Your guide to BBQ joints in Boston, New York and everywhere in between

 

 

 

Recent Features:

Boston BBQ Rankings

NYC BBQ Rankings

Salvage vs Elsmere

Dinosaur Stamford CT

Danielle Niles interview

2013 Wings Rankings

6 Tips for Shake Shack

 

 

Recent BBQ Reviews:

Mo Gridder's Bronx NY

Mason Jar NYC

Buck's Naked Portland ME

Taste of Texas Bennington NH

Bear's Windsor CT

4 Points BBQ Winterport ME

Mainely Meat on Main

Ellsworth ME

BBQ Red Wappingers Falls NY

Tres Carnes NYC

Kinfolks Award Winning BBQ Brockton MA

Cask 'n' Flagon Boston MA

P&P Soul Food & BBQ

Brockton MA

BBQ Guy Truck Dover NH

Lonestar Empire Brooklyn NY

Fink's Smokehouse

Dumont NJ

Goody Cole's Smokehouse

Brentwood NH (update)

Phil's Old Fashioned BBQ

Milford NH

Wicked Awesome BBQ

East Thetford VT

Route 4 Country Store

White River Junction VT

Mable's Smokehouse

Brooklyn NY(update)

Vermont Maple BBQ Randolph VT

Summer Shack Dedham MA

Sista's BBQ Brunswick ME

BrisketTown Brooklyn NY

Smokestack Urban BBQ

Worcester MA (update)

Fletcher's Brooklyn NY

Blue Ribbon Arlington MA

Slater's Bolton MA

The Farm Manchester NH

Joff's Backyard Grill

Bellingham MA

Lester's Roadside BBQ

Burlington MA (update)

Ducks Eatery NYC

Ladder 133 Providence RI

Mighty Quinn's NYC

Firebox BBQ Bedford MA (update)

Dickey's S. Portland ME

Beale Street Barbeque Bath ME

Bar Q Stamford CT

Sweet Cheeks Boston MA (update)

Knuckleheads Wallingford CT

Mama T's Rutland VT

Binga's Stadium

Portland ME (update)

Wes' Rib House

Providence RI (update)

Smoke and Bones BBQ

Derby CT

Pit Stop BBQ Wakefield

Wakefield MA

Beach Deck BBQ Seabrook NH

Rockhouse BBQ & WIngs

Manchester CT

Kit Kat's Smoked BBQ

Pawcatuck CT

Harley's Smokeshack NYC

3 Guys Basement BBQ Hanover NH

Prohibition Pig Waterbury VT

Cider House BBQ Waterbury VT

HanBones Hamden CT

Redbones Somerville MA (update)

People's Pint Greenfield MA

East Ender Portland ME

Memphis BBQ & Blues Milford NH

Parker's Maple Barn Mason NH

Commonwealth BBQ

Wrentham MA

Virgil's NYC (update)

Yellow Rose BBQ

Willimantic CT

Texas BBQ Company

Northborough MA (update)

Firefly's

Marlborough MA (update)

Nicky's Beer Garden BBQ

Bronx NY

Back Forty West NYC

Abigail's Cambridge MA

Arnie's Place Concord NH

Blue Smoke NYC (update)

Beauford's Hillsborough NH

Fette Sau Brooklyn NY (update)

Saw Mill Dracut MA

LJ's BBQ Pawtucket RI (update)

Scratch Kitchen Salem MA

Butcher Bar Queens NY

Pies 'n' Thighs Brooklyn NY

 

 

 

Burger Reviews:

