Wagon Train BBQ – Schenectady, NY
I use my facebook very sparingly. One day, my good real friend, Rory, sent me information of facebook about a restaurant called Wagon Train BBQ. He wanted me to agree to go there. It is located at 671 Mariaville Road, Schenectady, NY, which is a fairly far distance from my home in Latham, so I arranged this with Rory with great reluctance. The thought that was a saving grace was “Hey, it was only 20 minutes from work according to Google Maps.”
When I arrived, I was slightly skeptical due to a yellow sign that says “Fish Specials” out front; then I became rational for a very brief moment and realized this was their way of attracting people who don’t eat meat on Fridays during lent. When I walked in the restaurant, I was greeted by Rory at the front door. Directly ahead is the counter where you order your food, and a man was seated to the left of the register. A young lady was waiting at the register to take our order. Our end was to eat a burger called “The Tombstone,” something Rory read about in the Saratoga Gazette.
When we were placing our order for this menu item with the young lady, the man chimed in and told us we really wanted “The Graveyard” burger, which Rory and I saw on facebook with ambiguous details. More on this later. We just ordered Tombstone burgers, and the cook in the back yelled out, “you want me to fix them up with some fries and onion tanglers?” to which we obliged.
The Tombstone burger is described as “Black angus burger topped with pulled pork, bacon, KC BBQ, american cheese, fried egg, and coleslaw on a toasted hard roll,” and sells for $9.95 or $10.95 with fries. The menu contains many other BBQ favorites, such as brisket, ribs, chicken, and smoked sausage, either served as sandwiches or platters.
The place is set up as a pay and take establishment. There are a few tables, but there’s no waited service per sé. As we made our way to the lower tables in the restaurant, a man wearing a hospital identification band was eating at one of the higher tables. He almost forcefully made conversation with us. We came to learn he was indeed not an employee at the restaurant but was just a very loyal customer. He was very complimentary about the food, and became excited when Rory and I showed interest in coming back for The Graveyard.
While we waited, we were looking around, admiring some of the things around the place. There are things such as lights made out of deer antlers, pieces of wood with western patterns burned into them, caricatures of people on Wanted posters on the walls, and other things that give the ambiance of the old west. It’s kind of fun if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m not.
When our burgers arrived, we looked at them in awe. I immediately could tell that it was a fork and knife job, but Rory relented and tried picking it up. The burger came out well cooked. I am a huge fan of their pulled pork. I’m not big on fried eggs; I don’t like eating the yolk on its own; I’ll eat scrambled eggs or omelettes all the live long day, but I’m not a fan of separate whites and yolks; I’m weird. The roll is something special. It’s almost like panini bread. The fries and onion tanglers were pretty standard. Insane amount of food for $11. I finished my burger and tanglers completely but wimped out on the fries and egg yolks; Rory wimped out on part of the burger and the fries.
I highly recommend eating here.
Enough about that.
It turns out that the man seated next to the register was the proprietor of the restaurant. He was pushing hard for us to do this graveyard challenge. While we were waiting (yes, before actually tasting food) I actually agreed to come back to take on the Graveyard. He was excited, but the man with the hospital identification band went bonkers. He kept yelling out “WE HAVE A CHALLENGER!” (in allcaps!, which I am told denotes yelling like a crazy, wild maniac).
I’ve had you in suspense long enough. I finally got the proprietor to explain to me what in the world the Graveyard Challenge is. Here we go: 1 lb (precooked weight) black agnus beef, 4 slices of bacon, 2 fried eggs, 6 slices of cheese, 1 lb of pulled pork, 1/2 lb of brisket, 1/2 lb of pulled chicken, coleslaw, mac and cheese, fried jalapeno coins, onion tanglers, and bbq sauce on a super-sized bun.
The challenge is that if you finish in 30 minutes along (the burger itself is rumored to weigh 5.5 lbs total) with an undisclosed amount of fries and onion rings, you get it for free, your picture taken and put on their “Wall of Fame,” a designated parking spot with your name literally on it for 30 days, and a t-shirt. If you fail, you have to pay the measly $24.95 the meal costs and get your picture taken and put on their “Wall of Shame.”
Like I said, I agreed to participate in the challenge. I have set a date: April 9 – 1:30PM. Friends of the blog are encouraged to come.
I’m no Adam Richman. I don’t do this for a living. I’m just a crazy dude who thinks it would be fun to go down trying.
What do you think? I can do this, right?