Chubby’s Southern Style Barbecue, Emmitsburg, MD

I last went to Chubby’s several years ago, and remember really enjoying their ribs, but I didn’t remember all that much else. I’ve been in touch with owner Tom Caulfield on-and-off (he’s a member of, and he wrote me a few months back and asked me to come up and try a few menu items that he was thinking of adding.

This area of Maryland is great for an overnight trip – you have Catoctin Mountain Park (national) with its ultra-rustic overnight cabins, Cunningham Falls Park (state) with its lake, beach, and waterfall, Mount St. Mary’s University with its magnificent national shrine, the Grotto of Lourdes (worth seeing regardless of faith), and the drive itself which becomes beautiful once you’re north of Frederick (it actually becomes pleasant once you’re north of Boyds). This doesn’t even take Gettysburg into account.

And right there, in the thick of it all, is Chubby’s in Emmitsburg, sitting on Route 15 – you can’t miss it. Tom said to call him when I was coming, and he’d bring out a few samples of his new dishes, and I’m glad he did because one of them is unique (to me), remarkable, and worth a detour to get.

Four of us were pretty hungry, so we ordered a large selection of items: Buffalo Wings ($7.99 for 10), Chicken Tenders ($6.99), Baby Back Ribs ($22.99, full rack with two sides (slow-smoked baked beans and Chubby’s fried potatoes), a couple other small plates and drinks (including Yeungling (Chubby’s has beer and wine)), in addition to small, gratis samples of “Award Winning” Chili, Baltimore Style Brisket, and Smoked Pork Belly.

“What did you just say, Don?”

“Smoked pork belly.”

Ah, yes, the smoked pork belly. Thick-cut strips of belly (in the form of thick bacon), barbecued in the smoker, and then crisped on the grill just before serving. This is going on the menu as an $11.99 platter (with two sides), and is the one dish here that haunts me to this very day. It’s a simple concept really, but also one which I don’t remember seeing before. How good was it? It was awesome – remember, this is smoked; not cured – and worth the trip to Emmitsburg. For sides, I would strongly recommend the Chubby’s Potatoes and Slow-Smoked Baked Beans with it, and you have yourself pretty much of a perfect barbecue dinner.

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