After much pleading and begging (and a bribe of my wife’s homemade chicken and dumplings) I have convinced my traveling BBQ critic to write another review….
Down & Out in Sleepy Holler – or – Ichabod Isn’t So Skinny Anymore
So on a recent trip, I found myself wandering around upstate along the Hudson River and came to that legendary Sleepy Hollow region where Ichabod Crane, the bony schoolteacher, supposedly lost his hat all the way down to his Adam’s apple in an unfortunate run-in with a supposed Headless Horseman.
Now I’ve been told that Ichabod was known for his voracious appetite… and after catching a whiff of the smoke-filled breeze from Bailey’s Smokehouse in Blauvelt, NY, I know where Ichabod would be hanging out if he were still around.
I hollered to the limo driver, “follow that smoke!” and the man behind the wheel happily obliged. He informed me that Bailey’s was the place to be… because not only could I acquire my ‘cue and my libations… but since Bailey’s was a classy single’s bar I could acquire my lovin’ as well.
But I set that man straight. I told him that ‘cue comes first…. And then we’ll let the chips fall where they may on the rest.
When I walked in, I could tell that these Yankees meant business. First of all, the place just smelled right.It smelled like hickory smoke. Like a barbecue joint is supposed to smell.
But Bailey’s Smokehouse wasn’t a joint in the literal sense, no sir. The centerpiece of the place is a classic Irish bar, well attended by the festive and food-loving locals. I could tell this was my kind of place, so I bellied up and asked for a Guiness draught and a menu.
I decided on the combination plate so that I could sample a nice cross-section of upstate New York pitsmanship: pulled pork, ribs, and brisket, served with beans and sweet corn soufflé.
After two pints of Guiness, a plate was set in front of me featuring a heaping mountain of meat that went straight up and hung over the sides—let no one accuse Bailey’s of skimping on portions; this meal was man-size.
The ribs? Again, good smoke and falling-off-the-bone tenderness.
The brisket? Who am I to say? It was okay, and there was nothing about it that Bailey’s sweet, tangy sauce couldn’t fix.
Ordinarily I’m not a man to fixate on side dishes, but I’ve got to say that Bailey’s sweet corn soufflé was the star of the show. My grandmother used to make something similar but—forgive me, Granny—but I think Bailey’s has got you beat. Sweetness, a rich texture, and it seemed like it was born to be served with barbecue.
Bailey’s provides a fine example to you ‘cue connoisseurs out there that barbecue can be complemented with many sides that go beyond taters and beans. Bailey’s corn soufflé is innovative and keeps the palate primed for ‘cue.
If there’s one thing that Bailey’s proves, it’s that you can find good ‘cue in any part of the country…even the northeast.
‘Cue is all about effort, innovation, and hard work. If you ever find yourself horsing around in Ichabod country, you can’t leave until you’ve been to Bailey’s. You’ll leave with a full belly – with or without your head.
Deacon Biff Riffen
Biff’s other reviews:
10 Bones BBQ