Six spots for great barbecue

by Tracy Schuhmacher | September 1, 2016 | Democrat & Chronicle

Here’s how I know Rochester has become a good barbecue city: When I set about to write a story called “five spots for great barbecue,” it proved to be a difficult task, because there are so many choices.

Part of the challenge: Barbecue is a variable endeavor, and even my favorite spots can occasionally have a day that misses the mark. A less-than-great piece of meat or some bad wood can be enough to throw smoke off for the day. And when it comes to something like brisket, which can cook for upwards of 12 hours, there’s really no going back from serving it.

To prepare this list, I headed to a lot of barbecue spots this summer with my younger son, who is a real barbecue enthusiast. My criteria: tender meat, a smoky flavor that enhances but doesn’t obliterate the flavor of the meat and some interesting, tasty sides.

After much adding and subtracting, I winnowed my list to six by limiting my choices to places I have visited several times and who serve consistently good fare. I still still haven’t visited every barbecue joint in the area — it’s a moving target, and I’m hitting everywhere as fast as I can— but these are six places I’d feel comfortable recommending.

. . .

5. Marty’s on Park

703 Park Ave., (585) 434-3292

The brisket, the brisket, ohhh the brisket at Marty’s on Park. Thick slices are given the extra step of being seared on the flat top to take it to another level of texture and crispiness. Every time I visit the food truck or the Park Avenue storefront, I try to convince myself to order something different (they have a banh mi after all, which is usually my favorite sandwich), but I always wind up with the brisket. I once got it as a barbecue platter, another time had it in tacos, but I usually wind up with the Frisket sandwich. It’s pretty straightforward — brisket, house-made pickles and barbecue sauce on a soft roll — but the sum is greater than its parts.

When it comes to sides, I’m a little less partial. I lean toward the General Tso’s cauliflower, deep fried and lightly drizzled with General Tso’s sauce, but also enjoy the sweet and sour beets and the Old Bay fries, given liveliness with a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning.