Every New England pit master has a story of how he came to serve what Rob Ryder, owner of the Cookhouse, calls “America’s favorite country food.’’ In business since May 1997, Ryder says, “I grew up with my dad on the grill.’’ In honor of his father, Thomas, “a real Southern country gentleman’’ of significant girth, Ryder calls his meats “Fat Tommy’s Slo-Smoked Barbecue.’’ Although the Cookhouse prepares two styles of pork ribs (baby backs and the meatier St. Louis cut slab), the signature barbecue is a tomato-based pulled pork. “We smoke whole pork butts, pull the meat, and let people choose their sauce when we serve it,’’ Ryder explains. “We offer a Carolina vinegar sauce, but most people go for the tomato.’’
31 Danbury Road, New Milford, Conn. 203-948-5999, www.thecookhouse.com. Open daily for lunch and dinner. $17.99-$23.99.