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Backwoods BBQ at Northern Smoke 

Northern Smoke BBQ in the Woods
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Backwoods BBQ at Northern Smoke: BBQ lovers and foodies with an itch to get out of town will want to know about Northern Smoke for southern style barbecue with a northeastern twist. This casual but charming “hole in the wall” is one of the best-kept secrets on the Rt. 202 corridor running from Somers to North Salem.

Backwoods BBQ at Northern SmokeJust a quarter mile north of Rt. 202 on Stoneleigh Avenue this easy to miss eatery is within walking distance of the Croton Falls train station even though it has a Carmel address. If you miss it, you may not see another commercial building until you reach Putnam Hospital – four miles away.

Don’t text your friends up north because half of North Salem and two-thirds of Somers don’t know about it either. But on Thursday and Friday nights it’s packed with Croton Falls commuters who stop by for dine-in or take-out ribs, smoked brisket and pulled pork after a long day in the city.

CIA Grad can’t stop smoking

Chris DeRuzza a Culinary Institute of America grad who never gave up his passion for smoking meats opened Northern Smoke in November 2013 (who knew?) But he put his own spin on the best of southern style BBQ with his combinations of spices and ingredients from cultures commonly found in the melting pot of the northeastern United States.

Backwoods BBQ at Northern SmokeIncluding his Sliced Brisket Reuben, BBQ-inspired burritos, Philly-style and Cuban sandwiches and a variety of seasonal sides like Brussels sprouts with apple wood smoked bacon and caramelized onions and sweet Asian garlic chili collard greens.

There’s only partial table service so grab a table when you get there and then head to the counter to place your order. Then go back to your seats, check out what everyone else is eating and lick your chops while you wait for your dinner – quaintly served on baking pans – to arrive.

Chris smokes his meats low and slow with a touch of Cherry and Hickory in batches throughout the day to maximize freshness. In addition to his smoked brisket, Chris prepares St. Louis Spare Ribs and Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Sausage, Thick Cut Slab Bacon, Pulled Pork and Pulled Chicken (try it you’ll like it!)

What We Liked

Backwoods BBQ at Northern SmokeWe went for the Sampler for One and had the Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Smoke Brisket and the pulled chicken. Liked the chicken and loved the ribs and brisket. It came with outstanding corn bread and two sides. We had the Brussels sprouts and the creamy Cole slaw and liked both. At $25.95 it was more than enough for two. A steal.

We wouldn’t hesitate to order The Sampler for Two at $35.95 for four. And we’re getting out our calculator to party up with The Pitmaster, one pound of Pulled Pork, Brisket, Pulled Chicken, Smoked Sausage and one rack of ribs with four sides and cornbread for $99.95!

We’re going back for the wings, smoked and then fried. They’re served up with a choice of Chris’ ten signature sauces that range from Mild to Inferno and include a Bourbon Raspberry Chipotle BBQ, a Sweet Garlic Asian Chili and a Strawberry Lime Hot Sauce.

Backwoods BBQ at Northern SmokeHis sauces are also an integral part of their Build Your Q menu. Here you choose your smoked meat, cheese, as many of their thirteen toppings as you’d like and load them up with your choice of sauce on soft tacos, in a wrap or a quesadilla. The toppings range from Cole slaw, seasoned rice and black beans to caramelized sweet onions, Habanero pepper and chopped bacon to lettuce, tomato and Sauerkraut.

For quaffs, they’ll pour you a glass of wine, a craft bottled beer, Boylan Soda or homemade lemonade and Sweet tea.

Local staple or worth the trip?

If you’re living in Katonah and north, Northern Smoke has the potential to become a staple for your casual dining and catering small parties. For dedicated BBQ lovers, foodies who must try it all or anyone in the ABC towns who have an urge for going – Northern Smoke is a casual dining adventure that is worth the trip.

Backwoods BBQ at Northern SmokeIf we got your taste buds all crazy for BBQ but you’re not looking for that kind of trek, check out our review of Three Little Pigs in Valhalla from Mark Mazzarulli – formerly of Opus 465 in Armonk.

Northern Smoke, Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am-9pm. (845-669-8600,166 Stoneleigh Avenue, Carmel;

For more random postings of culinary interest check out our What To Eat: Checklist.

Or browse our What To Eat: Restaurant Guide for listings of notable noshes nearby.


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