Archive - November 2009
Brooklyn BBQ, Montreal BBQ: Mile End to Bring Montreal Style Smoked Brisket to Brooklyn
New York Magazine this week published one of the most mouth watering brisket photos I have ever seen in their brief preview of Mile End, a mini-delicatessen that's a few weeks away from opening in Brooklyn (more deets in the link below). I'm not the kind who just steals photos, so you'll have to click the link to see what I'm talking about. Tell me you wouldn't want to eat this.
Boston BBQ: SoulFire's Jason Tremblay Demonstrates How To Make Spicy Honey Wings
SoulFire BBQ (Allston MA) has not only a capable pitmaster but also a budding Food Network star in Jason Tremblay. In this video for How 2 Heroes, Tremblay prepares spicy barbecue wings with complete ease in front of the camera. Note that the preparation is geared to the home cook, so the cooking methods in the video do not reflect the superior smoked-then-fried rendition available nightly at the restaurant.
Boston BBQ: Blue Ribbon Introduces Game Day Menus With Whole Pork Butts, Smoked Wings, Rib Tips, Chili
Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q (W. Newton MA and Arlington MA) has just added some "Game Day" packages that feed 6 to 8 people. Normally I don't post about special deals (and I took a break from posting Thanksgiving offers this year), but when those deals introduce new menu items, that's grounds for an exception.
North Carolina Pig Pickin' ($59.99) is a do-it-yourself kit that includes a whole 5-6-lb pork butt ready for pulling, along with quarts of beans and slaw, homemade pickles and three sauces.
Southwest Snack Attack ($79.99) includes 2 quarts of brisket chili, 30 jumbo smoked chicken wings (hot honey garlic or Jamaican jerk) with pints of salsa and sour cream, a half pint of jalapenos and a 2-lb bag of tortilla chips.
Big Three ($99.99) includes 3 pounds of Kansas City rib tips, 2 pounds of hot sausage with onions and peppers, 30 jumbo smoked chicken wings (hot honey garlic or Jamaican jerk), a quart of beans, a quart of cole slaw or potato salad, a half pan of cornbread or whole loaf of white bread, homemade pickles and three sauces.
All of these packages are available any time, no matter when your game day is or what your game is, with 48 hours advance notice.
Chains and Clearly Not BBQ: Ribs at Hooters???
First, a disclaimer: I hate chains. And now, a second disclaimer: I hate the food at Hooters. That's not to say that Hooters doesn't have a certain, ahem, ambience that makes it tolerable for a visit, but I'd never think of ordering food at a place that accomplishes the near-impossible feat of making Applebee's come across as gourmet dining.
But last Sunday I embarked on a Long Island BBQ crawl with some friends from the area, so there was some context to justify my rare Hooters visit that actually included food. The first real stop on that crawl was Canz (Westbury NY), a locally-owned Hooters knock-off whose scantily clad female servers wear amply filled tanktops, knee high socks, Daisy Duke shorts and construction boots. This roadhouse makes my BBQ Joints Directory on the basis of their ribs and pulled pork, but more on Canz in a future post. Knowing that I'd be trying the ribs at Canz, it made sense to finally try the ribs at archrival Hooters East Meadow before officially kicking off the crawl.
For $8.99 you get a half dozen ribs topped with a huge pile of curly fries. I figured going in that the ribs wouldn't be smoked (and I wasn't proven wrong) and that they wouldn't be very good (ditto, but hear me out), but I was surprised by a few different things.
First, the cut of meat: these were spare ribs trimmed as I had never seen before, with all of the rib tip but only half of the bone that would normally be included in a St Louis cut rib. Maybe the other half would wind up up as riblets at the aforementioned Applebee's.
Second, the preparation: the flavor and consistency of the meat were both closer to an oven-cooked pork chop than a rib, but the crackly crisp texture suggested deep frying, so I later confirmed through a manager that the Hooters ribs are indeed deep fried and grilled with sauce. I give them some points for creativity.
