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The Barbecue Exchange, Gordonsville - Chef Craig Hartman's Barbecue and Grill with Homemade Sides on Martinsburg Avenue


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Do you have a car, and if so, do you mind driving an hour? smile.gif

As long as you're driving an hour, go another 45 minutes and hit the best BBQ place in VA, the Barbeque Exchange in Gordonsville. EVERYTHING is good here, especially all the sides. The place started as a side project for the chef at one of the local inns (Craig Hartman at Keswick Hall) and has gotten so popular he actually quit the chef job to do the BBQ full time. BBQ Exchange

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As long as you're driving an hour, go another 45 minutes and hit the best BBQ place in VA, the Barbeque Exchange in Gordonsville. EVERYTHING is good here, especially all the sides. The place started as a side project for the chef at one of the local inns (Craig Hartman at Keswick Hall) and has gotten so popular he actually quit the chef job to do the BBQ full time. BBQ Exchange

A friend from Charlottesville told me the same thing. Will have to check this place out when I'm out there.

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Pulled pork shoulder was nicely moist; smoke flavor was on the light side, as was the smoke ring.  On the table are your choice of five 'que sauces: two spicy, two sweet, one Carolina vinegar-pepper style.  I thought they were all good, particularly the spicy "Colonel Bacon", a bacon-mustard sauce (and I don't usually like mustard sauces) and the "Hog Fire" which was a mild-medium hot pepper sauce.

I was less excited about the smoked sausage (served with a dusting of paprika-based dry rub), which was pleasant but more akin to a snappy kielbasa, than the loosely packed coarse-ground Texas style I was hoping for.

Sides were good: spherical dark-brown hushpuppies, a nice crisp cole slaw, decent mac 'n cheese.  I enjoyed their cornbread too, although it was more like the sweet and moist New England style than the dry and savory Southern vernacular.

Is it the best 'que in VA?  I'm not convinced yet, but more sampling is in order.

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We have stopped here a couple times while wining our way towards C-ville getting pulled pork.  We very much like the place.  We have talked smoking with the owners.  They have some good sides too.  I have written about them on my blog can't believe I didn't post here.  The hush puppies are good!

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Pulled pork shoulder was nicely moist; smoke flavor was on the light side, as was the smoke ring.  On the table are your choice of five 'que sauces: two spicy, two sweet, one Carolina vinegar-pepper style.  I thought they were all good, particularly the spicy "Colonel Bacon", a bacon-mustard sauce (and I don't usually like mustard sauces) and the "Hog Fire" which was a mild-medium hot pepper sauce.

I was less excited about the smoked sausage (served with a dusting of paprika-based dry rub), which was pleasant but more akin to a snappy kielbasa, than the loosely packed coarse-ground Texas style I was hoping for.

Sides were good: spherical dark-brown hushpuppies, a nice crisp cole slaw, decent mac 'n cheese.  I enjoyed their cornbread too, although it was more like the sweet and moist New England style than the dry and savory Southern vernacular.

Is it the best 'que in VA?  I'm not convinced yet, but more sampling is in order.

I am far from an expert on barbecue but I've found that between this place and Deep Run Roadhouse in Richmond you could splice together a damn-near perfect selection of meats and sides.  By this I mean that I thought the pulled pork at the Exchange was excellent, while the pork at Deep Run was merely good, but the sliced brisket at Deep Run was outstanding whereas the Exchange version is merely good--they seemed to excel in alternating menu items, at least from what I have tried.  Pork (pulled or belly), sauces, hush puppies, beans (by God the beans are amazing there) and pumpkin muffins from the Exchange are fantastic--thus far the brisket and mac and cheese at Deep Run is superior.  Still a great, great place in sleepy Gordonsville, and a beautiful drive up Route 231 from Charlottesville if you are in the area.

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