The barbecue of upstate New York

Rochester, New York

Much debate has been made over the barbecue of Eastern and Western Carolina.

But what of the question of North versus South?

I’m visiting my brother in upstate New York this weekend and as it so turns out, they take barbecue pretty serious up here too. Last night, we had dinner at Dinosaur Bar B Que, a roadhouse in the heart of downtown Rochester that is said to be the best. It sits in the former Lehigh Valley Train Station, overlooking the Genesee River. We called ahead to put our name on the list — a smart move, judging by the 90 minute wait and line out the door upon our arrival.

Our tattooed waitress came over and yelled some specials. Not that it mattered. We were focused and already had our minds set. First up, a full rack of ribs. They are marinated with an “action spice” dry rub and then slowly pit smoked for 24-hours. Before serving, the rack is lightly slathered with Dinosaur’s original sauce.

The ribs were huge, with hunks of meat literally falling off of the bone, and had great flavor. And they weren’t too saucy, so fingers were kept relatively clean. For our two sides, we opted for the baked beans and mac & cheese, both of which were hearty and delicious.



Next, we dug into a Texas brisket plate, which is pit smoked for 14-hours and served with house-cured pickled jalapeños. The inner meat was tender and well-seasoned while the outside had a great crisp texture to it. It was sliced thinly and served with a tangy sauce. Our sides were quintessential barbecue fare: fries, slaw and a hunk of sweet cornbread, balancing the spice.


It’s somewhat unexpected but upstate New York is certainly onto something with its ‘cue. It might not be Carolina but it’s pretty darn close.

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