Duffy's Hangar

Gary Bennett has been making changes down at Duffy's Hangar since he took over ownership on August 2nd of this year.  That's according to the Statesman Journal, but, as far as I know, it's the same as it's always been since I've never been there.  So, what does it take to get a meat-lover like me to go to a place I've never been like Duffy's?  Is it the "UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP" or "BREAKFAST AT 8AM"?  Of course not.  It's the BBQ Trailer Pit sitting out front with smoke coming out of the chimney and the hand-painted signs saying "BBQ" in bold red letters.  Oh. Hell. Yes.

The first time I drove by with a lunch companion and we saw the signs (but not the pit) I said, "Places that put signs out like that with no real BBQ evidence have nothing more than a crock pot and an oven in the kitchen."  By the way folks, if you're cooking anything with a crock pot or in the oven, you may not, under any circumstances call it BBQ.  For example, when you cook a pork butt in a crock pot with BBQ sauce, you may call it "shredded pork" or "shredded pork with BBQ sauce," but calling it "BBQ Pork" is just plain offensive. Where was I?  Oh that's right, Duffy's.  After we noticed the pit out front, we decided this was a place we MUST try for lunch.

The BBQ menu was small (which I consider a good thing).  We ordered one of each of the three BBQ items -- Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken.  The menu claimed that the ribs were cooked for 5 hours, the pork for 15, and I don't recall how long the chicken was cooked. Doesn't matter.  We drank a beer while we waited for our to-go order, and I could have sworn they mixed the Bridgeport IPA tap with an amber - but even a bad lunch beer is still pretty good.  The waitress was a perfect combination of sassy-smart-ass and competent.  She knew what she was doing, had a good sense of humor, but wasn't about to put up with any crap.  I discovered this when I asked if she was sure she poured me an IPA.

According to the menu, each meal came with a roll, coleslaw or potato salad, and baked beans and tomaltino.  The waitress informed us that they didn't have any tomaltino, she didn't know what it was, and didn't know why it was still on the menu, so we weren't going to get any.  No problem, we didn't know what it was either.

There were 4 ribs in the box and they were good, but not great.  Although, I think I may have higher standards than some.  I try to take that into consideration when I go to a place that doesn't do BBQ for a living, but it doesn't always work, so my judgement is often skewed.  I can tell you though, that the green onion are totally unnecessary for a garnish on ribs.  I won't shine you on, it's ugly, and tastes nasty - get it gone.  The sauce was standard and unremarkable, but the meat was tender and good quality. I was a little disappointed at the amount of smoke on them, but they were still pretty good.  There was no discernible smoke ring which made me think much of the 5 hours of cook time was indoors instead of in a pit.

The BBQ pork was a total surprise because the menu didn't say anything about a sandwich as far as I can recall.  It was pretty darn good though.  The pork was exceptionally tender, moist, and the BBQ sauce complimented it well.  The bottom bun was soggy by the time I got to it after the drive back to the office, but it held together long enough for the fateful journey to my mouth.

The chicken was attractive and mediocre.  It wasn't quite cooked enough to pull cleanly away from the bone, so it was a little difficult  to try and tear pieces of meat from the bone to share with my lunch mates.  It tasted alright, but again, there wasn't enough smoke on it for my taste.  And again with the green onions -- seriously?

I didn't try the potato salad because I can't stand the stuff, but I did have the coleslaw which wasn't too bad (for a vegetable dish).  I don't usually order baked beans, but I'm glad I did because I really liked theirs.  I can honestly say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the sweet and saucy flavor.  Maybe there was bacon in it?

Overall, I found my experience at Duffy's to be enjoyable.  The BBQ was OK, the atmosphere is old and back in style, the wait staff is friendly (with sass), and the whole place just felt comfortable.  It's probably not a place I'd go on my all-too infrequent date night, but my co-workers and I decided we're going to give it a go for after-work drinks.  The waitress said they have live music every weekend, and I believe it from the look and size of the stage.


Hey you!  Stop making excuses and try Duffy's out.  Broaden your horizons!


Duffy's Hangar Bar and Grill
2275 Mcgilchrist St SE
Salem, OR 97302

(503) 581-5278






26 comments:

Anonymous said...

That would be "Hangar". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangar

Chuck Bradley said...

Vegansnightmare, Thanks for the heads-up on this new BBQ opportunity. I'll try to check it out next week.

