If memory serves me correctly Larry Gaian was one of the very first people I met when I first joined the wonderful world of twitter. At that time he was already deeply entrenched in the world of social media and had quite a following.
Larry loves to write about food, especially when it’s cooked outdoors on one of his 13 barbecues or grills. He spends most of his time developing recipes and BBQ tips for his blog The BBQ Grail. His recipes and cooking tips regularly appear on popular blogs, websites, newspapers and several popular cookbooks in the United States and Canada. Larry is currently the editor of Pork, Knife and Spoon the official blog of the National Pork Board
I’m honored that Larry would participate in this week’s ‘My Favorite BBQ Joints‘. Here are his favorites in his words:
Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, New York is the BBQ restaurant I judge all other BBQ restaurants by. I had been using Dinosaur BBQ’s rubs with wonderful success, long before I had a chance to visit there a few years ago while on a business trip. I knew, almost immediately, I was going to love this place. With very few exceptions if there are several BBQ pits and pile of wood visible when you walk up you in for a great meal. And Dinosaur proved this, hands down. The food was exceptional, the service top notch. Chef John Stage has created a first rate dining experience without loosing the real down home BBQ feel that is necessary for a real BBQ restaurant.
Photo of Dinosaur BBQ courtesy of urbanblitz’s posterous
Phat Matt’s BBQ in Oakland, California is my favorite BBQ joint in the whole wide world. Phat Matt’s BBQ has everything a BBQ joint should have. A real wood smoker, great food and the friendliest and most awesome owners is what makes this my favorite place. Matt and Charlotte Gonzales have created the perfect place to enjoy good food with good friends. The only negative for me is that I have to drive 90 minutes to eat there. The brisket is always fresh, moist and has an amazing bark that you can’t get in most places. And if sodium intake is a concern for you, they use their own “salt free” rubs. Make sure you save room from pecan pie and peach cobbler.
Photo of Phat Matt’s brisket
Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Ballard, Washington is owned by Eric and Julie Reinhardt. The Pacific Northwest probably isn’t known as a hot bed of superb BBQ but, believe it or not, there are some great BBQ cooks up there and Smokin’ Pete’s is one of them. You can get all the traditional BBQ favorites there, brisket, pulled pork and ribs but you’ll never what fantastic specials you’ll find. Again, the atmosphere is also a key ingredient here. Julie has also written a first rate BBQ “How-To” book called “She-Smoke, A Backyard Barbecue Book.”
Photo of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ courtesy of Mel Carson
I’ve heard about Ranch House BBQ in Olympia, Washington for years but only last year did I get a chance to visit during a trip to Washington. Don’t let the Olympia, Washington part of the address fool you. This joint is out in the boondocks. But it’s well worth the trip. During my trip to Roadhouse I ordered, with much trepidation, I ordered the beef ribs. Beef ribs, in my opinion, are one of the hardest things to cook right in a restaurant environment. The beef ribs at Ranch House were to die for. After tasting a little bit off the plates of a few other guests in my group I think I got a well rounded impression of how great this food is. The sides were good and the meat was moist and full of flavor. Ranch House BBQ is well worth the drive.
Photo of Ranch House BBQ courtesy of Mikal W. – Yelp
Smokey D’s in Des Moines, Iowa is one of those types of BBQ establishment that could easily become an addiction if I didn’t live so far away. Let me just get this out of the way…the cornbread is crack (not that I really know what crack is like, but it’s certainly what I would imagine crack to be like). The other food items I ate were also incredible. The service was fast, super fast, and the food reached the table almost as fast as I could fill my drink cup and find a place to sit down. As the winners of Season 2 of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters I had high expectations for the food and I was not disappointed. If you are anywhere near Des Moines, Iowa you’ve got to give Smokey D’s a try. Just eat the cornbread first.
Photo of Smokey D’s courtesy of Gourmet Live
Here’s a little more info on Larry:
One of the most popular BBQ appetizers, the MOINK Ball, is a creation of Larry’s. A smoked and/or grilled bacon wrapped beef meatball (a little bit of MOO and a little bit of OINK) has taken the BBQ world by storm since it’s creation in 2009. He resides in Rocklin, California, where he takes full advantage of the great California weather to grill and BBQ all year long.
You can find him online here: