Best Bites: Curtis' BBQ | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Best Bites: Curtis' BBQ


Published February 9, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.

908 VT Route 103 South, Chester 875-6999

I don't mind driving two hours for good food. From kick-ass dim sum to French bistro fare, I'll make the trek. There are some nights, though, that a girl just wants a bone. That's when I schlep to Chester for Curtis' pit-smoked ribs.

Though Curtis Tuff's famous barbecue truck shuts down for the year in October, his daughter Sarah's indoor eatery is open year-round. As much as I love Curtis' own cooking, I have a soft spot for the food at Sarah and her fiancé Chris Parker's restaurant. Without the wafts of smoke, the subtleties of the meat and sides take on another level.

That pork — oh, that pork. Only four ribs on a platter may sound small, but even a dedicated trencherman like myself has trouble finishing them. That's because the flaps of flesh continue for several inches beyond the bone. While the meat directly clinging to the rib is moist, fatty and incredibly tender, with a delightful kiss of char, I get just as much enjoyment from the boneless portions, which form a sort of super-jerky. Dip it in Curtis' rightly famous spicy sauce and you will go slightly mad.

There's a choice of two sides. In summer, I go for the fresh, killer-sweet Georgia corn. Wintertime is perfect for the housemade baked beans, with a not-too-saccharine, but incredibly rich brown sugar taste. The coleslaw is chopped finer than I've ever seen it chopped anywhere. Baby bird food small. It's a little weird, but pleasantly so, especially when coupled with the glorious absence of mayo, replaced with just enough vinegar. The corn bread, which comes with every combo plate is my flaky, maple-glazed ideal. Since Curtis' doesn't serve dessert, the wonderful bread and homemade cream soda will have to do.