Voss’ Bar-B-Q

Review by: Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

“Barbecue” is very popular in parts of upstate New York, but the barbecue to which we refer is nothing like what you’ll find throughout the Barbecue Belt. This Q is not smoked, and consists of chopped pork or chicken, or roast beef, in a barbecue sauce, on a hamburger bun.

At Voss the meat is always sliced, not chopped, and the flaps are piled onto the bun, then topped with the sauce. The sandwiches are mellow and enjoyable, and a real taste of upstate NY.

Another Voss specialty is the hot dog (also an upstate NY favorite). The locally-made dogs themselves are quite good, but what makes these pups special is the lode of toppings available. Each frank comes with your choice of three toppings or, if you prefer, you can select one of the specialty combos. The Mexi-All-The-Way dog has chili, onions, and pickles, grated cheddar on top, and is a pile of hot dog heaven. There is also a Chili-All-The-Way and, although it was explained to us, we don’t understand how it differs from a Mexi-All-The-Way.

The building is a classic from the early part of the last century, wedged onto a spit of land that juts between the main road and another restaurant. There is a neon hot dog on the roof and, above that, a giant milk bottle with the Voss name inscribed (perhaps a corollary to Jane and Michael Stern’s theory that giant animals on the roof are a sign of great eats), testament to the excellent milk shakes (served thin or thick) and ice cream available here. After you place your order, you are given a magnetic plastic letter or number. Listen for your digit, then take your food to the nice grove of tables next to the stand, and dive into a classic upstate New York meal.

Note that Voss is not open during the brutal Utica winters.

Directions & Hours

11am - 8pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

What To Eat

French Fries

DISH
Mexi-Burger

DISH
Turkey BBQ Sandwich

DISH
Ham BBQ Sandwich

DISH
Hot Dog

DISH
Maple Walnut Ice Cream

DISH
Mexi-Dog

DISH
Pork BBQ Sandwich

DISH
Beef BBQ Sandwich

DISH
Red Birch Beer

DISH
Pistachio Shake

DISH
Chocolate Malt

DISH

Voss’ Bar-B-Q Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Voss’ Bar-B-Q?

One Response to “Voss’ Bar-B-Q”

Bill Homan

October 1st, 2008

Voss BBQ, to me, is the epitome of what Roadfood is all about. No phone, no website, cash only, outdoor seating only (your car or their picnic tables), seasonal hours from Memorial Day to Thanksgiving and great BBQ sandwiches. When you order, they give you a magnetic letter (or number) and you wait until it is called over the P.A. system. I started eating here around 15 years ago and I have been hooked ever since.

The Voss family has been serving up BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, and ice cream to locals since 1938. They have a huge milk bottle that sits atop the building with the VOSS name on it. Like the Stern’s theory that animals on top of restaurants are a good sign, this milk bottle (they sell ice cream) is a kissing cousin that definitely supports that theory.

The Mexi-Burger is a burger with their homemade spicy chili (beanless), chunks of American cheese, and chopped raw onions; slightly spicy, and buttery from the bun, the meat, cheese, and onions all come through. The Honest John brand hot dog they use has a good snap and is actually the first hot dog I ever truly enjoyed. They cook it on the flat-top, which gives it a nice crust.

The BBQ sandwiches are what really sets this place apart from all others. The meat is moist and is elevated to near perfection when slathered in their homemade sauce! It’s a terrific balance of sweet and heat that creeps up on you about halfway through the sandwich. It’s not a burning heat, but it makes my lips happy.

The thing about BBQ sandwiches at Voss’: it’s not about the meat. That pretty much flies in the face of most BBQ logic, but it really works! No pits or smoked meat here. Voss’ key strength lies in the sauce, but the buttered Freihofer’s buns (the type as well as the preparation) are important too. They add great taste and a crispy texture.

They have a separate window at which you can order ice cream. Recently, I tried the black raspberry and maple walnut hard ice cream. I didn’t like the black raspberry as I found it to be sugary sweet, which left the intended flavor in the background. The maple walnut was right on point with an assertive maple flavor and good crunchy nuts throughout.

I usually eat in my car or while standing at the red runner (my personal favorite spot as I could watch them cooking and assembling the orders through the window) alongside the building. Whenever I’m in Central NY, I find myself scheming to get newcomers to come to Voss. I’d change my schedule to fit in a visit or two. Voss’ really is worthy of a special trip. I don’t presume to have anywhere near the breadth and depth of experience as the Sterns, but if I may paraphrase: If the warden asks me what I want for my last meal, I think I’d have to say Voss BBQ sandwiches (with extra sauce)!

Reply

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