Flavors of the Nation Represented at PJ's Bar-B-QSA

Many of us love traveling and one of the best things to do when visiting a new city is to try out the local food. In this week's restaurant review, our Matt Hunter brings us on an American barbecue road trip, all without leaving the confines of the Spa City.

SARATOGA, N.Y. -- The first stop on our PJ's Bar-B-QSA roadtrip is the closest to home.

The so called "State Fair Chicken" originates a few hours west in Syracuse.

"People wouldn't think of New York State, how is that a BBQ region?" said PJ Davis, founder of PJ's Bar-B-QSA. "The 'State Fair Chicken,' based on the Cornell recipe, has been around since the 1940's."

Cooked over flaming charcoal for 90 minutes on a rotisserie, PJ prepares between 40 and 80 halves of chicken at a time. 

"On a busy day we can do 400 to 500 halves chicken, that is just the chicken," PJ said.

"Right now I am applying our Memphis rub to our St. Louis style ribs," said Johnny Davis, PJ's son.

Johnny is our southern tourguide and pork master. Between the Memphis, Kansas City and PJ's Original styles, he smokes more than 200 racks of ribs a day.

"This is one of our two smokers and I am going to load all of the ribs that I just rubbed down in here," Johnny said.

Located just north of Exit 13 on Route 9, PJ's also offers Texas brisket, North Carolina pulled pork, Virginia sausage and Pacific Northwest salmon: covering just about every BBQ hot spot in the lower 48.

"We're going to take the way they do barbecue in those popular regions and put them right here under one roof," PJ said.

"We tried to be as authentic as we can based on the different regions in the United States," Carolyn Davis said.

28 years after PJ's opened a seasonal business in 1984, the Davis's embarked on the taste tour concept when they converted to a year-round restaurant.

Former teachers, they've colored the walls with bits of BBQ lore.

"Well you know, there is so much history to barbecue," Carolyn said.

"We actually took a road trip to all of those places and made sure we were doing it exactly the way they do it," PJ said.

Of course with so many options, choosing a destination is no easy task.

"If you want to try the different meats, you can try the road trip and have a sampling of all," Carolyn said.

With thousands of repeat customers, PJ plans to keep on barbecuing and criss-crossing the map until everyone's had their fill.

"It's a great business, I love the business, it's like they said in the army, it's not just a job, it is an adventure," PJ said.

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