by Anne Maxfield on November 4, 2019

While great BBQ might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of restaurants in the Hudson Valley, your chances of finding some good ribs and brisket are awfully high here.

82BBQ which opened recently in Verbank (near Millbrook) has raised that BBQ bar a little higher. We went for lunch on a Friday and quickly became fans.

It’s a nicely designed room with your choice of a communal high-top table, or smaller tables for 2 or 4 and there’s a big patio with cheerful orange chairs for outdoor dining.

I started with the smoked wings in hopes that they would match my favorites from Billy Joes in Newburg. They were really good, with crispy well-spiced skin, but being the smoke fiend that I am, I would have liked a bit more smoke flavor coming through. They came with a Sriracha blue cheese dipping sauce that gave them some heat and played well with the spices on the wings. I loved that you could get 6 or 12 as it’s usually a struggle for me to get through more than 6 (and it gives you a chance to nibble on more of the menu).

To go with my wings, how about some smokehouse fries with pulled pork and Monterey Jack cheese?  The fried potatoes were fried half-moons of potatoes which made them great for scooping up the pulled pork and cheese. Think of them as being the fry version of nachos. Great snack food and for once you could really taste the cheese!

My friend went for the pulled pork and 2 sides, this time mac and cheese and green beans. The pulled pork was yummy, with nice crispy bits—like my favorite burnt ends. Mac and cheese was creamy, buttery cheesy and delicious. The green beans were not cooked to death, which may insult some Southerners, but I like my beans to have a little life left in them and these did. The pickled veggies that came on the side were a nice touch that I got to enjoy because my friend is not a fan of anything pickled.

What struck me about the food at 82BBQ, and it may seem strange when you’re talking about BBQ, was that all the dishes tasted fresh. It wasn’t just gloppy BBQ, produced on a large scale. I mentioned it to the chef when we were chatting after the meal and he confirmed it, telling me that he made everything fresh daily and when it was gone, it was gone. I also appreciated that the portions were good-sized, but not overwhelming.

We went back for dinner to try their take on some of the more traditional BBQ items, like ribs, brisket, chicken and their custom-made andouille sausage. Everything was really good, and we’ve eaten through most of the main dishes and sides. So far, my favorites are the ribs and pulled pork, but the brisket and sausages are close contenders. For sides, I’d definitely go for the braised greens—perfectly cooked with a nice vinegar kick — and the mac and cheese. Skip the coleslaw, it’s the only thing on the menu that needs work, and save room for the (I can’t believe I’m writing this) amazing bread pudding. It’s warm and creamy with a good dose of real maple syrup. I’ve never been a bread pudding fan, but 2 bites of 82BBQ’s and I’d go back just for the bread pudding. Yup, that good.

Open for lunch Friday-Sunday and dinner every day but Monday.


3134 Route 82, Verbank NY





An Afternoon at the Chili Festival

by Anne Maxfield on March 23, 2015

Accidental Locavore Inflatable ColonChef friends of the Accidental Locavore were asked to be judges at the 4th annual “Challenge Your Colon” Chili Festival, so we thought it was a perfect excuse to pig out on chili and possibly discover some good local restaurants. Other than the fact that beans are good for you, I’m not quite sure what chili has to do with colon health, but hey…

Accidental Locavore Chili VotingThere were about 45 vendors competing for best chili, vegetarian chili and cornbread to be determined by the judges, and also voted on by the people. Possibly the judges got better, hotter or different chili than the crowd did, or maybe our taste in chili is really off the mark because only one that we liked even made the list!

Chili practically ran the alphabet of proteins, from alligator to wildebeest, and covered ground from traditional to Thai. Rabbit and venison made appearances, alongside more traditional beef in many cuts and all sorts of beans.

Accidental Locavore Billy Joe's ChiliIt was great to get a chance to talk to some of the restaurateurs and made us promise to expand our dining parameters. Somewhat like going from west to east in the city, crossing the Hudson isn’t an everyday occurrence, but since our favorite chili came from across the river, it looks like we’ll be taking a drive soon!

