My Half of the BBQ
Ant's been eyeing Lil's BBQ in Northampton for about as long as he's been eyeing me. Its a little place down at the end of town, set back from Main Street so that it doesn't get a whole lot of traffic, but that doesn't matter to Ant-- when the kid wants pulled meat, he gets pulled meat. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too interested in the prospect of New England BBQ until I found myself the proud owner of coupons. And we know how I am about coupons.
So anyway, Sunday morning we found ourselves at Lil's for lunch. The inside of the restaurant is small-- maybe 20 tables, plus the bar-- and decorated a little like a bad Disney set, with cacti, bright red walls, and gratuitously crooked windows. Cute, though. Water comes in mason jars, the tables are graced with wet-naps and squeeze-bottled condiments, and they have PBR on tap. Nice. We ordered a side of hushpuppies to start, and they did not disapoint-- three piping hot, sweet, green-and-red-pepper studded corn bread balls, perfectly fried and served with an amazing apple cinnamin vinegar dipping sauce, just sweet and sour enough to cool down the 'puppies and prevent severe tounge burn. That sauce was probably my favorite part of the meal. I would eat it on just about anything.
Next up was my pulled BBQ chicken sandwich, accompanied by french fries and coleslaw (both included with the sandwich). I'll start with the slaw, which is simple and perfectly bland, as condiment coleslaw should be. I took Ant's cue and slathered it with BBQ sauce, which livened it up appreciably. The fries are the brilliantly chunky steak-wedge kind, twice-fried, crunchy and potato-y. The BBQ itself, juicy and sweet and apple-y, came on a huge kaiser roll, the kind of bread that does its job but mostly stays out of the way. The bun was so full of meat that even after about half it fell out into the wax-paper-lined basket in which it was served, I still had enough between the bread to make a damn respectable sandwich. And my goodness it was good. Everything got slathered with Lil's house sauce, spicy and smokey and perfect with, well, everything.
With my buy-one-entree-get-one-free coupon, the whole shebang came up to a whopping $12.35, and it was worth every BBQ sauce-covered penny.
Smokin Lil's BBQ
7 Strong Ave.
Northampton, MA 01060
Smokin's Lil's BBQ
First--BBQ north of the Mason Dixon line? I don't believe it's really BBQ. It's something masquerading as that succulent dish.
This is proved by the fact that the hush puppies had things in the fried goodness and that ya'll dipped them in something other than guava jelly or just more BBQ sauce.
Second--it's not BBQ unless it's pork. Well, Texans would disagree, but if it's pulled, it's gotta be pork.
And I back these beliefs with the strongest argument of all: I come from North Carolina, where BBQ is a way of life and a faith. Politicians, much as they don't say whether they support Carolina or Duke, don't come out with a strong stand for or against Eastern style or Western style. They might lose LOTS of votes.
In order to better understand why I'm not just "commenting"--but almost writing a post--you have to go to Lexington, NC. Eat anywhere. Or, if I'm invited to one soon, I'll take you to a pig pickin'. Think: Pig, Pit, Fire, Smoke, Forks: The End.
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