The Smoke Joint, Livingston Manor, NY., 6/2/23

building – 630 Old Rte 17, Livingston Manor, NY 12758

The Smoke Joint moved to the Catskills from downtown Brooklyn.  The chef/owners Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel have won accolades for their culinary ventures.  The tiny place is on the banks of the Willowemoc River and they are open from spring to fall.  Here they offer a variety of sandwiches, barbecue by the pound, fried chicken, hot dogs, a variety of sides and beverages (full liquor license).  They have a few tables inside but most of the dining was on the picnic tables right out the door.  The tables were set with napkins, flatware and hot and regular sauces.  You order and pay at the counter and then your food is brought out to you.  There were cans to dispose of your trash when you are through.  The people working there were pleasant and helpful and judging by the crowd we decided it was the place to grab a snack.  I’m no expert on barbecue as is John Tanner who publishes a restaurant blog you’d enjoy, but I think he’d appreciate the flavor of the brisket.  Check out John’s blog for not only barbecue but also Washington DC, the eastern USA coast and lots of other places.  You’ll enjoy his wit and writing style and add to your list of places to go and eat.


order area



All sandwiches come with your choice of a side dish.  The Brisket Sandwich is made with 16 hour brisket, sliced and served on a potato bun with slaw and spiced pickles.  The side here was Cued Beans which were slow simmered beans, both white and red kidney beans, molasses, brown sugar, onion garlic and spices.  The meat was tender and really smokey.  It had a wonderful flavor and was plenty tender.   It was the better of the 2 sandwiches.  The beans were a nice mix and more on the sweet side than “ranch beans”.  The beans were cooked to a perfect tenderness and were good.

Brisket sandwich with Cued beans
closer beef


The Pork Sandwich contained 12 hour smoked pulled pork shoulder on a potato bun with slaw and spiced pickles.  My side was BBQ fries which were French fries dusted with their housemade barbecue spice rub.  The pork was more chopped than pulled and the meat was quite dry.  It did not have the flavor of the beef, which is unusual in my book.  The chopping also included a number of pieces of cartilage that were gross to bite into.  The roll was lovely but the meat fell out of it easily.  I found myself using lots of sauce to give it flavor and eating the meat and bun separately.  The fries were nicely crisp and a thin-cut variety with lots of seasoning salt.  They were tasty and had better barbecue flavor than the pork.

Pork sandwich with BBQ fries
closer pork
Frankie enjoyed a PBR

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