Here's my theory on where to find good food: If the parking lot is full of a diverse array of cars, from luxury SUVs to old jalopies, the likelihood good food will be there is high.
Middleburgers, an old food trailer given a permanent home in the middle of a field, is a great example of that. Many times I have driven by, but never ventured to stop. That finally changed last month after a hike up Vroman's Nose, when I initially drove past, saw the bevy of cars in the gravel lot, and swiftly pulled a U-turn to check it out.
Good barbecue isn't hard to find in Upstate New York; great barbecue, however, is another matter entirely. And if Middleburgers -- aptly named and found in the town of Middleburgh -- is any indication, an overlooked field is the best place to find it.
We ordered the Carolina-style pulled pork plate ($10), which comes with fries and cornbread. The pork is slathered with vinegar sauce, which helps to brighten the dish with a hit of acidity. The astringent nature of apple cider vinegar is mellowed by the long, slow cooking process that makes the pork positively fall apart with the most gentle pressure of a fork. It was juicy, tender, flavorful, and had little bits of bark throughout like surprise gastronomic confetti of happiness.
The cornbread was also surprisingly tender. Compare it to a soft white Pullman loaf versus a hearty farmer's boule: This cornbread maintained great corn flavor without the gritty cornmeal mouthfeel of other versions. It was almost as though it relied on pastry flour. Be warned: The tender crumb means it will easily fall apart if you try to pick it up whole. Pick at it in bite-sized portions.
As good as everything else was, the fries may have stolen the show. It would be hard to say that they are the best this particular food writer has ever had, but not impossible. A perfectly crisp exterior and creamy, smooth interior is made impossible to resist with a flourish of coarse kosher salt.
Service was speedy and straightforward, and a big, friendly black labrador eagerly announces your arrival. He will then keep you company under the picnic table in a way that is non-obtrusive but definitely makes you know that he is there, waiting, just in case you can't finish all of your meal. Let him lick your kids clean when they are done eating.
This is definitely a place to bring your kids, too. Everything is clean and well-maintained, but again, it's in the middle of an old hayfield. When the kids get anxious but you haven't finished your ribs, let them run around and burn off the energy.
Tax, tip, and two cans of pop came to $15, a price well worth every penny. Hamburgers (middleburgers) and hotdogs, as well as other grill and barbecue items (ribs, brisket) are available, as is ice cream and milkshakes.
110 Frisbieville Road
Schoharie, NY 12157
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