And third, the texture and saucing: I was expecting limp, overcooked, oversauced, fall-off-the-bone ribs, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover firm but juicy ribs (I'm going to sidestep the tempting array of obvious double entendres here). And they had only the faintest application of sauce, which was surprisingly more tangy than sweet. That allows use of the Hooters tabasco pepper hot sauce, which is actually pretty good (though I should state for the record that I think the wings this sauce is usually served over, though trumpeted by Hooters supporters as a saving grace, are awful).
So were the ribs good? Not really, but better than expected (and sadly, better than a few Long Island BBQ joints I can think of). Would I order them again? No. Would I ever go back to Hooters? Sure, but only once in a while for drinks, not food, though I'm sure I'll try their pulled pork sandwich someday out of sheer curiosity.
Note that menus vary with location and that the ribs are not vailable at the Massachusetts and Connecticut Hooters locations I've investigated so far.
Boston, Not BBQ: Hell Nights at East Coast Grill, January 11-14
East Coast Grill (Cambridge MA) is known for its respectable barbecue, but it's more widely known for its seafood, its Equatorial cuisine and its infamously spicy Hell Nights introduced by owner Chris Schlesinger as a challenge to the there's-no-food-hot-enough crowd. The next go-'round is a quartet of Hell Nights on January 11, 12, 13 and 14. Reservations will be accepted starting today at 4:30, so get in while there are tables still available.
New Hampshire BBQ: Smoke Shack Opens Location at Mall of New Hampshire
Smoke Shack (Boscawen NH) now has a satellite location at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, as reported in the Hippo Press this week.
read the Hippo Press article on Smoke Shack BBQ
Boston BBQ: Blue Ribbon Celebrates 15 Years, Matches 15 Percent to 15 Charities
Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q (W. Newton MA and Arlington MA) is all about the number 15. This winter they'll be celebrating their 15th year in business and are commemorating that milestone by giving back to the communities that helped them achieve that success. From now through February 7th, 2010, Blue Ribbon will donate 15% of the total of your catering order to your choice of the 15 following charity organizations:
Mention this offer when ordering and specify which organization you would like to receive the donation. May not be combined with any other discount offer. To order, visit www.blueribbonbbq.com, call (617) 244-7427 or e-mail email@example.com.
Boston BBQ: A Triple Threat at SoulFire
One of the keys to any successful team is flexibility, as the Red Sox have demonstrated with Kevin Youkilis (equally adept at first base or third base) and Victor Martinez (who can catch, play first or DH). Over at the closest barbecue joint to Fenway, a recent personnel move at SoulFire has added similar flexibility and some tasty results. On some nights, you'll see Alana Baker helming the kitchen, filling in for pitmaster Jason Tremblay without missing a beat. On other nights, she's their newest server, able to make recommendations and answer ingredients-related questions effortlessly because she's made every dish. But her greatest contribution might be in her role as baker (sorry, Speed Racer, you're not the only one whose name and vocation are one and the same).
Over the last month or two, Baker has introduced cheesecake, pecan pie and sweet potato pie to the SoulFire desserts roster. The cheesecake, served with fruit, has a filling with a little more "give" than your average cheesecake, and a thicker, slightly salty crust that match perfectly. But the tour de force is her pecan pie, which is really more of a cross between a tart and a cookie. The miniature personal pan pie combines massive pecans and miniature chocolate chunks ("Fifteen per pie," notes Baker) with a boldly nutty stickiness and mouthfeel similar to a Linzer tart. The sweet potato pie's filling is even softer than the cheesecake, with autumnal flavors that complement the savoriness of the sweet potato.
Ironically, Baker studied nutrition at Johnson and Wales, so knowing what she knows, tastes her own creations only minimally. "I took up baking as a stress reliever." And she's unfazed by the positive reaction to the pecan pie in particular, claiming, "I still have ideas on how to improve it."
Massachusetts BBQ: BT's Smokehouse to Open Sit-down Restaurant in Sturbridge
BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA) last weekend made official its plan to relocate the trailer park take-out operation to a full-service restaurant in Sturbridge. The new restaurant will occupy the former Country Creamery ice cream shop on Route 20 across the street from Sturbridge Village.
