Foodie Travel, Informed Edibles, Road Trips

Informed Edibles: Lake George’s Barnsider BBQ

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I am not pleasant to be around when I’m hungry.  I’m even more unpleasant when I’ve tried to find something to eat but failed.  I also won’t eat ‘just anything’; I’ve had friends suggest things like ‘just grab a bag of chips’ to remedy hunger-induced-rage.  Those friends clearly do not understand; I don’t want a bag of chips.  I want something good.  And I want it now.

As you can imagine, this is often a problem for me while traveling. Which is why I cannot fully express how happy I was to happen upon Barnsider BBQ and Smokehouse in Lake George, New York.

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Impetus:

I was driving from my home in PA to extremely upstate New York (on my way to Quebec City); I woke up before dawn to get an early start, and planned to stop in Saratoga Springs for lunch on the way.  And I did get off the highway at Saratoga Springs.  And I did sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way through town.  And I did see many fine dining establishments.  I just couldn’t park my car anywhere to get out and enjoy any of them.  So after a thirty minute detour during which I did not manage to find food, I was angry.  And even hungrier.  But once I got out of the horrific Saratoga Springs traffic and back onto the thruway, I could not be stopped.  I continued to drive northward at 15 mph over the limit, head hunched, knuckles gripping the wheel, muttering obscenities about Saratoga Springs, parking, and the general over-population of the earth.  It was not my most glorious moment.

Method:

As soon as I decided that I absolutely had to stop somewhere to eat, a road sign appeared on the side of the New York State Thruway.  It read: end signs for services.  Really?  I mean, thanks for the warning.  But man, holy bad timing.  This meant that I was to have zero guidance in figuring out when and where to exit I-87 north in order to find sustenance.  Enter–Yelp.

Using the ‘search nearby’ function of the Yelp app, I located an exit that appeared to have several restaurant options.  And then I got off at that exit.  And then, while I waited at the light at the end of the exit ramp, I perused the (small) selection and chose what I am confident was the very best one.

Justification:

Value: 9 out of 10.  I ordered the BBQ Platter, which included a 1/3 rack of ribs and a generous helping of either pulled pork or BBQ beef brisket.  As I could not decide between the two, my wonderful server Mikayla offered to have the kitchen split the portion so that I could try both.  Thank you, Mikayla.  Thank you, kitchen.  And thank you whoever invented the concept of smoking meat and then slathering it with vinegar and tomato-based sauces.  My meal was amazing–and accompanied by not one but two sides, of which I ate very little because, well, I’m only one person.  It was a lot of food.  The total cost? $15.95.  With my soda and tip, the whole thing came in just over $20.

Convenience: 10 out of 10.  If you are driving up the New York State Thruway and need a good bite to eat, you won’t find anything closer than The Barnsider; it is maybe a half mile off of the exit ramp.  Just take the Lake George exit, turn right at the end of the ramp, make your first left, and you will see a cabin-like structure on your right.  Note: all good BBQ comes from cabin-like structures.  Or smokehouse trailers in gas station parking lots.  Really.

Uniqueness: 8 out of 10.  It’s a BBQ joint, which I suppose isn’t entirely unique.  But the building is rustic and visually interesting.  And there are two outside dining areas.  Oh–and an adorable string of flying pig lights.  It’s definitely the kind of place you’d hope to find as an along-the-way stop in upstate NY.

Healthfulness: 2 out of 10.  The ribs are fall off the bone good.  But they are ribs.  And the brisket is out of this world.  But it is brisket.  The onion rings were nothing special, so you can skip those–to save room for more meat.  Or you can order the mac and cheese.  Yeah.  There’s nothing healthy about this place.  I’m thinking you could probably get a salad, but what would be the point of that?

In case it is not already apparent, my angry drive north improved greatly with the simple addition of sugary cola and smoked meat.  Thank you, Barnsider BBQ and Smokehouse.  You truly saved the day.

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