The Unvegan

Recent Posts

10 Years of Unvegan
A Quick Bite at Burrito Express
Serendipity at Northern Waters Smokehaus
Twerks and Burritos at Casa Amigos

‘Ribs’

Living The Dream BBQ

Thank you for smoking.
Thank you for smoking.

Pittsburgh has its fair share of sketchy neighborhoods and Homewood is unquestionably one of them. But, according to a friend the neighborhood also has the best BBQ spot in town. So, with potential bodily harm awaiting us, we headed to The Dream BBQ restaurant Brooklyn NY, which can easily be spotted from a distance because they do their smoking right on the street in converted 8 gallon drums.

A Meat Marathon at Texas de Brazil

Mmmmeat.
Mmmmeat.

After a summer spent in beautiful Western New York, it eventually came time to return to Pittsburgh to finish out my MBA. Per usual, the first thing I wanted was meat, and lots of it. Without Korean BBQ or Fogo de Chao (that I know of), I turned to Texas de Brazil for my all-you-can-meat fix. Having never been to one of these, I expected much the same as any churrascaria. What I found was, well, yeah…that.

Nickel City Style at Smoke on the Water

Wheel on the water.
Wheel on the water.

There’s are few things more American than good BBQ, and when I came back from a night in Canada to figuratively kiss the ground of the land of the free, the first thing I did was head to Smoke on the Water in Tonawanda. Situated on Ellicott Creek by the Erie Canal, the place looks more like a bar than BBQ, but the menu tells a different story. Filled with things you would expect from a BBQ joint, plus some things you wouldn’t.

Triple Meat at Fat Bob’s Smokehouse

Four sauces for three meats.
Four sauces for three meats.

In my continuing quest for Buffalo’s best BBQ, I made my way to Fat Bob’s Smokehouse with a few guys. Unlike Dinosaur, Fat Bob’s is a Buffalo native with only one location in Buffalo. Like some other BBQ places, Fat Bob’s doesn’t seem to have an actual specialty, unless you count their mac and cheese. Fortunately, this one has combo platters to ensure an unvegan like me can sample around.

Digging Up Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

So purty.
So purty.

Buffalo might have a few specialty foods, but BBQ is not one of them. In fact, one of their supposed best spots isn’t even home grown, coming in from world famous BBQ hotspot Rochester. It’s called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and despite having absolutely no actual dinosaur on the menu (what the hell?!), the little paleontologist inside of me was still eager to find out how good it was.

Gettin’ Ribby with Wilson’s Bar B-Q

Riblicious.
Riblicious.

The quest for great meat often leads to BBQ, and my visits to a couple of Pittsburgh’s cue joints have been fruitful, if not overwhelmingly amazing. Then I heard about Wilson’s Bar B-Q up on the North Side amongst the Mexican War Streets. The founder hails from the South and the place has been smoking meat for more than 50 years. Considering Pittsburgh’s past, that means a lot. The place is minimalist to the max, with just a couple of plastic tables and chairs with a chimney smoker in the back hiding The menu is scrawled on a chalkboard and lists only four options. Three are ribs of varying size and the other is chicken.

Ribs and Games at Dave & Buster’s

Here little ribby.
Here little ribby.

When you think of Dave & Buster’s you probably don’t think of food. And that’s with a good reason. The place is made for arcade games and drinking, with food as a sort of afterthought. Nonetheless, some genius friends of mine decided to head over to the Waterfront to both EAT and PLAY at Dave & Buster’s. It seemed like a mistake, and as our waiter told us that we could only order a tower of beer for more than three drinkers, this fear seemed confirmed. But we pressed on.

Triple Meating at Union Pig & Chicken

Union Chicken.
Union Chicken.

Down in East Liberty is a barbecue joint that has been infused with a fair amount of hipster twist. It’s called Union Pig & Chicken, and its minimalist tables and whiskey/bourbon oriented bar do a good job of selling that intersection of barbecue and hipsterness. The menu is full of meaty offerings that go beyond the animals known as pig and chicken, but I suppose Union Pig, Chicken and Cow simply didn’t have the same ring to it.

Hey Arnold’s!

Off the Waterfront.
Off the Waterfront.

After a few days in Cape Town, we had eaten dinner every night on the Waterfront and were eager to try somewhere and something new. Fortunately, before leaving home I had looked up places to eat crazy meats in Cape Town and came upon Arnold’s. Since we still had a car for the day, we sought the place out and found it pretty easily.