Jim’s BBQ

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Any nice day from April into November, but especially on weekends, the air north of Endicott, New York, is laced with currents of hardwood smoke spiked by the smell of sizzling chicken. The birds’ perfume is unique, for its smoky essence is haloed by a bouquet that is simultaneously vinaigrette-tangy and egg-rich. Known to most locals as “Cornell Chicken” because it was a Cornell professor who devised the marinade in the mid 20th century, it is cooked under tents outside firehouses, on portable rotisseries by the side of the road, at ad hoc backyard cafés on town side streets, and on the grills of chicken-focused restaurants.

Jim’s BBQ offers a classic Cornell chicken feast Wednesday through Sunday all summer long; and it is served in so informal a way that dining here seems more like a picnic than a restaurant. Up front by Foundry Street, there is a small house trailer at the door of which you place your order (whole or half-chicken or, on some occasions, pork ribs). The dining area is a cluster of covered wooden tables on a gravel patio in his yard. Country music plays from a radio located somewhere above the trio of household refrigerators in which extra salads are kept.

Jim’s chickens are presented in a Styrofoam clamshell along with a napkin wrapped around a flimsy plastic fork. The fork is needed for eating the side salads (and the weekend-only salt-cooked potatoes, another local passion); and it is all the utensil you need to gingerly lift strips of velvety chicken meat and their sauce-pasted skin off the bone.

What To Eat

Chicken Dinner

DISH

Jim’s BBQ Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Jim’s BBQ?

One Response to “Jim’s BBQ”

Jane & Michael Stern
Jan Katz

July 8th, 2008

I suspect Jim’s just became complacent due to some national reviews. Now, its chicken is an embarrassment. It seems they make it in advance and serve it over a period of several days. I’ve tried it three times and it has never been good. The side of canned baked beans was totally cold. It is sad to see a good place go bad but, after three tries, I feel confident suggesting it has.

If you are in the area, you are much better off going to Phil’s Chicken House (also listed), which serves great “Cornell Chicken.” That’s the local name for a chicken recipe created by Bob Baker, a Cornell poultry science professor, best known as the creator of chicken nuggets.

Alternatively, if you are in the area on a Saturday or Sunday, check the local papers to see if there is a fire department or church chicken BBQ. Around here, these are held constantly for fundraising purposes. Just don’t go to Jim’s.

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