A Southern Pride smoker, already in use at the Brimfield location, will provide increased capacity for the restaurant. Seating will include four booths, a few 2-tops and a half dozen ice cream parlor style stools at a counter facing an open kitchen. Televisions will be mounted at both ends of the room. A condiment station will offer an interactive testing laboratory for BT's barbecue sauces, hot sauces, house-made pickles and daring assortment of chile peppers and related offshoots. Beverages will include locally brewed Pioneer beer and root beer.
"I'm most excited about the display case," said owner/pitmaster Brian Treitman, who'll have more space to show off his culinary creativity (he's a classically-trained chef who's worked in some high end kitchens in Boston and the Napa Valley). "We'll have hot and cold smoked salmon, house cured bacon, smoked hams and turkey, bacon brittle and other seasonal specialties."
For the barbecued meats, Treitman envisions a core menu with additional specials that might include smoked game meats, a rotating sausage selection and anything else that strikes his fancy. Specials at the trailer park location have already included bison burgers and burgers stuffed with burnt ends, so look for a strong burger presence among the specials. The ice cream shop's existing menu board will be reconfigured to allow daily posting of the ever-changing barbecue offerings.
The increased space and additional equipment will expand the selection of sides, and Treitman already has a list of 30 new items for consideration with several definites: hand-cut fries, beer-battered onion rings, collards greens, macaroni and cheese, grits. Gumbo will soon join the already-existing chili as a winter warmer. Chopped salads will be available with choice of salmon or smoked meat.
Wings, available briefly at the Brimfield location, will be a featured appetizer at the restaurant, with varieties slated to include dry rubbed, barbecue, cider/bourbon glazed and an award winning, outside-the-box Buffalo wing. Fried chicken and catfish will also be emerging from the fry stations soon. And a permanent fixture on the appetizer menu will be Pig Newtons, a frequent BT's special that's a bundle of homemade dough stuffed with smoky pulled pork and figs. Although the shape and the savory component are departures from the classic Fig Newton, the mouthfeel and flavor from the figs and dough are dead on.
BT's environmental consciousness will continue at the new location: the takeout containers are made of bamboo, the forks are made from potato starch and the cups are made from corn starch.
The current target for the restaurant's opening is mid-to-late December. "I am really looking to having that roadside shack feel," says Treitman, "without having to work out
of the little box, as I have for the past 2-1/2 years." The satellite location at Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge will remain open and eventually convert to a tacqueria under Treitman's supervision.
New York BBQ: Southern Hospitality, Dr. BBQ Part Ways
PigTrip has learned that Ray Lampe, better known as "Dr. BBQ," is no longer affiliated with Southern Hospitality (NYC). The parting came within the last month, according to a barbecue forum post I read over the weekend. Based on Lampe's comments, the split appears to be amicable. For me, the 'cue there was up and down, but when the Doctor was in the house there were some good eats.
Now we'll see what direction the barbecue takes at the Upper East Side eatery. A better question might be whether the barbecue itself will even be a focalpoint, since there seems to be a greater emphasis on establishing Southern Hospitality as a watering hole.
Two other prominent New York pitmasters also within the last month ended their affiliations with their respective restaurants located on opposite sides of Manhattan. Greg Barry is out as pitmaster at Ruby's Famous BBQ Joint in East Meadow. And over at Bailey's Smokehouse in Blauvelt, pitmaster of three years Dave "Fink" Finkelstein is out.
New York City BBQ: Another Manhattan BBQ Crawl, Part 2
It's now a week past last Sunday's Manhattan BBQ crawl that included Blue Smoke, RUB and Hill Country. You couldn't ask for a more perfect day to walk around the city, and we had a good group of barbecue fanatics, backyard cooks, competition champions and barbecue restaurant pitmasters. The goals and underlying questions of the crawl have already been documented in part 1 (scroll down a few posts), so without further ado, let's get into the recap.
Barbecue Stop #1: Blue Smoke
One of the great things about a barbecue crawl is that you never know which places and things will impress and which will disappoint. Usually the things you think will shine fall a little short, yet some unexpected side dish or fallback item surprisingly upstages the rest. On Sunday, the beef ribs at Blue Smoke were the unexpected star of the day. It's no secret that of the three barbecue restaurants we visited, I slot Blue Smoke in the third position behind RUB and Hill Country, but I have nothing but praise and admiration for the beef rib we had at Blue Smoke that day.
