c/o Blake Klein, Assistant Food Editor

c/o Blake Klein, Assistant Food Editor

This past weekend, I was in Buffalo, N.Y. for a mock trial tournament. Buffalo is known for a few (and only a few) things: the Bills, its proximity to Niagara Falls, and Buffalo wings. Naturally, I was ecstatic to venture around the city and try as many wings places as possible, regardless of the havoc it would wreak on my stomach. And while the wings were delicious, it somehow, unexpectedly, ended up being the barbecue that would justify my six-hour drive to the city.

I BBQ 4U is located in an unassuming strip mall on the outskirts of the city proper. In front of the restaurant is an enormous smoker, which enticed me with its smell every time I drove past it. Despite my friends’ misgivings about visiting a place that “seemed shady,” I decided to look it up on Google. Amazingly, I BBQ 4U held a perfect five-star rating on Google with over 100 reviews. There was nothing but admiration and love for this tiny barbecue shack.

“I just had a brisket sandwich so good I feel like I should need a cigarette, shower, and confession,” said Daniel S., a local guide who raved about I BBQ 4U’s food. 

With enough badgering, I convinced four of my teammates to adventure with me down the road. Walking inside, we were immediately hit by the wondrous smell of smoked barbecue, just as strong as it was outside. A large man wearing a bright red shirt, who was busy trimming the fat from a massive piece of brisket, introduced himself as Chuck (an apt name) and offered us a sample of anything we wanted to try. Amazed by this outstanding customer service (imagine a restaurant letting you try any dish for free before you even pay), we requested beef ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. It was incredible.

The brisket was wonderfully tender and flavorful, and the homemade barbecue sauce was the perfect balance of tangy and sweet. The beef rib I tried, which was available only as a special, was dressed in a dry rub and tasted terrific. The meat fell right off the bone and had a subtle spicy kick. Everything we tried blew all my experiences with Buffalo wings out of the water. 

“I only tell people it’s the best barbecue in Buffalo because I know it’s the best barbecue in Buffalo,” Chuck told us as we feasted.

When we were done sampling everything, we ordered some combo dishes to bring back to the Airbnb. I got the Brisket Sandwich with mac and cheese and beans. After receiving our meals and showering Chuck with our praise, we returned to the Airbnb. There, the rest of our team looked on with jealousy as we devoured the barbecue. The brisket sandwich had the perfect amount of sauce: not too much to overpower the yummy brisket, yet just enough to add a delicious, sweet flavor. The mac and cheese was tasty, a perfect complement to the sandwich. And the beans…they were just sensational. This perfect side dish (who would have thought that beans could be so delicious!) resembled a Brunswick Stew, a tomato-based concoction consisting of beans, vegetables, and small bits of meat. The rich flavor and soaked meat and vegetables satisfied all my taste buds.

While the renowned Buffalo wing places I tried, such as the famous Anchor Bar, were delicious, they pale in comparison to I BBQ 4U. The restaurant had some of the best and warmest customer service I’ve ever experienced, and the food was absolutely delectable. Chuck was an incredible person to talk to, albeit briefly, and I will dream about his barbecue forever. I implore you all to go to Buffalo, not to eat chicken wings or see Niagara Falls, but to visit I BBQ 4U. It is well worth the drive.

Blake Klein can be reached at bklein@wesleyan.edu.