Yesterday I had, what I (as a neophyte BBQ sampler) considered to be a good Pulled Pork Sandwich at the Wild Pineapple Grill and Coffee 2 on 13th ST. They only serve them on Thursdays and Fridays from 11AM 'til 2PM. It was very moist and tender with sauce tending toward the sweet. Also worthy of mention; it was huge. I could not quite get around it all. If you get a chance, give one a try. I'd love to hear a BBQ aficionado's opinion.

KandN said...

Chuck, You must have missed VN's review of Wild Pineapple Grill.

Chuck Bradley said...

Wow! I sure did KandN! (BTW Good review VN!) I looked on our index and didn't see it. Could we have it included there?

tracylee said...

Yep, they definitely have live music. I've been to many, many Sunday blues jams - 3-6 pm - great for us old folk who can't stay up really late.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

Bah! How embarrassing. I'll write sentences at the board to remind me...

I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.
I will not hang my hangers in the hangar.

Anonymous said...

Hey all, I have been into the Hangar a few times now since the new ownership(I think Greg is his name).....WOW what an improvement!!! I LOVE the new look with the rough and Tumblin BBQ out front( I wish I could afford one of those):).... The BBQ is to DIE for and is the best I have had!!! Whoever is doing the Q'in certainly knows what they are doing! Kudos to the new ownership and nice to see someone doing things right in there!!!!
My only suggestion is to leave to onions off the meal.

Chuck Bradley said...

Vegan's Nightmare, Thank you so much for putting me onto this new menu!

OH MY GOODNESS! I ordered a Rib Dinner to go tonight. The aroma filled my car like a fat guy fills a coach seat on an air liner! I shifted into overdrive and ran red lights getting home! The slow cooked meat was juicy and smoky. The rub he used made it ambrosia. The baked beans were also exceptional as was the corn bread. The slaw was....well...slaw. Duffy's is not much to look at. But I've been there a couple of times this Summer and the servers are always welcoming and friendly. The new guy has sure given the menu a face lift. Three new BBQ places in Salem this year! Life is good!

Melissa said...

My co-workers and I eat at Duffy's once a week. We always get the BBQ. Jimmy is amazing with his smoking skills!! We always get wonderful service. Kudos to Jimmy and Gary!! Thank you for making our work lunches awesome!! :)

Steve Babcock said...

Vegan's Nightmare,

I work just down the street from Duffy's and go to lunch there once to twice a week with a group from work. The BBQ is out of the world great and it is pit cooked and not cooked in a kitchen. The grill master is just that..A Master. I love all the meat I have had from the BBQ and have told many people to try it and they have with the same conclusion that it is great BBQ. I recommend if you are going to truly evaluate an experience of food and an establishment, then you should eat at the place and not take it to go and then evaluate. This may result in a soggy bun. Everybody needs to try Duffy's for the BBQ as well as the great atmosphere and entertainment.

Steve Babcock

Anonymous said...

Since Gary has taken over Duffy's I have made a point to have lunch there at least once a week. The menu has been much improved and the food is to die for. The cooks do well with everything from the salads to the burgers. Jimmy B is a master on the BBQ. The sauce is nearly perfect and the meat is unbelievably tender. All the BBQ items are delicious but the pulled pork sandwich is especially amazing. The meat is BBQ'd to perfection and deliciously complimented with the smokey baked beans. Definitely a great place to try out if you enjoy great BBQ!

Duffy's Hangar is a great restaurant to stop and have lunch with co-workers or have after-work drinks. The music is great in the evenings and the environment is laid-back and comfortable during the day. Gary Bennett has done a fabulous job since he has taken over ownership at Duffy's and I look forward to more exciting changes in the upcoming months.

Anonymous said...

New owners name is Gary Bennett~

Spank said...

I went to the Hangar last week for the first time to try out the bbq. I was lured in by the red bbq signs and I am happy to report that it rocked my world!!! Seriously, the rub used was the best ever!!! The meat was super tender and juicy. I will be back for sure!!!

Vegan's Nightmare said...

Look at these comments! I love it! So much passion around BBQ! Clearly, Duffy's has a dedicated following.

@Steve, I promise I will try it again while eating there and I'll follow up this review.

I'm thrilled that it's BBQ and not Thai that has the opportunity to cause a "who's the best in Salem" controversy.

Chuck Bradley said...

