D. Dickey, a
World War I veteran from
Dallas, opened his first bar-
becue joint in 1941, Dickey’s
has become the nation’s
largest barbecue chain. It ar-
rived in New Jersey in March,
making East Brunswick its
495th location. (The chain
moves fast; by press time
the count had reached 509.)
Dickey’s sons Roland and T.D.
Jr., taking over in 1967, expanded across North Texas,
then into other states. The
founder’s grandson, Roland
Dickey Jr., became president
and CEO in 2006. Under
signs with red accents, the
East Brunswick restaurant
checked plastic tablecloths
and plays country music on
the sound system. In each
and every Dickey’s, the next
day’s brisket and pulled
pork ($13.50 a pound) are
smoked on site for 14 hours,
the same way the founder
did, over hickory. Kids eat
free on Sundays and there’s
free ice cream for everyone,
77 Tices Lane, 732-479-1950
THE GRUB HUT
Melanie Johnston felt their
community lacked good
barbecue and Mexican food,
so the couple decided to
combine the two. The Grub
Hut reflects their travels to
barbecue hot spots along
the East Coast and to the
authentic Mexican restau-
rants of Southern California.
“The two cuisines go hand-
in-hand,” says Mike. Diners
can customize their dishes,
putting brisket in a taco, or
adding a spicy Mexican salsa
to their ribs. The popular
St. Louis-cut pork ribs are
dry-rubbed and smoked
over applewood; baby-back
ribs are dry rubbed and slow
roasted on a grill; chorizo is
slow-roasted in the oven. A
wide range of sauces are of-
fered, from a sweet Bourbon
sauce to spicier options. The
“Big Time” platter is made
for the indecisive: ribs, bris-
ket, chicken, two burritos,
tacos, a quesadilla and two
sides for $44.95.—MR
307 North Main Street, 908-
He smokes his meats
over hickory (the smoke
perfuming the entire
restaurant). He uses a light
spice rub and finishes them
with barbecue sauce. His
most popular items, he
says, are baby-back ribs,
spareribs and pulled pork.
Customers can’t help but
notice the roughly 4,000
pig-related items covering
the walls. (Straussburg
says he has reduced the
number from 7,000.) The
restaurant occupies an
old building with high,
pressed-tin ceilings. The
pig art might bring people
in once, but as Straussberg
puts it, “You don’t stay in
business for 30 years if you
don’t have something good
that people enjoy and keep
coming back for.”—MR
67 1st Avenue, 732-291-5533
BEER Pale ales are a great choice, or
pick a brown or red ale for a little more
flavor. North Bergen-based New Jersey
Beer Company’s Hudson Pale Ale is
flavorful and not too hoppy for the subtle
taste of unsauced pork.
WINE Try a slightly full white, like pinot
blanc. My favorites are from Alsace. In
reds, step up to a pinot noir, a Barbera
from Northern Italy or perhaps a Chinon
from the Loire Valley in France.
BEER Full-bodied brews like porter
and stouts are my pick. Kane in
Ocean Township makes an interesting
limited-edition porter called Morning Bell,
brewed with co;ee from Rook Roasters
in Monmouth County.
WINE We’re solidly into reds here. The
fat in the brisket coats the tannins, makes
them smooth. Go with reds of the Southern Rhone and Languedoc in France, or
from Priorat in Spain, all anchored with
the grenache grape. California reds, with
their smooth tannins, would be good too.
Try a red Meritage blend.
BEER Lagers and pilsners, being light
bodied, let subtle flavors shine through.
High Point in Butler makes a fine
Ramstein Golden Lager, fuller flavored
than commercial-scale lagers.
WINE Finger Lakes dry Rieslings have
come a long way. Un-oaked chardonnays
from Chile, Argentina or coastal California also work well. For reds, light and
fruity Beaujolais is lovely. Gamay,
the Beaujolais grape, likes
cooler climates, and Oregon
produces some nice ones.
Beer,;ure. (But wh;t ki;d?) Sur;rise! ;;e works wo;derfully, too.
We asked Mark Censits, founder and owner of the three Cool Vines wine-
and-spirits shops in Westfield, Princeton and Jersey City, to recommend beers
(from Jersey brewers) and, yes, wines (under $20 a bottle) that pair well.
BEER Flemish sour ales work well. River
Horse has come out with a Cranberry
Sour Ale I’m excited about. Or try a saison,
which is low in alcohol.
WINE Northern Italian whites tend to be
zingy and blended for food friendliness.
Pinot grigio is an often denigrated grape,
but the better ones are really bright and
have a lot of complexity and fruit flavors.
BEER Bright and hoppy IPAs contrast
well with the mustard. Flying Fish in
Somerdale makes a nice one, Hopfish.
WINE You need strong acidity, as in
a light-bodied sauvignon blanc. Chile
makes some phenomenal ones, especially
in the coastal regions. They’re crisp and
food friendly. In reds, stay with high acidity, like a Sangiovese, the grape in Chianti.
BEER You can go for contrast, with
smooth, palate-cleansing wheat beers
and pilsners. Or go complementary, with
maltier beers like the Nut Brown Ale from
Climax Brewing in Roselle Park.
WINE Gewürtztraminer is an unctuous,
spicy white that works well. Champagne
and other dry sparkling wines cut right
through the sweetness and heat. They’re
incredibly versatile. Lambruscos are
sparkling reds from Italy. They’re refresh-
ing and have good fruit, an amazing
pairing with these
thick, sweet-hot sauces.
BACK BAY BARBEQUE
Real estate developers Len and John Dagit
didn’t expect to get into the barbecue
business, but when a pitmaster squatting at one of the
brothers’ undeveloped properties on Great Egg Harbor
Bay couldn’t keep up with demand, they decided to sup-