25 January, 2009

Little Mark's Big BBQ, Vernon CT

In an area known more for chain restaurants and fast-food joints, small eateries often get lost in the crowd. Thankfully, this isn't the case with Little Mark's Big BBQ, an authentic barbecue restaurant on Route 83 in Vernon, CT. Offering some of the best barbecue you'll ever eat, their slow-smoked ribs, brisket, and chicken put chain restaurants to shame.

We’ve always visited Little Mark’s at dinner time when the place was crowded and jumping, so it was quite a surprise when we stopped in for lunch the other day and found the dining room deserted. Happily, we soon found that it was empty because Thursday is just a slow lunch day – the food was just as good as always.

Our friendly waiter met us at the door and followed us to our choice of table, then dropped off menus and took drink orders. Little Mark’s has a great selection of imported and domestic beers both bottled and on tap, and we ordered beers to enjoy while we looked the menu over.

We kept it simple – meat, fries, cole slaw – and everything was excellent across the board. Pork back ribs ordered with a vinegar-based mop were fall-off-the-bone tender, with a crispy flame-broiled crust on the very surface. The sauce was perfect: flavorful without being overpowering and just enough vinegar to enhance the pork. Beef ribs were massive and meaty, pot-roasty tender with deliciously chewy cartilege and bits of fat. The sweet sauce ordered for it was, again, a well-balanced flavoring sauce that was applied in just the right amount for the ribs. Teriyaki chicken breast was just a tad overdone to my taste, but had a wonderful teriyaki flavor and smokiness provided by the fire. All our fries were done perfectly, with a crispy exterior filled with moist inside. We ordered regular fries, sweet potato fries, and cajun fries which were spicy but not overwhelming.

Special props for the cole slaw, though, which is usually nasty when ordered out. Little Mark’s slaw is nearly perfect – it tastes homemade, and when I asked the waiter he assured me that it is indeed made in house, fresh daily, using their own recipe. The only cole slaw I've ever had that was better is the stuff I make myself from my mom's recipe.

Little Mark's Big BBQ
226 Talcotville Road
Vernon, CT 06066
(860) 872-1410


Little Mark's website


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