By Matt Moment for Valley Table
At Rhinebeck’s Smoky Rock BBQ, you’ll find signature meats, boozy beverages, and the Psichas family at your service.
Smoky Rock is a family affair if there ever was one. When you step inside the Rhinebeck restaurant, you’ll be greeted by Christiana Psichas or her mother, Nike—they run the front of house. In the kitchen, Christiana’s younger sister, Vasiliki, and father, Dimitris, are preparing smoked meats for expectant palates, fielding every order that hits the line. “Everything is prepared and served only by my dad and sister to keep the highest quality,” Christiana explains. Even Alex, son of Dimitris and Nike, helps with web design despite being deployed in the Navy. When she’s not taking orders or running plates, Christiana, who earned a degree in food science from Cornell, bakes full-time and runs Smoky Rock’s social media with Vasiliki. “Needless to say, we wear many hats and work hard to make sure every aspect of the business has our family’s personal touch,” Christiana boasts.
This air of insularity certainly has its advantages. Since its inception in 2014—before which the Psichas family ran Coco’s Italian restaurant in Hyde Park—Smoky Rock has ascended as one of the foremost smokehouses in the state. Its regulars range from locals to celebrities—Shark Tank star and entrepreneur Daymond John, for example, can’t stay away from “the barbecue that built New York-style barbecue.”
What exactly is New York-style barbecue, you ask? “It incorporates the spices, the quality of meats, the brines, the wood, and the unique smoking technique developed by my dad,” says Christiana. “New York-style barbecue is an artistry…resulting in amazingly tender and juicy handcrafted smoked meats.” Dimitris applies his culinary philosophy to a rainbow of signature meats, and everything is made in-house. Among Smoky Rock’s most popular dishes are the brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and smoked chicken, each with “layers of flavors that make it to the center of the meat.”
While these mouthwatering meats are certainly the stars of the smoke show, the appetizers, and sides comprise mostly veggie-based dishes to balance out the heft of the entrees. Starters such as fried pickles, mac ‘n’ cheese fritters, and feta cheese with kalamata olives on toasted flatbread offer levity to the dining experience. The salads, too, are nothing to cough at; Dimitris, a native of Greece, whips up a mean Greek salad with mixed greens, feta, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, sliced red onion, cucumbers, and tomato. (There are, surprisingly, quite a few options for vegetarians at Smoky Rock.)
As for beverages, the Psichas family concocts a line of signature drinks, all priced at $14. Notably, many of the cocktails are made with moonshine, including the blueberry moonshine lemonade, which Christiana hails as one of her favorites on the current menu. The whiskey smash (whiskey with mint, simple syrup, and lemon wedges) and the Texas grapefruit martini (grapefruit vodka with pineapple juice and grapefruit juice) are standouts on the cocktail list.
The cherry atop the fine fare at Smoky Rock is its atmosphere. A spacious patio accommodates outdoor dining in the warmer months, making it a great spot for foodies who want to dine with their dogs. The interior is clean and cozy, with U.S. military service memorabilia adorning the walls.
With all that said, are you ready to sink your teeth into a plate of meat from this three-time Best of Hudson Valley award winner?
Call ahead at 845.876.5232 to make a reservation. Smoky Rock BBQ is open Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12-9 p.m.
Originally published on Valley Table here: https://valleytable.com/smoky-rock-bbq-rhinebeck/