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LI Pour House review: Barbecue restaurant offers craft beers, slow-smoked dishes in Port Jefferson Station

Smoked fried chicken with Carolina coleslaw, sweet potato

Smoked fried chicken with Carolina coleslaw, sweet potato fries, roasted root vegetables and cornbread at LI Pour House in Port Jefferson Station. Credit: Daniel Brennan

LI Pour House is tapping into a thirst for something novel. Here, not only will you find an ever-changing array of craft beers and cider, you also get to pour your own. Register with your server and receive a glass wrapped in a bracelet, to be scanned at any of 20 taps lined up along one wall. Sample as much or as little of what you’d like; you will be charged by the ounce. In contrast, wine lovers will find only a short, generic list of by-the-glass options.

But there’s more than drink to draw you to this lively spot, with multiple TV screens, a pool table and even a live music scene. The biggest attraction, though, is chef/co-owner Joseph Festinger’s slow-smoked BBQ. Festinger learned his craft in Atlanta from competitive BBQ champ Myron Mixon. He turns out a first-rate version of burnt ends — juicy, smoky chunks of brisket lightly daubed with BBQ sauce. A trio of sliders feature pulled pork, brisket and pulled dark meat chicken, everything moist and smoky. Another appetizer, wings with Buffalo chipotle sauce, works well, too.

In an ingenious move, chicken thighs are smoked and then fried, crisping the skin nicely. Although deeply smoky baby back ribs are a bit overcooked, they’re very tender, the meat falling into shreds. BBQ glazed shrimp aren’t actually smoked but rather sautéed and finished with BBQ sauce. Not bad, just not that exciting.

On the menu are juicy burgers, plain and fancy. And crazy ornate hot dogs, the favorite crowned with bacon and mac and cheese.

That opulently creamy al dente mac and cheese, as well as a bright pickled cabbage slaw, top the list of sides. Fries — sweet potato, waffle and tater tots- are previously frozen variety. Bypass the overwrought baked beans made with peaches and way too many other ingredients. Corn muffins, made with canned creamed corn, are very sweet; one day, they’re moist; another, somewhat gummy.

Cinnamon pretzel churros, the only-house made dessert, are cold and dry, surpassed by a gluten-free chocolate cake resembling fudge.

So, yes, there are a few details that need work. Order strategically, though, and you can tap into some great brews and ’cue.

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