Slow-Cooked Barbecue Meets the Wild West at Wagon Train BBQ in Schenectady
Just as settlers traveled west many years ago, families have continued to make the trip to Wagon Train BBQ for a taste of their perfectly cooked ribs, brisket, and other barbecue favorites. This Wild West-themed restaurant is located just 10 minutes from downtown Schenectady, and the old covered wagon by the entrance lets you know that your taste buds are about to go on a journey. Saddle up with us and find out what makes Wagon Train BBQ worth the visit in the Capital Region.
Howdy Partner! Welcome to Wagon Train - Where the Family Can Feel Like a Cowboy
From the Wild West decor to the mouthwatering food and warm hospitality, Wagon Train BBQ is all about providing an amazing dining experience for their guests. The owner, Rich Frederick, told us that he grew up with a love for barbecue and has been involved in the food industry since he was 18. His passion is cooking, and when Rich decided to move on from his construction job, he worked with business partner Frank Del Gallo to open Wagon Train BBQ in 2011.
As you drive up to the restaurant, you'll see life-size horse-drawn wagons on the lawn, statues of farm animals, and mannequins dressed in western attire - reminiscent of the American frontier. Step inside the building, and you'll be greeted by a mannequin modeled after John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn and a dining room filled with muskets, pictures of famous outlaws on the walls, and other memorabilia.
The unique decor was already at the property as part of Del Gallo's personal collection, but it was incorporated into the new restaurant to give it a western-style atmosphere both indoors and out. When combined with the slew of flavorful barbecue dishes and classic sides like settlers (baked) beans, you have the recipe for a memorable meal with the family.
Note: As of January 2021, dine-in service is temporarily paused, but you can call or visit the restaurant to order takeout. Delivery is also available via DoorDash.
Sink Your Teeth Into Barbecue That's Cooked to Perfection
You've feasted your eyes on the restaurant, and now it's time to get an inside look at what kinds of food you can expect at Wagon Train BBQ. Naturally, barbecue is their specialty, and their pitmasters use a hickory pit smoker to produce tender brisket, delectable pulled pork, and seasoned racks of ribs that will leave you wanting more.
According to Rich, their style of barbecue is, "Not specifically Southern, not Kansas City, not Memphis - we adapted to what we feel people wanted around here. Our meat is not overly smoked - we want people to taste the meat!"
The restaurant serves loin back ribs that you can order with or without their signature homemade sauce, juicy burgers with a western theme (the Wyatt Earp Burger, the Tombstone Burger, and the Annie Oakley Burger, to name a few), BBQ sandwiches, platters, combo dishes, and more. All of their barbecue meals come with fresh cornbread and your choice of one side, including options like collard greens, creamy cole slaw, and settlers beans.
It's the "Best BBQ in the Capital District," said one Tripadvisor reviewer. "I ordered the Wyatt Earp burger and both the burger and brisket were cooked to perfection. The brisket was perfect, I've always had bad luck with brisket and it's been dry every time I order it elsewhere - including Texas. But here it was not dry and very good!"
Note: This photo was taken prior to 2020-2021 and does not reflect current social distancing requirements
The menu has something for every member of the family, and your food will be served quick and with a smile by the Wagon Train's friendly and dedicated staff. You won't be disappointed!
Can You Conquer the Graveyard Burger Challenge?
One reason many people know about Wagon Train BBQ is because it's home to the famous Graveyard Burger, a 5-pound mammoth menu item that comes with a 1-pound beef patty, 8oz of mac and cheese, 8oz of brisket, 8oz of pulled pork, bacon, cheese, a fried egg, and more. It's the focus of the restaurant's epic Graveyard Burger Challenge - if you can finish the entire meal in 30 minutes, then you get a t-shirt, your photo on the wall, and the "burger" for free. However, potential challengers should note that the Graveyard Burger Challenge is currently on hold due to the pause on indoor dining at the restaurant.
Even if you're not up for the challenge, you can still share a Graveyard Burger among a small group and see just how daunting yet delicious it is.
Enjoy Every Bite at This Local Barbecue Destination
Although Wagon Train BBQ is open for just takeout/delivery until further notice, they typically offer indoor dining and seasonal patio dining, which adds a backyard BBQ feel to the dining experience. The restaurant offers a variety of food specials, discounts to first responders every day of the week, and they even host fundraisers for schools, veterans, fire departments, and more local organizations.
When asked what his favorite part of operating Wagon Train is, Rich said, "Being able to show your love through food. You don't make too much money doing it, but there's nothing better than seeing people smile as you live your passion."
Are you ready to satisfy your barbecue cravings? You can call or visit Wagon Train in person for takeout, or order online via DoorDash today!