Head southeast on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair for true Southeastern Barbecue – North Carolina-style ribs, chopped pork and chicken.
Lawrence, the man working The Wood Pit’s two smokers, makes Texas-style brisket and hot links, but everything else cooking low and slow is straight out of North Carolina. Chopped BBQ Chicken, slathered with sweet and tangy sauce, is my favorite, but almost everything on the menu is worth a taste. The flavorful, dry-rubbed, pork ribs are moist with a nice smoke ring. Rev up the chopped pork sandwich, served with slices of white bread that don’t quite hold up, with the one of the sweet and tangy, or tangy and spicy, homemade BBQ sauces. Traditional sides include Mac & Cheese (made casserole-style); thick, sweet BBQ beans; moist corn bread and collard greens. I haven’t tried one yet, but the ample slices of Red Velvet Cake would be a decadent way to finish your meal.
With wood tables, wood panelling, and lots of pig-themed nick-knacks, the narrow dining room (seating about 24) and counter feels like a Southern outpost in the middle of Essex County. (The place reminds me a bit of Carver’s Country Kitchen, one of Atlanta’s famous “meat-and-three” lunch spots.)
Not known for its pit masters, New Jersey boasts more good Portuguese BBQ than any American style. The Jersey barbecue landscape may be changing though, with new entrants like Newark’s Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. From what I’ve tried, The Wood Pit leads the pack.