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Best Bites: Ed’s Barrr-B-Q


Published April 7, 2009 at 3:08 p.m.

248 North Main Street, Barre, 476-8BBQ

The slogan at Ed’s is “The taste you can’t escape,” and crimeplays into every aspect of the restaurant. The windows are barred and fakebullet holes addle the doorframes. The cheery yellow walls are bordered withtrompe l’oeil barbed wire. Mugshots of Frank Sinatra and Jim Morrisonadorn the spaces not painted with the names of Ed’s sauces and rubs, which hehas sold since 2005. Named for different levels of capital punishment, eachsauce that I tried had a unique personality.

Much of what passes for barbecue in Vermont is slow-cookedpork slathered in barbecue sauce. Not so at Ed’s. Chicken, beef and pork aresmoked over apple wood and apple cider for a sweetly smoky, discernibly fruity taste.Think apple tobacco wafting from your southern grandpappy’s pipe.

These vapors provided the punch in the bestpulled pork sandwich ($8.95) I’ve had in years. Super moist but not overtlyfatty, no sauce was necessary on the satisfying shreds. However, a dash of sweet andtangy “Misdemeanor” did add to the experience.

The “Murder One” (hot, but not as strong as Capital Offenseor Lethal Injection), served beside my delightfully crispy brisket burnt ends($5.95) was more complex, with a fair amount of spice, but not a lot of heat.The clean-stripping ribs were enormous.  A trio ($12.95) overflowed theirlarge plate. Baked beans were the best side, with a deep, surprisingly complexflavor tempered by maple syrup.

With last year’s loss of Finkerman’s in Montpelier, therehad been a pig-shaped hole in my heart. After pounding a pile of pork at Ed’s, it’s been reduced to piglet size. Perhaps a “Double Bubba” pulled pork sandwich ($13.95) willbe the cure?