As I pulled up to the lot located conveniently off I-91’s exit 4, Curtis Bar-B-Q screams barbecue. With the huge open pit, outdoor-only picnic seating, smoke billowing everywhere and a pet pig wandering the premises, I felt like I'd been transported to Mississippi or thereabouts, where outdoor rib joints are commonplace. There was an extra bounce in my step as I approached the window of a converted school bus to place my order.
The menu is pretty simple: BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken. I chose the ribs. With little overhead, the 1/2 rack of ribs w/no sides seemed a bit pricey at $12.50. The sauce is basically just a ketchupy Tabasco. The ribs were pink, very smoky, and somewhat juicy, but they had a funky flavor that tasted like bone marrow overload. I’ve had better.
The bottom line: I really wanted to like this Vermont BBQ joint, and wish it lived up to the promise of my first visual impression. I’ll try them again to be sure, but for now, Curtis Bar-B-Q doesn’t cut it for me. I chalk it up as one of those places Jane and Michael Stern (of Roadfood, an excellent source) love and that I don’t. Sure, Curtis Bar-B-Q has a lot of charm, but the food just didn't live up to the hype. If you're on I-91 or route 5 in southern Vermont, it's worth a stop. Just don't fall in love before you've had your first bite.