VN, I've been bemoaning the dearth of BBQ in Salem here and on other foodie sites for a while. I've driven to Bomack's in Albany and even made the 180 mile round trip to Pig Feathers in Toledo (touted by some as home of the best in the state) specifically for the purpose of trying their ribs. So far, I don't see that they have a thing on I had from Duffy's last night!

Steve Babcock said...

Hey Vegan's Nightmare,

Thanks for the reply on eating it there. I think it's a better experience for the food and also checking out the place which is pretty awesome. Usually as I walk in, I'm almost ran into by the grill master taken another seasoned piece of raw meat..huge cut of course out to the pit. I almost got ran over by a 15+ pound prime rib on Friday. I was bummed I didn't get back to try that.

Anonymous said...

As a Tennessean/BBQ snob/Oregon newcomer, I've found that I want to slowkick everyone in the pants who says "BBQ" when really they mean "cook out" which is what apparently many people around here say. So when I've passed that stake-in-the-ground BBQ sign while driving down the road near Duffy's, I've completely dismissed it because I thought perhaps someone was having a sweet little grill-em-up in the park or something. LAST time I drove by, I did notice the smoker, which is indeed a good sign, but seriously: green onions? on meat? whaaat? that may be just enough to keep me from going in (OK, truthfully, we always go into Q restaurants anyway, even though we know it will be an experience that induces severe homesickness/disgust.)

There's a spot outside of Vida, called the Wagon Yard, that produced a nice pulled pork but uninteresting ribs. We had decent-but-not-to-die-for Russell Street BBQ in Portland.. Nowhere in Salem has come close (don't even get me STARTED on the 2009 State Fair BBQ and Brew "Festival" - it makes my eyeball twitch just thinking about it.)

Sorry, rant over. I will try this Duffy's. Thanks for the tip.

C

Capt. Jim Desch said...

Well this comment is about 3 or maybe 4 (or more)things but let me preface my statements.

Steve Babcock a gent that posts on this web (& no photo) about his (or her??) hard to tell these days, his review about eating establishments and drinking (he LOVES ROB, sorry he is married) places.

My concern is that in these hard time it is “webnicks” (my word) like this that are contributing to the loss of private sector jobs…and sadly they are not AWARE that they are RESPONSIBLE. Ah but they are… I will explain below.

I have been in the Salem area since 1960 and have been in every restaurant, bar, fast food joint, low life hang out that has been around. I feel that at 68 years old I have invested a LARGE amount of money and time in this investigation of Salem’s day and NIGHT life.
My first question (comment #1) is how long has expert STEVE been on the job?? Not a clue, didn’t find a resume or a picture of this guy on the net…but I will admit I just learned to text this year so I could have missed it.

Now to the MEAT, (comment #2). I too had seen the BBQ signs off of McGilcrest at Duffy’s and was curious, but unaware that there was a new owner (not hip enough to know all as STEVE does) so I thought I should stop by, someday and take a look. I have several friends (check Facebook) and one told me that Duffy’s had a new owner. Wallaha!! the signs, da…(I never said that age brings brilliance) So I loaded up the wife and told her we were going to TEXAS for BBQ (A friend had been there)

Now a qualification, I do know BBQ, have partaken of the BBQ in probably 30 states and have been a JUDGE at BBQ contests (they call them cook offs) more times than I have fingers, maybe add in the toes. Now comment #3… that does NOT make ME the EXPERT that STEVEN is but I feel that I do know a pot boiled rib in Fred Meyer sauce from a nice DEEP to the BONE “smoke ring”. The question? does STEVEN, my opinion NOPE!!

So I walked in, introduced myself (unlike STEVEN I bet) and was given a nice cold beer (which I paid for, dang it) as I waited for the pulled pork. MAN o MAN it was unexpected by me …here in Salem. I have had Adams Ribs, Wooden Nickel and several others, but it is all below what I was looking for. I do not know what STEVEN had, nor do I really care as the only opinion that has value is MINE and for you that read this DRIBBLE it should be ONLY YOURS.

So comment #4...Jimmy the BBQ man (bet U didn’t know that STEVEN) has a true love of the ART of BBQ and fully understands that if HE can’t eat it no one else will either. He has the gear, know how and without a doubt the TALENT to produce some of the best BBQ that you will be lucky to fine in this town.

Oh well comment #5…Gary the new owner has my sincere thanks for putting his hard earned money, time, sweat, sleepless nights and all else that goes with the gamble of turning on the lights every morning, and providing a menu that is above the NORM!!