The cut was both generous (a solid wall of meat as opposed to their previously sparse and bumpy nibbles) and lean, with none of the unwanted fat you sometimes see in a beef rib. The smoke ring was straight out of central casting. And most importantly, the beef ribs were very fresh tasting, with a nice outer crispness, no steaminess (their spares didn't avoid that sin) and a perfectly tender texture. The seasoning was quite aggressive, with more of a coarse black pepper component than I'd had at Blue Smoke previously. Although I prefer savory to sweet, I missed the hint of sweetness that I remember from previous Blue Smoke beef ribs, but I was quite impressed with what we were served at the unforgiving hour of 12:30PM.
Blue Smoke's chicken and waffles were the reason we were there, and unfortunately most of us were grossly underwhelmed. The waffles were decent, the syrup was ordinary, raspberry jam offered an alternative and two pats of herbed butter per waffle added a very nice touch. But the chicken itself—even though plenty moist—was undercrisped, underseasoned and undersized (a very small 1/4 bird), especially for $17.
Blue Smoke rebounded with an appetizer affectionately known as "peanut butter and belly": three chunky cubes of crispy pork belly gently lacquered with peanut sauce, served on toast, garnished with poblano jelly, topped with peanuts and served with a baby greens salad. It was a pleasant bite that combined many familiar flavors in a new way, and with the pleasing textural contrast of the crunchy exterior giving way to silky, porky goodness that, like the beef ribs, provided the flavor of fat without it being in your face. Oddly, the different pieces on the same plate varied greatly in the amount of sauce and amount of peanuts; I'm not sure whether that's to allow for customers with peanut allergies or just carelessness.
I would have liked to try a few more meats at Blue Smoke (I still haven't tried their brisket) but it was early in the day and we needed to conserve dollars as well as stomach room.
Barbecue Stop #2: RUB
The close runner-up for star of the day was the burnt ends at RUB. We entered the restaurant a little after 1:30PM and were shocked to see a sign saying that the burnt ends were sold out that early, but there was a small batch on the way if we didn't mind waiting. It was well worth the wait. The crispness of the edges, the near-caramely succulence and flavor intensity from perfectly rendered fat moistening a well-seasoned cube of slowly smoked meat make this item a do-not-miss on any New York barbecue crawl.
RUB's sliced brisket also impressed. It had some good pink coloring, slightly crisp edges, some smokiness, bright overall flavor and decent moistness, but on this day it might have been a victim of its own past success. While the brisket is always good at RUB, two visits ago I had the brisket plate of a lifetime, where the moistness, texture and flavor intensity were off the charts and well into the stratosphere. So although I don't seriously expect it to be that fantastic every time, I do hold out hope. Sunday's brisket at RUB was easily in the top 10 percent of brisket orders I've ever had, probably in the top 5 percent and possibly in the top 2 percent, but fell short of that brisket from June that I can still taste when I close my eyes. So just like a videogame enthusiast trying to beat that top score, I'll play on, knowing that RUB will always pump out exemplary brisket and eventually top that plate from June 2009.
A larger group allows the purchasing power (and eating power) to order ribs by the rack, and that's what we did at RUB. This full rack of St Louis cut spares was noticeably firmer than your typical rack of ribs, but still bore tender meat with good smokiness and plenty of rub. Like the brisket, the ribs fell slightly short of RUB's best but were solid by anybody else's standards.
We also sampled bacon chunks, sausage and wings, and all were good to very good. The wings could have used a bit more crispness but the sauce and overall flavor were superb, reaffirming RUB's #1 slot on my barbecue wings list. I'd say the best of these three items turned out to be the sausage, which has a good snap to the casing and a burst of hot crumbly moistness inside that brings some serious zestiness if you opt for the hot version. I meant to order the pastrami but flaked. My bad.