Brew City Worcester MA

Shake Shack Chestnut Hill MA

Trade Boston MA

The Sinclair Cambridge MA

Lincoln Tavern S. Boston MA

The Brindle Room NYC

Coney Island Worcester MA

Craigie On Main Cambridge MA

Elevation Burger S. Portland ME

Bobby's Burger Palace

Burlington MA

Oak Long Bar Boston MA

Met Back Bay Boston MA

Burger Dive Somerville MA

Shake Shack Connecticut

Farmstead Table Newton MA

M3 Somerville MA

RF O'Sullivan & Son Somerville MA

Grass Fed Jamaica Plain MA

Catalyst Cambridge MA

Happy's Boston MA

Louis Lunch New Haven CT

Nosh Portland ME

Brick Wall Burger

Greenfield MA

JM Curley Boston MA

Shake Shack NYC

Grumpy White's Quincy MA

Wahlburgers Hingham MA

Abigail's Cambridge MA

Eastern Standard Boston MA

Firebrand Saints

Cambridge MA

Griddler's Boston MA

BGR Burger W. Hartford CT

The Gallows Boston MA

Max Burger W. Hartford CT

Gilley's PM Lunch

Portsmouth NH

Lexie's Joint Portsmouth NH

The Boynton Worcester MA

Plan B W. Hartford CT

White Hut W. Springfield MA

Russell House Tavern

Cambridge MA

Burgers, Shakes & Fries

Greenwich CT

Five Napkin Burger

Boston MA

The Butcher Shop Boston MA

Ritual Worcester MA

Scholars Boston MA

Corey's Catsup & Mustard Manchester CT

Radius Boston MA

Back Bay Social Club Boston MA

Harry's Bar & Burger Providence RI

Beehive Boston MA

Lord Hobo Cambridge MA

Towne Boston MA

 

Other Reviews:

Katz's Delicatessen NYC

Fogo de Chao Boston MA

Frank Pepe's Pizzeria

New Haven CT

Donna's Donuts

Tewksbury MA

 

Older Features:

John Brown Smokehouse

Fatty Cue First Visit Recap

Blackstrap BBQ opening

Damon Amendolara interview

Dinosaur Harlem's new digs

BT's Smokehouse opening

2009 Wings Rankings

2009 Chili Rankings

Phantom BBQ Beach Party '09

Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Phantom BBQ Beach Party '08

Nick Solares Interview

Inner Beauty Hot Sauce

Hog Pit vs Hill Country

NY vs Boston

How To Be A Good Waiter

Jake Jacobs at Roadhouse

NY is Boston, Boston is NY

Chris Hart interview

Wildwood review rebuttal

Blue Ribbon commissary

Chris Schlesinger interview

 

 

 

 

Joints by Region:

 

Boston metro BBQ

Boston 'burbs BBQ

Massachusetts BBQ

 

New York City BBQ

Brooklyn BBQ

Long Island BBQ

Hudson Valley BBQ

New Jersey BBQ

 

Rhode Island BBQ

Connecticut BBQ

 

Vermont BBQ

New Hampshire BBQ

Maine BBQ

 

 

 

BBQ by City:

(coming soon)

 

Albany NY

Arlington MA

Augusta ME

Bay Shore NY

Boston MA

Bridgeport CT

Brockton MA

Brookline MA

Brooklyn NY

Burlington MA

Burlington VT

Cambridge MA

Concord NH

Edison NJ

Elizabeth NJ

Fairfield CT

Framingham MA

Hartford CT

Lowell MA

Manchester NH

Massapequa NY

Merrick NY

Milford CT

Montpelier VT

Nashua NH

New Haven CT

New London CT

Newton MA

Newport RI

New York NY

Northampton MA

Norwalk CT

Norwood MA

Nyack NY

Patchogue NY

Peabody MA

Plymouth MA

Portland ME

Portsmouth NH

Poughkeepsie NY

Providence RI

Queens NY

Revere MA

Saratoga Springs NY

Somerville MA

Southington CT

Springfield MA

Stamford CT

Waltham MA

Waterbury CT

White Plains NY

Woburn MA

Worcester MA

Yonkers NY

 

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Archive - October 2013

 

 

(10/26/13)

Site Talk: Unendorsable

Last week I received an inquiry from one of those new restaurant search sites looking to place an ad on PigTrip. They targeted PigTrip specifically, the rep said, because it has a strong Brooklyn presence.

Being both curious and wary of placing an ad for an outfit I might not want to indirectly endorse, I decided to give this site a test drive. I did a search on barbecue restaurants in Brooklyn and got some interseting results. Where was Fette Sau—probably the most well known barbecue joint in Brooklyn based on quality and longevity—on this list? Not at the top, not anywhere. How about BrisketTown, the current media darling? Nowhere. How about Fletcher's or Mable's, both relatively new but well established? Nope. Smoke Joint or Pies 'n' Thighs, both visible via segments on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives? No and no. Much publicized newcomers Hometown BBQ, Beast of Bourbon or Morgan's? Stink. Stank. Stunk.

I sent a few questions back but never heard from him again. Probably left his job if the paychecks were as reliable as the search results.

 

 

 

 

 

(10/23/13)

Worcester Burgers: Brew City Reviewed

Time for another burger review, this time for Brew City (Worcester MA), a pub with a deep burger menu and a do it yourself option.

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See my review for Brew City

 

 

 

 

(10/18/13)

Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning

five states. This time there are fourteen new joints, one contraction, one definite closing, two likely closings and one new website.

