When the Accidental Locavore singled out Billy Joe’s Ribworks as being my favorite chili (as well as Frank’s) in the recent Chili Cook-off, Jonathan Gatsik, one of the owners, sent me an invitation to come and have lunch, so the other day Frank and I set off for the Newburgh waterfront.
Billy Joe’s is a huge place perched on the edge of the Hudson. There’s a large patio with a stage for summer concerts and a beer garden for exploring their large selection of local craft beer. During the summer they serve over 3000 diners a week, which means their three smokers are going non-stop from May through the end of September. The smokers are immense, with a capacity of 13-1400 pounds of meat each.
And we sampled a good amount of that meat! Starting with some smoked chicken wings that they then toss on the grill to crisp up. They come to the table with your choice of dipping sauce and blue cheese dressing. Whether you choose “Devil’s Revenge” or their own barbecue sauce, everything is made in-house. Frank’s reaction (“the wings were a revelation”) pretty much sums it up—they were!
We tried not to stuff ourselves solely on the wings (although they would have been a fine lunch) because we knew Jonathan had ordered a lot more food for us to taste. There were three types of ribs: baby backs, St. Louis and beef. All were great, but my favorites were the beef ribs. Huge and naked except for a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, they were smoky and beefy and delicious! The baby backs were cut with the tenderloin, which made them super tender and both types of pork ribs were dusted with their special rub before the trip to the smoker.
Along with the ribs there were three types of smoked sausages, both sweet and hot Italian and some spicy andouille. Definitely one of Frank’s favorite foods, he was happily devouring all three types. Not to be overshadowed by the ribs and sausage — some really great pulled pork, wonderful brisket and smoked chicken! And if you’re not into meat but find yourself there, the “Good Ol’ Grilled Salmon” is perfectly prepared (I stole a bite of Jonathan’s) so you won’t be left out!
Side dishes included homemade corn bread, some wonderful smoked baked beans, very good coleslaw and exceptional mac & cheese! My favorite mac & cheese is always really cheesy and creamy and this fit the bill completely! From now on, if I’m craving it, I know a trip to Newburgh will be just what I need!
Jonathan calls Billy Joe’s a “very, very happy place” and it s apparent the minute you walk in the door. His chef, Kevin, also deserves a shout-out for all the great food. Managing that kitchen has to be a herculean task and they both do it with a big smile! Jonathan says “I love it every single day of the week” and you can too!
Thanks to Jonathan and crew for a great lunch and to Frank for the photos!