Vegan's Nightmare said...

@Anon the Tennessean: Although a bit harsh, I have to say I agree with much of your comment. All I ask is that you go with an open mind. This is a new owner who's trying something new, so give them a chance! And Russell St. is exactly as you say - good, but not to-die-for. Honestly, the best BBQ I've had in Portland was a guy who smoked meats and sold them out of his Mom's bookstore/cafe. His ribs were 4-star and he made sweet-potato cheesecake that WAS to-die-for. A real diamond in the rough.

@Chuck If you haven't already, try Tuff Ranch BBQ at McNary.

@Capt. Jim: Uh yeah.

Rebekah said...

Um. I'm confused. Is Steve claiming to be an expert? I thought it was just an opinion on a restaurant he clearly enjoys. Did I miss something on another post or something?

Anonymous said...

Salem Man -- comments here wait for approval before being posted. How did Capt Jim's get through? At 68 he must be too senile to make any sense at all. We don't need this here. He can troll somewhere else.

-guitar4me

Chuck Bradley said...

VN, I tried Tuff Ranch in early June. I had a Pulled Pork Sandwich. The sauce was very sweet and apparently the only option. My server was pure joy. Her name was Lindsey and just made the experience. I held off on reviewing TR here until I've taken the time to try their ribs. Apart from mentioning more sauce choices would be nice, I'll say no more until I've woofed on some ribs. Stay tuned. More to come.

KandN said...

Guitar4me, I'm kind of hoping that Capt. Jim shows up on the next April Fool's Day. There's just something about his comment ...

Anonymous said...

VN, tell me more about this bookstore friend! We're aiming to try Duffy's this weekend, I think.

We also tried Tuff Ranch and were underwhelmed, although their mac and cheese was tasty.

My mom (a memphis in may judge, she was on a team while i was growing up that was written up in vogue! so bbq was a big deal in our house) has taken to overnighting us BBQ from Memphis on holidays just to ease the pain.. My husband and I have batted around the idea of doing a BBQ cart, but it's just a pipe dream for now.

Onward to Q! and beer festival!!

C

Anonymous said...

Allllright - we did Duffy's this afternoon after the Salem Beer and Cider Festival (which was a great value, by the way! lots of good brews, but why wasn't it outside? whine whine whine.) We maybe had a different experience than VN, but still enjoyed the food - probably some of the best BBQ that I've had since moving to OR, although we still yearn for the good ol' pork from home.

I did ribs and actually liked the sauce - I think that was one of the big dealbreakers for me with Oregon barbecue since we've been here, the fact that the sauces have been either overly sweet or just completely uninteresting. The sauce here had some tang to it, but it wasn't too sweet and it wasn't overwhelming. The ribs were TOUGH. I had to saw through them, which you should never (ever) have to do. The meat was tasty. Very chewy, but tasty. I thought it had a nice smokiness, but my husband actually thought the smoke to be a little overwhelming. Sides were unremarkable (sweet cornbread? again, that gets a "whaaaat!" from me, a la aunt linda's movie reviews on weekend update. just say no to sweet cornbread!) and they also served garlic bread(!!!!!?) with the ribs, which was just weird. And again with the green onions. Baked beans were strangely flavored but I couldn't stop eating them, so I guess they were pretty good.

Hubs had a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw. Meat was chewy and undersauced. I didn't like it, but he said it was OK. I'm glad I went for ribs.

We paired it up with a Deschutes Jubelale (yum) and a Rogue Dead Guy. Overall a tasty meal (for me, at least) but I'm looking forward to plowing through some southern pork at Christmastime. Martin's BBQ in Nolensville, Tennessee, that's our joint.

More Oregon BBQ suggestions, plz.

C

Chuck Bradley said...

I had lunch at Duffy’s today with my pal Kelly Bowen (Top notch plumber and remodeler). We both had Ribs. (I’m in a rib rut when it comes to Duffy’s) I had Slaw and Baked Beans as my sides. The slaw was a little soggy but the Beans were so thick and tasty I could have made a meal on them alone. My ribs were fantastic, as always. A nice dinner roll came with the meal. I forgot to ask for my sauce on the side today. The ribs here are so good they really don’t need much, if any, sauce. Our server Debbie was there for us, but not over-present. Duffy's is always on my short list when I'm thinkin' Que!