Barbecue Stop #3: Hill Country
My last visit to Hill Country was high noon on Labor Day, when I had some of the best brisket I ever had. Just like at RUB, Hill Country's brisket last Sunday was excellent, just not as excellent as that off-the-charts serving on that memorable previous visit. Both the moist and the lean varieties were just a little off their game for freshness, punch and texture, with no dropoff in flavor or moistness. Almost every barbecue joint in my directory would give up their first born to have brisket as good as what I had last Sunday, but RUB and Hill Country have set the bar so high that it's tough to clear it every time. When I say they both failed to clear it on Sunday, I'm only talking about an A+ slipping to an A- or at worst a B+. The moist was once again upstaged by the lean, which presented enough moistness, significantly more flavor, far less fat and a lower price than the moist.
The Kreuz jalapeno sausage was its usual high quality self, with a good snap, plenty of smoke and moist, flavorful meat inside.
If the brisket was a slight and qualified disappointment, Hill Country's wings were a major and outright disappointment. The wings that took the #2 slot in my wings list this time were undercooked, over-sugared and rubbery.
Sides overall were good (mac and cheese) to very good (Texas caviar, much-improved cole slaw). Hill Country's chili was a little different from how I remembered it previously, this time presenting a bounty of quartered sausage slices in addition to the ground beef.
Other Thoughts, Conclusions and Questions
For the most part, things went smoothly with (I think) no under- or over-ordering. Some of us were concerned with over-eating, but we managed to do just fine. On my weigh-in on Monday, I was lighter than on Friday and I managed to lose another pound later in the week, so this crawl did not derail my diet one bit. Checks split fairly reasonably. We successfully concluded the mission by 4:00PM, allowing a smooth escape from Manhattan and an early evening arrival time back home in the Boston area. During the entire ride I agonized over whether everyone thought they had enough to eat, had enough say in the selection, got their money's worth and (most importantly) liked what they ate. I never claim any credit when a joint I take people to is a wild success, but on an off day I take it personally. The next crawl is already in the planning stages.
Some Very Serviceable Reading
Those who know me know that even more than loving barbecue, I love restaurants in general and the dynamics that make them run. With the Waiter Rant blog less focused on restaurants and service, lately there's been a huge void to fill. Luckily, there's a new blog on the scene that gets into what makes servers tick and the customers that tick them off. Check out Server Not Servant, penned by Boston food service professional Patrick Maguire.
In his latest post, Maguire offers a list of 64 Suggestions for Restaurant Customers. Although it's eerily similar to the 40 Tips On How To Be A Good Customer appendix from the Waiter Rant book, it's actually a rebuttal to Bruce Buschel's post of 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do, posted on the New York Times small business blog. Now might be a good time to read my own 40 Tips on How To Be a Good Waiter, my rebuttal to the Waiter Rant list and by extension a "prebuttal" the Maguire list.
Joints Directory Madness
Here's the latest batch of barbecue Joints directory activity, spanning just two states. This time there are five new joints, three new closings.
High Street Grill (North Andover MA) had made arrangements to sell the restaurant and had its last day last weekend, just a little over a year after it opened. Thanks to owner Kristi for letting me know. This place will be missed.
Applewood (Chatham NY) is now closed, voiding an intriguing menu that I never got a chance to try. Thanks to Jim for the heads up.
Amy Ruth's (New York NY) is a Harlem soul food mainstay that should have been in the directory all along. The 10-year veteran is open for breakfast, has a separate waffle menu (chicken and waffles freaks should order "the Reverend Al Sharpton" plate ) and serves their own brand of BBQ chicken and ribs. www.amyruthsharlem.com
Barbecue Pit (Bronx NY) is another joint that I knew of for years and should have been included all along, but it fell through the cracks. Beyond barbecue (or maybe I should say "barbecue"?), this Riverside eatery's diverse menu includes steak, seafood, several vegetarian options, homemade samosas, quesadillas and Buffalo wings. Thanks to Robert for the suggestion.
BBQ In Harlem (New York NY) evidently didn't demonstrate the same staying power as Amy Ruth's, because unless the out-of-service phone isn't the indicator I think it is, this place is closed.
Roundup Texas BBQ (Cold Spring NY) is a recent Hudson Valley addition currently operating out of a trailer at a hardware store but with an eye on a future full-fledged restaurant. The principals include transplanted Texans who insist on serving sauce only on the side. The interesting menu here is smoked hotdogs. Thanks to Vinny for the find.
