BBQ Exchange

by Charlottesville29


102 Martinsburg Avenue . Gordonsville, VA . (540) 832-0227
http://bbqex.com

For the full report on BBQ Exchange, including a description of Chef Craig Hartman’s ambitious vision for the restaurant, click here.  The BBQ Exchange gallery is here.  Short report below.

Why BBQ Exchange?

Even if BBQ Exchange served nothing but barbeque, it would still belong on The Charlottesville 29.  The pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and brisket may be the area’s best.  What removes any doubt about BBQ Exchange’s spot in the 29 is everything beyond the barbeque.   To every item on the menu, Chef Craig Hartman brings the attention to detail you might expect from a chef who has cooked for presidents and dignitaries,  and spent decades overseeing kitchens of fine dining restaurants.  Hartman, who launched the restaurant at Clifton Inn and then Fossett’s at Keswick Hall, belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of Charlottesville area food.  At BBQ Exchange, his stamp is evident not just on the barbequed meats, but also the ten different kinds of house-made pickles, a trio of cabbage slaws, the macaroni and cheese,  the pumpkin muffins, and pickle spears fried so perfectly they alone might justify the drive to Gordonsville.

What to Order

BBQ Exchange’s pulled pork is excellent.  One of our favorite ways to enjoy it is what you might call “Country Confit.”  We take home a container of pork, chop it up very finely, pack it back into the take-out container, and then refrigerate it over night, taking care to include all of the pork grease.  (If we are feeling fancy, we might press it into a ramekin.)  The next day, we eat it cold, spread onto hunks of a baguette from Albemarle Baking Company.  As garnishes, we like BBQ Exchange’s pickles, some cornichons and grainy mustard from Feast, and Jalapeno Jelly from Planet Earth Diversified.  We wash it down with a crisp beer from Beer Run or a big glass of a hearty red wine.  Below are more of our picks, along with Chef Hartman’s picks, and BBQ Exchange’s appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named a BBQ Exchange dish one of the best in town.

Our Picks:

  • Barbeque: Pulled Pork, Ribs, Pulled Chicken
  • Sandwich:  “Heaven”, BLT with “chewy” bacon
  • Pickles: Green Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers
  • Sides:   Home-style Cole slaw, Macaroni and Cheese
  • Fried:  Pickles, Green Tomatoes
  • Bread:  Pumpkin Muffins

Chef’s Picks

Like us, Chef Hartman has an unusual way he likes to eat his pulled pork.  He takes a big leaf of Romaine lettuce and wraps it around pulled pork, spicy cole slaw, and pickled hot peppers.  It is one of his favorite snacks.  Hartman, who samples BBQ Exchange’s meats every day, also likes:

  • Red Eye Bacon  (“I have a hard time not eating that bacon,” Hartman says.)
  • Pork Belly
  • Pumpkin Muffins

Five Finds on Friday Picks