 

NEW JOINTS and/or NEW TO THE DIRECTORY

  • Morgan's Brooklyn Barbecue (Brooklyn NY) is a Prospect Heights joint with a couple of things going for it: pitmaster John Avila is an alum of Franklin Barbecue in Austin and the pit is a J&R. Facebook

  • The Cecil (NYC) is a new "Afro-Asian-American brasserie" in Harlem from former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Richard Parsons. The chic space has an inventive transglobal menu whose smoked items include pork ribs, turkey and duck. I also have my eye on some of the upscale soul presentations as well as a wagyu rib burger. www.thececilharlem.com

  • CityRib Barbeque (Queens NY) is a Jamaica joint that's "all about the sauce," according to their website. The menu features babybacks, spares and beef shortribs, as well as the standards of brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken. The specialty cocktail list is deep and interesting. Thanks to Eater's Robert Sietsema for alerting me to this joint via a recent article. www.cityrib.com

  • Depot Sports Grille (Pepperell MA) has the look, at least according to their website, of a generic morph of sports bar, 1970s-style barbecue joint and Applebee's style chain restaurant. A recent Groupon deal description syas it "specializes in barbecue with pulled pork and ribs smoked onsite," while the online menu confirms only the ribs and lists brisket as "slow roasted." The something-for-everyone menu also offers burgers, pizza, subs, calzones and nine different salads. One of these days, I might try it, setting expectations accordingly. Thanks to Steve for the lead. www.thedepotsportsgrille.com

  • Double R Q (New Rochelle NY) is a husband and wife project aiming to mix traditional BBQ southern flavors with modern flair. Accordingly, the menu has the expected classics, plus burnt ends and smoked turkey, plus a wide appetizer roster that includes pig in a blanket and fried grit balls. Vegetarians will find this menu quite navigable. Thanks to Jason for the lead. www.doublerq.com

  • AOA Bar and Grill (NYC) is a restaurant inside the Hilton Garden Inn that offers house smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Thanks again to Groupon of all sources for alerting me to this one, as I saw it mentioned in a Groupon deal for the hotel. www.aoabarandgrill.com

  • Buckley's Great Steaks (Merrimack NH) is offering a weekly barbecue combo special, every Thursday night in the bar area only. Chef Charlie Cicero is an award winning competition cook, so he brings some of that competition feel to the standard ribs and whatever rotating meat (brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey) happens to share plate space with it that night. Thanks to the chef for letting me know. www.buckleysgreatsteaks.com

  • Standard Gastropub (Bridgton ME) is a converted gas station with the gas still there. The ambitious menu includes standard barbecue offerings plus some unusual breakfast sandwiches; they open at 8:00AM. Facebook

  • Bludini BBQ (Norwalk CT) is a new joint in the space tha once housed Jeff's Cuisine. The very deep menu has both beef and pork ribs, brisket, pork, ham, turkey, sausage,red hots, smoked chicken and "Smokafried" chicken. Facebook

  • It's All Good (Indian Orchard MA) is a Springfield barbecue and soul restaurant that's been open about a year. Thanks to LD for the lead. Facebook

  • Bobby Spur's Barbeque and Brews (Wallingford CT) is a 2-month old joint in what could be shaping up to be a nice little barbecue town.

  • Best Yet Market (NYC) is a regional supermarket whose Harlem outpost offers legit smoked meats by the pound. Thanks to Chuck for the lead, along with a recommendation. www.bestyetmarket.com/harlem.php

  • Fire 'n' Brew (Wells ME) is a new dinner-only restaurant on Mile Road just off Route 1. It's mostly new American with smoked fare limited to smoked wings and a pulled pork sandwich. www.firenbrew.com

  • Whistling Pig Smokehouse (Bangor ME) opens today with a menu that has everything I like. Both pork ribs and beef ribs? Check. Burnt ends? Check. Smoked wings? Check. Smoked meat chili? Check. Meats in flexible combos and by the pound? Check. Are they any good? I'll check it out. www.whistlingpigsmokehouse.com

CLOSINGS

  • Cherrywood Kitchen (NYC) closed, less than a year after it opened. Maybe the Asian fusion and highbrow concept was a little too highbrow for its own good.

  • Harley's Smokeshack (NYC) has closed its Midtown expansion within a year as well. The East Harlem original is still going full steam.

  • Gary's Rib House (New Milford CT) has apparently closed, claiming that they lost their lease.

  • Hanbone's (Hamden CT) appears to have closed. A recent Facebook post announced that the smoker and one of the principals are both now at Bobby Spur's. Whether that's a temporary situation until a new location gets lined up is not yet known.

