for one of our daughters; they mistakenly made it at 2:30 in the afternoon when my wife called to order it for a 5:00 pickup, and they had apparently just thrown it away shortly before I arrived, thinking no one was showing up for it. They were horrified when I walked in to pick it up, and they discovered that a new trainee had taken the message and screwed it up. They no doubt heard me on the phone with my wife (in which I initially blamed her of course) and the manager immediately said they had already started remaking the entire order and would have it ready in ten minutes, and she knocked 50% off the order and gave me a free cider while I waited.

They earned a lot of loyalty from me there.
 

Sibeerian

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I cannot recommend Thomas' Smokey Pit in Manchester enough. New joint that just opened a year ago and oh my God it's out of this world. I've gone to all of the "famous" BBQ joints in Texas and I kid you not their brisket goes toe-to-toe with them. Great ribs as well. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't try it

Not a BBQ expert but I've enjoyed Thomas' as well and wonder what aficionados think about it.
 

August_West

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I can only share what I hear, but I have several colleagues in the Austin area who are big time BBQ fans and who make many pilgrimages. Consensus is that Franklin's is good, but a too crowded tourist trap and not one of the best local spots. These guys spin interesting stories. They report "Louie Mueller's grocery store and meat market first opened in 1946, and it became one of the holy trinity of local barbecue joints, along with Kreuz Market in Lockhart and City Market in Luling." The entry on La Barbecue

The backstory


I was slated to go on some expeditions with these guys, but then Covid hit and I haven't been to Austin since.
Aaaron Franklin is a brisket god. I don’t care that tourist want to go there. There are definitely all around better bbq places in Texas and even Austin. But from a strictly brisket POV, You really can’t do better..

Katz’s in nyc has turned into a tourist torture trap but their pastrami is best in city.
 

UChusky916

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Pig Rig in Wallingford holds the top spot in the state for me. Everything I ate there has been delicious, and I've been over a dozen times. Great burnt ends and briskit. Chili Mac is unreal. Lots of sauce variety.

Hoodoo Brown is very good, but I think Pig Rig is better.

Had Bears, Smoking w/ Chris, and Tainos and they're a few people bars below Hoodoo which is a bar below Pig Rig for me.
 

Husky25

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Aaaron Franklin is a brisket god. I don’t care that tourist want to go there. There are definitely all around better bbq places in Texas and even Austin. But from a strictly brisket POV, You really can’t do better..

Katz’s in nyc has turned into a tourist torture trap but their pastrami is best in city.
Bagging on Aaron Franklin is like when Harvey the metalhead in Legal got pissed when Metallica hit it big with the Black Album. Sure they are artists, but they were able to turn something they love and were really freaking good at into gobs of money, on top of creating more music.

That said, would I go to one of Franklin's restaurants? Maybe just to say I did, but it's not totally important, because Franklin more than likely did not prepare the food. What is important is to listen to his advice on preparation and cooking technique.

"Yes, We Sell Out...Every Seat In The House" - Jason Newsted
 

HuskyHawk

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Bagging on Aaron Franklin is like when Harvey the metalhead in Legal got pissed when Metallica hit it big with the Black Album. Sure they are artists, but they were able to turn something they love and were really freaking good at into gobs of money, on top of creating more music.

That said, would I go to one of Franklin's restaurants? Maybe just to say I did, but it's not totally important, because Franklin more than likely did not prepare the food. What is important is to listen to his advice on preparation and cooking technique.

"Yes, We Sell Out...Every Seat In The House" - Jason Newsted

I wasn’t bagging on him. But the place runs out of brisket early every day. There are places just as good where you can actually get in. Places run by the people that taught Franklin.
 
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