LANSING, W.Va. -- The New River Gorge offers more than whitewater rafting these days, and those canopy-soaring, kayaking, fishing, paintball-shooting, mountain-biking, rock-climbing or rappelling folks work up a powerful hunger.
At Adventures on the Gorge, the company formed when Class VI-Mountain River and Rivermen combined forces in 2008, Buffler's BBQ Grill joins the well-established Smokey's on the Gorge and Chetty's Pub to feed them.
Buffler's serves hearty fare of smoked brisket, baby back ribs, pulled pork and roasted chicken with plenty of traditional fixings. The menu boasts that Buffler's has the best barbecue in West Virginia, a moniker that won't make them popular with competitors.
The brisket and ribs are smoked over applewood, under the careful watch of Chris Shuff, who studied with world barbecue champion Mryon Mixon from Jack's Old South. The secret of successful smoking, he learned, is to use sweet wood and a spicy rub. Shuff developed his own blend of 15 spices and herbs.
The restaurant's name is a nod toward an old word for mountain men, according to Chef Larry Poli, food and beverage director. "The mountain men and the river men had a great relationship," Poli said. "They needed each other because they used the river to transport the mountain's products." It's safe to assume that they also had big appetites.
Breakfast and dinner buffets are served daily at Buffler's open-air pavilion. Breakfast is $10 for adults. Dinner is $18. Children 10 and younger dine for half price.
His crabcake secret: instead of bread crumbs, Poli soaks fresh bread, then mixes a bit in with jumbo lump crab meat, peppers, celery, onion, eggs and butter. The cakes must set up in the refrigerator before they're sautéed and served.
Monday Wing Night at Chetty's was popular with Deborah Davis of Charleston, who recently dined there during an extended family reunion. The 22-member Davis clan stayed in three of Adventure's cabins. They feasted on 3-for-$1 wings and experimented with various dipping sauces as they watched videos of the day's rafting adventures.