Cue To Go (Germantown NY) is a one-year-old takeout joint just off Route 9G. I have no intel on the food, but the views are spectacular. Thanks again to Vinny for the lead.
Firebox BBQ (Bedford MA) has been open now for about a month. Appetizers include smoked wings, lettuce wraps and a few Mexican items; sandwiches beyond the usual fare include shrimp, chicken salad, more Mexican, burgers, dogs and a rotating daily fish sandwich special. www.fireboxbbq.com
New York City BBQ: Another Manhattan BBQ Crawl, Part 1
Last Sunday the temperatures reached well into the 60s, making it an ideal afternoon for an autumn barbecue crawl, New York City style. This crawl had a few different objectives:
Revisit the pork ribs at RUB. For one reason or another, what used to be an automatic item on every visit has on recent visits yielded to RUB's specialties (smoked duck), novelties (chicken empanadas) and easily shared items (brisket slices, burnt ends). It had been a while since I had their ribs, so nothing was going to stop me.
Try the new chicken and waffles at Blue Smoke. What would the chicken be like? What would the waffles be like? Would the syrup be drizzled over the waffles, the waffles and the chicken or served on the side? Would there be enough quantity, quality or sheer innovation to justify the $17 tarrif?
Introduce some Boston friends to the brisket, wings and sausage at Hill Country and RUB, the beef ribs at Hill Country and Blue Smoke, the bacon and burnt ends at RUB. Oh, and the Shack Burger at Shake Shack.
Keep the party moving to keep all 8 participants happy and well fed. We had a great group, but in general I prefer smaller groups. You have no idea how much self-imposed pressure I was feeling to make sure that I didn't waste time waiting for arrivals, that I didn't under-order (where people get "shut out" of certain items) or over-order (where people are paying more than they think they should). But the most pressure was hoping the places lived up to the hype, much of it my own
Accomplish all of the above without throwing my diet off track.
In part 2 (probably over the weekend), I'll submit my report and answer all of the questions I had.
Massachusetts BBQ: Boston Globe Reviews Frankie D's in Kingston
Over the weekend the Boston Globe did a small piece on Frankie D's BBQ and Grill (Kingston MA). Interesting that the very posed-looking main photo shows ribs while the review doesn't mention them, but worth a look. More interesting is that they're open nightly until 1:00AM and feature live music five nights a week.
see the Boston Globe's online review of Frankie D's
IQue Wins the Grandest Championship at the Jack
Belated congratulations to Chris Hart and the entire IQue team, who two weekends ago in Lynchburg TN bested a field of the nation's top barbecue competition teams to win the Jack Daniel's Invitational, arguably the most prestigious contest on the barbecue calendar. This once again proves that you don't have to be from the South to produce championship-caliber barbecue.
see Chris's blog
On Barbecue Competitions
Earlier this week an emailer made the assumption that I'm not interested in competition barbecue because I hadn't yet mentioned IQue's win at the Jack Daniel's. On the contrary.
It's fairly obvious that I have backed off the competition "coverage" this season. As I said in a similar post last November, I use big fat quotation fingers when I say "coverage," because I had essentially only provided results normally available from other sources: the New England BBQ Society site, the BBQ Brethren forum, the KCBS website, specific contest websites and specific competition team blogs. My original goal in mentioning contest results was never to compete with these sources for scoops or to pretend that I was providing regular in-depth reporting and analysis. Since I typically only attended a half dozen or so contests a year, it didn't make sense to post results for only the contests I attended, and I didn't want to wind up posting about Team A winning one week and fail to post about Team B winning the next week.
I'm still a fan of competition barbecue and competition barbecuers, and I'll still attend contests in various capacities, although now that my time and travel are much more limited I am understandably prioritizing barbecue restaurants. I'll still promote events before they happen, with more emphasis on spectator-friendly ones like Harpoon, Hudson Valley, Merrimack and Sayville. And if a contest winner straddles both the restaurant world and the competition world, I'll be sure to make mention. But generally speaking, I'm going to leave the contest results to the bulletin boards, the barbecue organization sites and the competition bloggers. They do a fine job already, so there's no need for me to duplicate what's already there. That'll allow me to focus more on my backlog of joints that need reviewing and reviews that need updating.
