The weather Gods definitely gave us a little taste of summer over the past week or two (not so much this week).  It got me excited for your typical summer activities – family cookouts, drinks on the patio, lake fun with friends, camping, outdoors, ice cream dates and, of course, BBQ!

We’re lucky to have an incredible selection of good BBQ joints around the Capital Region.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Capital Q Smokehouse (329 Ontario St., Albany)

The Capital Q menu takes care of everything from soul food to original recipes that were no doubt passed down from a generation or two.  Their meats have a distinct “Capital Q” taste.  I don’t know any other way to describe it – the flavor is so pure and unlike any other place I’ve tried around the Capital District.  My favorite item on the menu is their Jalapeno Baked Mac ‘N Cheese.  The spicy kick brings a new flavor to a usually boring dish.  Throw a lil’ hot sauce on it if you’re feeling dangerous.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (377 River St., Troy)

I don’t have any personal experience with Dinosaur but, from what I’ve heard, most of their patrons leave with a full belly and ear-to-ear grin.  They’re a chain restaurant but it doesn’t seem to take away from the experience.  The menu makes my mouth water just looking at it (I think I know where I’m going for lunch tomorrow).  They get bonus points for dope menu items with names like “Big Ass Pork Plate” and “Swag Sampler Plate”.

Giffy’s Bar-B-Que (1749 Rt. 9, Clifton Park)

Great for catering or sitting down with friends or family.  The environment is great at Giffy’s.  The place is usually packed and for good reason.  Their award winning Bar-B-Que sauce could enhance any dish.  If it weren’t socially unacceptable I’d probably drink the stuff out of the bottle.

PJ’s Bar-B-QSA

Fans of PJ’s will be happy to know they are transforming from a Spring/Summer operation to year-round beginning this spring.  They are also remodeling the place and it looks pretty cool.  Don’t call the spell police on the “Bar-B-QSA” title.  It’s a new concept debuting this year.  The concept will feature America’s regional barbeque favorites.  I’m not sure if they’ll be revamping the menu but some of my favorite items are the stuffed backed potato (your choice of meat) and the grilled chicken sandwich on texas toast with Kansas City sauce (they have a huge selection of BBQ sauces for you to choose from).

You can’t go wrong with any of these spots.  Wherever you go make sure you bring a full belly, some wet naps and a bib.  Enjoy!