 

OTHER CHANGES

  • Pride and Joy BBQ (NYC) still hasn't opened. Some recent activity within the building ended a dormant period caused by an ownership breakup (and inevitable lawsuits), but it's not known whether the barbecue component will still be there when it eventually opens.

  • Salvage BBQ (Portland ME) now has a website. www.salvagebbq.com

 

 

 

 

 

(10/14/13)

Brooklyn BBQ: First Look at Hometown BBQ Permalink

Hometown BBQ in Red Hook has been open only a month or so, but has quickly established itself as one of the heavyweights in the exploding Brooklyn barbecue scene. After studying barbecue with some of the medium's brightest stars, pitmaster Billy Durney has developed a multiregional and multicultural barbecue menu to appeal to varying tastes. I visited the former warehouse a few weeks into the operation and had one of my best meals of the year there. I'll keep the descriptions brief and let the photos do most of the talking until I follow this "first look" up with a full-fledged review after a few visits.

 

 

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Billy Durney handles the meat.

 

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Brisket, babybacks and pulled pork.

 

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A closer look at the brisket. You can see how voluminous and coarse that rub is, and the flexibility of the slice.

 

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A closer look at the brisket. As tender as it gets while still retaining structure. Juicy too, with fat rendered into lubricant.

 

18 more photos and more thoughts in the permalink

 

 

 

 

(10/08/13)

Maine BBQ: First Look at Portland Joints Salvage BBQ and Elsmere BBQ Permalink

Barbecue has come to Portland in a big way. Sure, Uncle Billy's left town, Beale Street begat The SoPo which be gone now, and Norm's Eastside begat the East Ender which is only part barbecue, as is Binga's Stadium. Then Buck's Naked moved in before the end of last year and two much-talked-about upstarts opened their doors by the end of this summer: Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill in South Portland and Salvage BBQ in Portland proper. I'll be visiting both at least one more time each before posting an official review, but here's my first take of a first meal at each.

 

Salvage BBQ

 

The Joint

 

Salvage BBQ, located across the street from a medical center and around the corner from where the Portland Seadogs play, has so many of the edgy elements associated with hipster barbecue that it looks like it could have dropped in from Brooklyn—and that's a compliment. I love the space: it's wide open with rows of communal picnic tables in the back and retro lounge sofas and space age tables up front. They make the perfect chill-out lounges for the hipsters-at-heart to whip out their modern gadgets and probably play a quick game of Bingogodz while waiting for the order. You wait in line and order from one clerk market style, pay another clerk, get your drinks at the long bar and they'll bring the 'cue out to you when it's ready. Gotta love the signage on the brick wall and the free parking out back.

 

 

The Food

 

Sausage: Ordered as a single link ($6), this sausage arrived as a bunch of slices instead, each  one a monotone bologna gray and each one somehow slimy and dry at the same time. Flavor was interesting. The meat had a gaminess that was a slight plus for me and a minus for my guest. Smoke was light, heat was more noticeable and sweetness found its way in there too—I guessed honey or maple, but it's brown sugar. Juiciness was absent. The casing not only didn't get crisp but was annoyingly tough. So overall, decent flavor and multilayered texture failings made this a below average sausage, and one that sat in the boat mostly uneaten.

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Brisket: One of the quirks of the menu is that there are no substitutions allowed. Since the brisket sandwich is described as consisting of chopped brisket, I asked if I could make a quasi substitution: sliced instead of chopped. I was (politely) rebuffed. So I called an audible and switched the order to a half pound of sliced ($17/lb). I was so thrilled to avoid the chopped that I forgot to make the distinction between moist and lean on the brisket, so they gave me lean by default. And boy did they default: this was some dry, gray meat, sliced super thin deli style. A pleasant mix of beefiness, sweetness and all-around body ensured that flavor held up its end of the bargain, lack of smoke notwithstanding, but lack of moisture, color and texture did this brisket in. Just as with the sausage, most of the slices sat uneaten.

 

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Pork: Oddly, a quarter pound ($14/lb) had the the same dry, gray appearance, but it wasn't too bad. While hardly bursting with (or even trickling) juices, this pork managed to avoid being completely dry and simultaneously delivered some nice pork flavor with smoke's first appearance of the night. A little of the table vinegar barbecue sauce gave it the nudge it needed to fully clear the moisture hurdle and brought out the smokiness too. With the sauce this pork was very doable.

