That’s the motto of Chubby’s BBQ owner Tom “Dr. Smoke” Caufield. Tom believes in providing top notch food and will toss out inferior product before serving it. It’s this dedication to quality that customers have come to expect. It’s what pushes Tom to continually improve.
Blessed with an ability to cook and absolutely no restaurant experience Tom dove headlong into the business at the age of 50. He admits to having a few ups and downs at first but as time has gone along, he’s built a reputation for serving some great chow. Tom has also been carving out a reputation as a shameless self promoter. Being awarded the “Tom Caufield excellence in BBQ” title several months running. He also promotes himself as a “Great friend to rich, lonely women especially if they own a liquor store.” Yes, Tom is a bit of a card. He’s always laughing, joking or just plain smiling. When he’s not out roaming the dining room, mingling with customers he’s in the kitchen playing, sampling, testing, inventing. Owning a restaurant gives him plenty of time to tinker with recipes and combinations. Always searching for that next menu or specials board item. Something any cook loves to do.
Born and raised in DC Tom went out to California seeking his fortune. The lure of home was too great though. In the late 80’s he returned to the house that had been in his family since the 1800’s. Tom bought out his siblings and has lived there ever since. He of course needed to keep busy so he founded Chubby’s BBQ and hasn’t looked back (or west) since.
Tom’s place sits about 15 minutes south of Gettysburg and just over of the Mason Dixon Line.
The smell of pig fat and smoke lingers in the air. The spacious dining room has the requisite smiling faces of the various celebrities to have enjoyed his food and a story or two.
We had a discussion on woods we use to smoke. I like a heavier smoke on my BBQ and use hickory and apple wood mostly to achieve this. For Tom is hickory mixed with white oak for a more mild smoke flavour. I will state up front that the smoke level in the food is less than I prefer but that’s simply a personal preference and not indicative of the food quality. One other thing, Tom loves garlic. A personal preference I fully support.
But enough of all this, forward, eat.
The majority of Tom’s menu revolves around southern BBQ and other such pig related items. He does offer things like burgers, dogs and some pretty terrific looking soups.
Mrs. Sippi and I had a nice array of goodies which are as follows.
I had the sample platter: Brisket, pulled pork and back ribs. The pork was very tender with a good rich, piggy taste to it. He scores big marks for not “Saucing it.” A simple top dress was perfect. The ribs were quite good. I’m more of a side rib guy for BBQ but these were some of the better BBQ baby back’s I’ve had. Again, Tom takes it easy with the sauce which is nice. You can always add more. The brisket was the real surprise though. Tender, juicy and what really made it for me, garlicky.
Mrs. Sippi went with the pork belly platter. A half pound of uncured, thick cut, smoked bacon that’s then crisped up, seasoned and served. It was fantastic. It tasted of bacon but not as salty and was nice and crunchy on the outside but still tender on the inside. Just as we finished another gentleman came buy and told Tom how much he enjoyed his pork belly dinner.
Among our 4 sides 2 really stood out. The greens were very tasty and had a surprising (or maybe not) garlic hint to them. Not to be out done the smoked baked beans were some of the best beans I’ve had.
As Tom and I talked he’d have one of the girls run back to the kitchen and come out with a little sample for us.
The sausage was fantastic. Known as the “Alamo Dog” it’s a garlic and jalapeno sausage with “Special sauce” which was like a rosemary Alfredo with a surprise, surprise garlic hit that complimented it all very well.
He also offered up his version of pit beef since we were on the topic. This Baltimore area specialty is the local equivalent to Buffalo’s beef on weck or Chicago’s Italian beef. It was beefy, tender and juicy. (As you can see we only sampled the meat.)
Tom makes 5 different sauces and all were very good. I ended up using a bit of the hot. His hot wasn’t all that hot nor was his volcano over the top. I’m not big on spicy BBQ sauce anyway so the little bit of zing was fine with me.
So if you’re ever in Gettysburg or the surrounding area and looking for some great food and cold beer served in a mason jar, Chubby’s may just be the place for you.
You can visit Chubby’s BBQ at 16430 Old Frederick Rd. in Emmitsburg, Md.
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You can also visit their website here.
Well that’s all for now food fans. About, face…..