There are several styles of barbecue, including Central Texas, East Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, Alabama, and the Carolinas, with many suggesting additional styles do—or at least should—exist. This far north of the Mason/Dixon, barbecue lines can get a little blurry, but that doesn’t make the results any less delicious.
BBQ by Mike
Catering; food trailer
BBQ by Mike is a Native American operation offering takeout from a trailer and catering. Mike Martin and business partner Anthony Trunzo specialize in Texas-style brisket but utilize techniques from across the USA. Its most popular sides include mac & cheese and triple-smoked Tomahawk beans.
Bare Bones BBQ
Owner Dave Valentin describes his business as “small craft barbecue.” Brisket, pastrami brisket, and coleslaw are his specialties. Several chefs are big fans, including RJ Marvin, co-owner of Barrel and Brine and frequent host of Bare Bones popups. Valentin doesn’t adhere to a specific barbecue style. Instead, he says he is focused on putting “Buffalo barbecue” on the map.
Big Mama’s Hustle and Soul
Ribs and chicken with crispy haddock and Sunday oxtails to boot. Mama's also offers every side imaginable from slaw to black-eyed peas, collards, and more. This large restaurant took up residence at the corner of Eggert and Niagara Falls Boulevard during the waning days of the pandemic in 2021 and has done a booming business since then.
Blazin’ Barbecue Smokehouse
This spot on Broadway may be as well known for its amazing exterior as it is for its ‘cue. Call ahead to swing by for big takeout containers chockablock with smokey barbecue. Ribs and chicken are the main features, and all meat comes with the customer’s choice of either dry rub or “smothered” in sauce. Word on the street is the rib sandwich and wings are not to be missed.
Brisket Love BBQ
Brisket Love pops up inside local breweries, so keep an eye on its Facebook page for details. It began as many do—in competition barbecue. BLBBQ considers its work Texas-style and cites its brisket, pulled pork, smoked wings, and mac & cheese as specialties.
Burnin Barrel BBQ
Restaurant; pop-ups; catering
With a penchant for whole hog roasts (featuring local pigs from Always Something Farm), Burnin’ Barrel offers catering and has a restaurant on Corfu’s Main Street. Brisket, Alabama white-sauce-drenched chicken, and cheesy potato casserole are among its greatest hits. Owner Nick Rada learned to barbecue from a former colleague who relied on old-school homemade pits to infuse meat with big flavors.
La Verdad Cafe
Restaurant to open in 2023
La Verdad gathered a following in its original location and has a much-anticipated reopening at 116 Davey Street in 2023. Until then, occasional popups are announced on its social media. Owner Vivian Robinson comes from a long line of Southern cooks and her husband serves as pitmaster. La Verdad offers a range of vegetarian options, smoked meats, and down-home Southern sides like gouda-spiked mac & cheese, bourbon-scented yams, and kale apple coleslaw.
Pork Bellies BBQ
This pop-up can be found inside Williamsville’s British-style brewery, One-Eyed Cat Brewing. Pork Bellies BBQ is another duo of self-taught, competition barbecue-ers with a special place in their charred hearts for Texas-style ‘cue. Brisket is its specialty.
Takeout; pop-ups; catering
See our feature on Southern Junction this month for details, or check out the feature from Vice’s Munchies, the story in National Geographic, or a recent video from Ardberg, a scotch distillery from Scotland that came to Buffalo just to make a video about Southern Junction’s exceptionally unique “Texas-ish” take.
South Transit BBQ
South Transit’s pitmaster, Victoria Davis, is zeroed in on Texas-style barbecue and is proud of its brisket, barbecue-themed weekend breakfasts, and a side called the Tookey. Made of a heap of tots or waffle fries layered with mac & cheese, bbq beans, pulled pork, shredded cheese, and sauce, it’s easy to see why the Tookey has fans.
Two Smoking Guys
The manifestation of a shared passion, Dave Galuski and George Colvin’s Two Smoking Guys relies on the friends’ self-taught, competition-honed skill set. Using various barbecue techniques and flavor profiles, TSGs says its stars are pork, brisket, open-pit chicken wings, and mac & cheese.
Restaurant; catering; food trailer
Yankee’s ownership is self-taught with a focus on Central Texas-style ‘cue. Yankee claims brisket as its top seller, with smoked turkey not far behind. Stuff sells out fast, so arriving early is a good idea.