Boston BBQ: Steve Buckley at Redbones, November 9
On Monday night at Redbones (Somerville MA), Boston Herald columnist and WEEI sports radio personality Steve Buckley will be doing a "quality hang" to discuss his new book Wicked Good Year. His latest tome celebrates the year 2007, when the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics were all dominant. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. The 2-hour event starts at 7:00PM and includes free appetizers with cash bar available.
Long Island BBQ: Beer and Bourbon Dinner at Swingbelly's, November 10
On Tuesday at 8:00PM, Swingbelly's BBQ (Long Beach NY) is reviving the beer and bourbon tasting for the first time this year. Pitmaster Dan Monteforte will show off his culinary talents with five courses, each served with Kelso beers, and a bourbon that they promise will "tantalize your taste buds." The price of the dinner is $65 and requires reservations. www.swingbellysbbq.com
A few Sundays ago I found myself at a barbecue restaurant in Connecticut, combining some tastings with some investigation, and an undercover conversation with the owner went something like this.
Him: Are you from the area?
Me: No, I'm from Boston.
Him: So what brings you down here?
Me: Good food. I like to explore new areas, checking out new restaurants. There are a lot of places around here listed on Roadfood.
Him: What's that?
Me: It's a website and series of books by Jane and Michael Stern, who live somewhere in Connecticut. They list plenty of burger joints, clam shacks, diners and barbecue joints and it seems like this area has a bunch of 'em.
Him: We got listed recently on a site called Pork Station.
Me: Pork Station, never heard of that one.
Him: It's done by a guy who travels around the country looking for interesting pork dishes.
Me: Sounds interesting.
Me: (to self: man, I gotta check this site out when I get home)
Me: (to self again: wait a minute, maybe...)
Me: I hear there's a really cool site called PigTrip, is that the one you
Him: Yeah, that it! Some guy told me about it and said he was going to mention this place to PigTrip.
Pork Station, huh? I guess PigTrip's not a household word yet.
Boston BBQ: Boston Magazine Names Blue Ribbon's Pecan Pie the Ultimate
Blue Ribbon is known for their pulled pork and brisket, their superb constantly rotating sides specials and their down home vibe, but now they're being recognized for their pecan pie. Boston Magazine named the Newton/Arlington barbecue tandem as the purveyor of Boston's "ultimate pecan pie," noting its caramel taste and slightly salty shell. Interestingly, Blue Ribbon edged out, among others, fellow barbecue joints Redbones (Somerville) and Village Smokehouse (Brookline/Lowell) in addition to likely suspect Petsi Pies (Somerville).
read the article on BostonMagazine.com
New York City BBQ: Chicken and Waffles at Blue Smoke
Fried chicken seems to be all the rage lately, and the highly respected version at Blue Smoke (NYC) just got paired with fluffy whole grain waffles and drizzled with New York maple syrup to create, as the Blue Smoke folks are saying, "brunch history." The new chicken and waffles entree is now available every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30AM to 3:00PM.
Boston BBQ: 15th Annual Northwest Fest at Redbones, November 2-4
Redbones (Somerville MA) is hosting their 15th year of Northwest Fest keg parties on November 2 through November 4 with a cash bar and free appetizers from 5:00 to 7:00PM. And as an added plus tonight and Tuesday night, join brewers and owners from Pike Brewery, Anacortes Brewing and New Old Lompoc Brewing.
Massachusetts BBQ: New Weeknight Specials at Firefly's
Firefly's Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Marlborough, Framingham and Quincy) is introducing a new line-up of weeknight specials starting tonight. On Mondays, it's 10 pieces of buttermilk fried chicken or BBQ chicken, plus enough sides to feed a family of 4 for $29.99. Take-it-Down Tuesdays feature a rib and chicken combo for $12.99 and barbecue platters for $9.99. Wacky Wing Wednesdays offer 10 wings for $7.49, available in BBQ, Buffalo and new flavors cayenne honey, Thai chile and orange mustard. Three-meat Thursdays combine ribs, pulled pork and fried chicken for $13.99.
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