Backstage at Blue Ribbon's Offsite Commissary
It's been more than a year since my last visit to the Blue Ribbon commissary, so I checked in on the Saturday before Father's Day to catch all of the activity. "Father's Day is our second-busiest day of the year after the Super Bowl," said owner/pitmaster Geoff Janowski. With graduation parties added to the mix, I could see why there were dozens of catering orders being processed throughout the 5,000 square foot facility hidden on a back street in an industrial area of Newton, several miles from their flagship store on Washington Street.
It was a treat to watch their signature pork shoulders being removed from the smoker with a shovel, then dropped into large buckets. There was a minor explosion as each sphere of pork thudded into the pile, juices filling the tub. After enough pork accumulated, the shovel was used to chop the pork, right inside the tub.
If you've noticed that the brisket at Blue Ribbon tastes a little different lately, that's because they started using an all-natural Angus brisket two months ago. "We're happy with this product because they're hand selected with extra care given to the size, which means consistent cooking and consistent reheating at the restaurant," said Janowski. "We really like this cut because it's so much meatier at the flat," added Blue Ribbon General Manager Scott Gubitosi, who showed me a mammoth brisket from the walk-in.
As always, click the photos to view a larger image. Enjoy.
The offsite commissary, a few miles from the flagship.
Cornbread ready for weekend catering jobs and restaurant use.
Boneless pork butts in the smoker, ready to come out.
Hernan Herrera uses a shovel to unload the pork from the smoker.
The shovel is also used to chop the pork. That's where the boneless comes in handy.
Sauce is added only as the pork is heated prior to each job's distribution.
A closer look at the final Blue Ribbon pork.
Geoff Janowski wields the shovel to remove a smoked brisket.
Brisket in the tub, resting before slicing.
Brisket being sliced.
Brisket sauced before distribution.
Ribs get loaded into the smoker, which will run into the night to meet the weekend's demand.