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Ribs: We skipped ribs on the first visit, mostly because a) you have to commit to a half rack of them at minimum—a not so uncommon practice—and b) the ribs I saw on other customers' trays looked small and monotone.

Potato salad: Cubes of potatoes. Mayo. Not much else.

Collard greens: Another simple treatment kept the condiment restrained and the bitterness unbridled. Good texture.

Sauces: Two sauces grace the table on plastic squeeze bottles. The tomato-based one is very close to ketchup; the vinegar-based one is mostly tart.

 

 

 

 

Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill

 

The Joint

 

Elsemere, plunked into more of a suburban setting across the Casco Bay Bridge in South Portland, has tighter but more diverse seating, with booths, tables, outdoor tables, big stools at the neon-lit bar and more bar seats facing the signature wood grill. Here it's full service.

 

 

The Food

 

Wings: A sizeable order ($11 for 12 pieces) served sizeably plump wings whose black-pepper-studded skins burst open in places. Two flaws here: the skins could have been a lot crisper and the doneness was a little shy of done. That said, these wings were still very enjoyable thanks to the intense flavor of the rub (strong, coarse black pepper rather than just chile heat) and a smoky, chickeny, almost gamey interior. Moistness was nice too. With a few tweaks these could be worthy of a spot on the next Wings List.

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Ribs: A quarter rack of St Louis cut on the 3-meat combo ($23 with 2 sides and cornbread) brought average size and well-above-average rub quantity on the crusty surface. Smoke was moderate; rub and pork flavor were off the charts, making these ribs delicious. Texture didn't quite keep pace: although the meat tore and pulled off the bone easily, it was a bit chewy and dry. Overall, still satisfying thanks to the flavor component.

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Brisket: Here, the moisture was very evident. Some mid-thickness slices had plenty of give, good tenderness, flowing juices and a near melt-in-your-mouth quality without falling apart. Flavor wasn't lacking but light in beefiness and smoke. Rub was noticeable on the edges but less so at the interior.

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Pork: A pile on the 3-meat brought similar qualities to the brisket: tenderness and moistness excellent; flavor not lacking but light. Bark was impressive.

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Mac and cheese: It was moist enough and the macaroni was cooked properly, so it was enjoyable, but if someone handed this to me and asked me what it was, I'd say it was macaroni salad, not macaroni and cheese.

Beans: Big, puffy and plain, these beans lacked oomph but not originality. Definitely not out of a can.

Sauces: Two table sauces  in plastic squeeze bottles bring familiar flavors. The Kansas City style molasses sauce adds some heat to the equation. The mustard sauce is tangy, slightly sweet with a bite.

 

 

The Early Word

 

It's still quite early in the game, and Salvage and Elsmere both have a need for much improvement (both are struggling to supply good flavor and texture in the same bite), but both have potential across the board. For now I'm giving Salvage the edge for atmosphere and Elsmere the edge for food and service. I'll be back to both and rooting for both.

 

Yelp reviews of Salvage BBQ

Urbanspoon reviews of Salvage BBQ

 

Salvage BBQ on Urbanspoon

 

 

Yelp reviews of Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill

Urbanspoon reviews of Elsmere BBQ & Wood Grill

 

Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

Permalink to this article

 

 

 

(10/06/13)

New York BBQ: Mo Gridder's Reviewed

The site's 297th barbecue review is for Mo Gridder's World Famous BBQ (NYC), a trailer operation that's received much press over the years. The auto body shop location is a novelty, but how's the food? Check out the review via the Reviews page, the link above or the red icons in the Joints directory.

See my review of Mo Gridder's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

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Pulled pork sandwich at Mill at 185, West Boylston MA.

 

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Brisket and ribs at BrisketTown, Brooklyn NY.

 

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Lamb belly banh mi at Hometown BBQ, Brooklyn NY.

 

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Pulled pork at Morgan's BBQ, Brooklyn NY.

 

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Brisket, pulled pork and ribs at Elsmere BBQ, Portland ME.

 

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Ribs at Salvage BBQ, Portland ME.

 

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Pulled pork sandwich at Firefly's, Marlborough MA.

 

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Ribs at BT's Smokehouse, Sturbridge MA.

 

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Smoked-then-fried wings at Sweet Cheeks, Boston MA.

 

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Pulled pork sandwich at Local 225, Bolton MA.

 

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Brisket Mini at BT's Smokehouse, Sturbridge MA.

 

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Ribs at Lester's, Burlington MA.

 

 

 

Got a question or comment about this site? Got a BBQ joint lead?

Please feel free to contact me: GARYatPIGTRIPdotNET

 

 

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