And that chili was? A brisket chili from Billy Joe’s Ribworks. Smoky and delicious, sadly it will have to be an elusive memory until next year. It’s not made as a regular dish at the restaurant because it would mean giving up a secret recipe, but if the ribs are as good as the chili, it’s worth a stop!

Accidental Locavore Wildebeest ChiliThe aforementioned wildebeest chili was really from a wildebeest that the owner of Toma’s, shot in South Africa and transported back. While I’m no judge of wildebeest, the chili was really tasty and, like Billy Joe’s, not on the regular menu. What is on the regular menu, is an interesting looking array of tapas not generally found in these parts.

The most interesting vegetarian chili was a Thai Curry Chili from Mother Earth’s Storehouse, a local natural food store. A healthy vegan chili, the coconut milk and curry made it a winner for us (bonus points for handing out the recipe too)!

Accidental Locavore Farm to Table ChiliAs is probably the raison d’etre for most of the restaurants at the event, we have now definitely put two local favorites on the must-try list. Farm to Table Bistro had the only straight-up meat (no bean) chili, individually garnished with cheese, sour cream and tiny strips of fried tortillas. Even though Frank usually shies away from any restaurant with “live” music, because Chris used to run Fat Tuesdays in the city, he might be coaxed into going on a Friday night for the jazz.

The other place, Schatzi’s, we’ve actually tried to get into, but turned away when it looked packed recently. They had another great vegetarian chili, this time with tomatillos and cilantro. We’re going to give it another shot on a Wednesday night when pirogues are the special.

So until next year…







Charcutepalooza March Challenge: Brining Corned Beef

by Anne Maxfield on March 14, 2011

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef and Cabbage

How do you feel about corned beef? The Accidental Locavore is usually not a huge fan of brisket or corned beef, however this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is to brine either chicken,  pork, or for the advanced challenge, to make corned beef. I’ve brined a lot of local chickens, a turkey or two, and various cuts of pork, so Charcutepalooza members, watch out! It’s time to tackle corned beef!

Corned beef is one of those things I eat to be polite. Many friends of mine swoon over the idea of a corned beef or brisket dinner, not me. It’s the preparation; brisket is usually cooked to death (except for my friend Leslie’s…secret ingredient: a can of soda). Corned beef and cabbage or New England boiled dinner, the smell of the cabbage lingering for days…no thanks.

Accidental Locavore Charcutepalooza-smallSo when I saw this Charcutepalooza challenge I knew that at the end of five days, there would be a pot of goodness containing an amazing corned beef! Even before the brine cooled, good friends were invited for dinner. I’m thinking if I put a pot au feu twist on this, it should be delicious.

After clearing a rather large piece of real estate in my refrigerator, I set the pot with the brisket to brine for five days. Along with the Accidental Locavore Corned Beef in Brine Weightedplate to weigh it down, which seemed to just float in the pot, I added a 2 ½ pound weight from my dumbbell (what a good excuse not to use it for five days, right?).  Yesterday it was removed from the brine, thoroughly rinsed and simmered until tender.

What emerged? A beautiful piece of corned beef that might make a believer out of me. After the meat was removed from the pot, I added ½ an enormous (really enormous) cabbage cut into wedges, and some of the last of the local potatoes from my farmer and let them cook in the flavored stock for about 20 minutes. On the side, two kinds of mustard, and some of my homemade pickles from the summer.

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef SlicedThe verdict? My husband said it was the best corned beef he’s ever had. Our friend BJ seconded his vote, and would have had seconds but is on an only-one-serving diet. What about the locavore non-believer? It was awfully good, and except for needing way too much room in a New York City apartment refrigerator, certainly easy to make. Next step? When the weather gets warmer, smoking one…that’s pastrami if you haven’t been paying attention.

Check out the Friday blog for the recipe for the blueberry caramel sauce I served over vanilla ice cream for dessert. 4 ingredients guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and don’t forget, blueberries are a super food).