Memorable | One of the Best
Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q
Review by: Michael Stern
*** BIG W’S PERMANENTLY CLOSED IN MAY, 2021 ***
There is no need to qualify kudos for Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q by adding “for New York” or “for the Northeast” to the statement that this is first class smoke-pit food. It’s good by any standard. I am particularly impressed by the brisket, which is luxurious beyond all expectations, but still on the decent side of fatty. Pulled pork is a handsome sight — all different-size shreds and hunks expertly separated from their fat. Perhaps too expertly, because this pork makes me long for a bit more adipose indulgence.
A bowl of cracklin’s, which are like bacon but better, appear at the order counter while I am having a meal. They’re meant to be a garnish for mashed potatoes, but pitmaster Warren Norstein sees me oogling them and graciously offers a cluster to nosh. I have yet to try the burnt ends, which sound great mixed with sauteed onions, nor have I attacked a rack of ribs. I did have a serving of corn pudding on the side of the meats — like bread pudding, but dotted with sweet kernels.
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|Seasons||Summer, Fall, Spring|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|
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5 Responses to “Big W’s Roadside Bar-B-Q”
May 29th, 2021
Warren closed for good on 5/16/21. Ave atque vale.
January 20th, 2011
To the envy of one and all, I’ve eaten my way through the menu. When working from home, there are times that I’ll stop by for a lunch of side dishes, especially those beans. Such are the benefits of being a resident of Dutchess County!
I fully expect that my first meal in heaven, if I’m so lucky, will be an order of ribs, small cole slaw, and mashed potatoes. Perhaps some fruit compote to finish, if I’m not in a mood for banana pudding that day.
This is the mirror image of an old borscht belt joke: such good food, reasonably priced, and in such large portions!
July 21st, 2007
The move from roadside to roadstop appears to have been very successful for Warren Norstein. The signature truck sits around the side but the large smokehouse and small but comfortable restaurant turns out first class barbecue and high quality sides. The restaurant, located in a little roadside shopping center, is clean and well laid out with a little area to pack up your leftovers (which you will undoubtedly have, as the portions are immense).
We tried the pulled chicken, pulled pork and the rack of ribs. The chicken, while technically a sandwich, is more appropriately called a monsterwich; it is a huge pile of well-smoked moist meat, piled ridiculously high on a bun. It was the unanimous favorite of the three of us who ate there. The pulled pork sandwich is equally daunting. Interestingly, the meat is not the typically shredded pieces of pork. Mr. Norstein explains that by keeping the pulled pork as large chunks of meat, the meat does not dry out or need to rely on sauce to keep its moisture.
The ribs have an intense smoked flavor from the combination of three local woods used by Pitmaster Warren. My own personal preference however, is for a rib with a little more pull; those who like a softer rib which tends to shred when you bite it will find the product here perfect. Their BBQ sauce has a great flavor: not overly sweet and it really helps to highlight the flavor of the meats.
The sides are good. My favorites are the baked beans, with loads of BBQ pork throughout, and the oven-baked cabbage, not a typical BBQ side dish but one which works very well. The macaroni and cheese is ok; it could be a little creamier and a lot more peppery (I admit I was spoiled by the mac ‘n’ cheese at Dinosaur BBQ which was the best I’ve had).
January 1st, 2007
Warren is such a mensch! After picking up my husband from a three-day Appalachian Trail hike, which ended near Pawling, we headed to his roadside stand at about 6 p.m. This was a Wednesday evening and though I had read in the New York Times that he often closes early because he runs out of ribs, I wasn’t worried.
So when we pulled up behind a group of three adults and learned that there were two whole chickens left and one rack of ribs, we were worried. The group in front of us bought the ribs, and then Warren somehow found another half-rack. Because we were his last customers, and maybe because we told him that Rick was famished from the trail, he sold us a whole chicken and the ribs, plus three of each of the sides — beans, rice and slaw — for $15! Then, because we wanted to picnic (we were too far from home, and Rick was too hungry, for us to schlep everything home) he gave us directions to a nice park in town, and cut up and divided the ribs and chicken into individual portions for the four of us (our kids were with us). It was one of the best picnics I’ve ever had: a beautiful day, great food, low price. Then we ate the leftovers for days. Amazing.
December 24th, 2006
I made the lengthy trip off I-84 to Big W’s. I was initially impressed with the heap of pulled pork placed on the bread of my order. I took it out to the car and opened it up, and at first I noticed a slight acrid smell… not exactly appetizing. Next I tried a piece, and unfortunately it tasted more bitter than it smelled. I don’t know if this was a result of the red oak used in the smoking process, or an exorbitant amount of smoke exposure, but it wasn’t pleasing at all. It wasn’t succulent, like the pulled pork in Carolina, or even the better establishments in New England, like Redbones and Blue Ribbon.
It’s not even a sandwich, as it buries three pieces of basic bread (sorry I don’t want challah, rye or white with my pulled pork, I want it on a bun with slaw and sauce… hence a pulled pork sandwich). The “sandwich” doesn’t come with slaw as a requisite; you can choose it as one of your sides (or mac ‘n’ cheese, beans, or pot salad). The BBQ sauce is in a pre-packaged one-ounce container. It didn’t exude much flavor, and quite frankly is offensively small.
For $10 and change, I was thoroughly dissapointed. I won’t be going back. Lucky for me, a double cheeseburger from the Red Rooster down the road salvaged my night.