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

 

 

Recent Features:

Wildwood BBQ Preview

Dr. BBQ Bash

Hill Country

Hill Country

Eric Devlin interview

Chris Schlesinger interview

 

Recent Reviews:

Georgia's Eastside BBQ

Rick's Roadhouse

Smoken' Joe's BBQ

Danny's Little Taste of TX (update)

Pig Out Barbecue

MoJo's BBQ Shack

The Smoke Joint

Fette Sau

Boneyard Barbecue

Premier Palette (update)

Swingbelly's BBQ

Harbor Q

 

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

 

Archives:

Apr '08

Mar '08

Feb '08

Jan '08

Dec '07

Nov '07

Oct '07

Sep '07

Aug '07

July '07

Jun '07

May '07

Apr '07

Mar '07

Feb '07

Jan '07

Dec '06

Nov '06

Oct '06

Sep '06

Aug '06

 

 

Archives: May 2008

 

 

(05/30/08)

I Hate To Label All Chains As Bad, But....

 

They are. Some are better than others, some are tolerable in a pinch and some make you wonder why they're still in business. I'll tell you why: it's because they people who support them have less imagination than the "chefs" who create their cookie cutter menus.

 

When Panera first arrived in my hometown about ten years ago, it was totally new to the area. They had comfortable seats that put Starbucks to shame, took great effort to offer attentive service and used higher quality ingredients than you'd normally see at a chain. They even spoke English and served good coffee back then. Not any more. Whether it's due to growth or complacency or the difficulty finding good help, Panera has slid steadily downhill since those promising beginnings. I'll still take their "You Pick Two" over a fast food meal any day of the week, but it's not what it once was.

 

Above you see the apples that my wife and I received with our sandwiches a few days ago: labels still on and filthy. No, that's not the exception, that's how they come every time. You'd think somebody would care. Do you know any barbecue joints like that?

 

 

 

(05/29/08)

Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of Joints directory activity, spanning three states. This time, there are a whopping six new joints, three seasonal openings, one sale and none into the dead pool.

  • Lookout Hill Smokehouse (Brooklyn NY) has been up and running in the former Biscuit BBQ space for about three weeks. According to Zagat, the barbecue menu changes daily. Thanks to Nick and Robert for the leads.

  • All Star Sandwich Bar (Cambridge MA), as reported earlier this week, is in the process of being sold. According to Chris Schlesinger, there's a very good chance that the Texas Reuben and pulled pork sandwich will remain intact. But just in case they don't, now's a good time to get that final fix. www.allstarsandwichbar.com

  • Tired John's Bar-B-Q Pit Restaurant (Lake George NY) opened for the season last weekend and is a new joint for this site. Judging by the photos on their website, it looks like a throwback to the 1950s. They have an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet, several Italian dishes and some interesting desserts. tiredjohnsrestaurant.com

  • Riverfront BBQ & Grille (Augusta ME) is one of those joints with a little something for everybody. www.riverfrontbbq.com

  • T&G's Smokehouse (Waterville ME) is a trailer operation set up in a parking lot. Look for the trailer under the Aubuchon Hardware sign right off I-95's exit 127. Thanks to Tom for the info.

  • Blue Collar Barbeque (Bondsville MA) is yet another trailer, operating Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays not too far from Springfield MA. www.bluecollarbarbeque.com

  • Charlie's Barbecue (Queensbury NY) is a seasonal joint that's open all 7 days for dinner, with lunch Thursdays to Sundays only. Thanks to Sledneck for the find.

  • Smokehouse Cafe (Newport RI) is an indoor/outdoor joint that opened for the season last weekend.

 

 

 

(05/28/08)

Boston BBQ: All Star Sandwich Bar Changing Hands

It's been rumored for months and now it's happening: the All Star Sandwich Bar, located just a few doors down the street from East Coast Grill in Cambridge, is being sold. The good news is that the Texas Reuben and pulled pork sandwiches might not be in danger. According to owner Chris Schlesinger, the formal process started at a meeting last night. "We're selling to a great bunch of guys who we have a relationship with already, so I see no reason why the smoked meats [from East Coast Grill] can't stay on the menu." The sale process should take about six weeks.

 

I confessed to Schesinger that I wished he'd instead revive the original Jake and Earl's, his down and dirty BBQ joint that he closed in 1996 to make way for an East Coast Grill expansion. "We actually considered that," said Schlesinger. "And it's something we may still wind up doing down the road." Let's hope.

   

click to view larger image

The Texas Reuben.

click to view larger image

Pulled pork sandwich.

 

 

 

(05/27/08)

Home BBQ: WSM Smoke Day 3

This weekend marked the first time I fired up the smokers three days in a row. Convincing my wife to go the whole weekend restaurant-free was the greater accomplishment.

 

I have just a few minutes before I get ready for work, so I'll be brief. Given the disparity in the cooking times, I decided to cook chicken thighs alongside the ribs in two batches. The first batch came out fine in two hours, but the second batch took forever. Loaded at 4:30PM to be ready around 7:00PM for late arriving guests, this batch didn't reach temperature until 8:00PM. Pulled pork—smoked the previous day and reheated in the toaster oven instead of the grate space still occupied by the overdue chicken—came out pretty good. Underdone ribs were a disappointment.

   

click to view larger image

Pulled pork, smoked Sunday and

reheated Monday.

 

click to view larger image

Thighs.

click to view larger image

Ribs.

click to view larger image

More ribs.

 

 

 

(05/26/08)

Home BBQ: WSM Smoke Day 2

Yesterday I cooked up two pork butts, a rack of ribs, more chicken drumsticks, more chicken thighs, more Pearl hot dogs and a poblano-and-cheddar-stuffed fatty. Everything went quite smoothy, with the juggling of the various tasks (marinating, rubbing, loading, refueling, unloading, foiling, basting and plating) all second nature. I still think I have a long way to go before I'll be ready for the competition circuit, but the one thing I have down pat is my inner clock.

 

I normally like to have guests arrive mid afternoon, so there's time to socialize before the serious food starts parading onto the table. Last night, the party started around 5:30, compressing the time between the various barbecue "courses." One of the casualties of that compression was the lack of photos—there simply wasn't much time for it.

 

A little more care in the basting yielded chicken legs that didn't stick to the leg rack. The thighs finished with that rare combination of crispy "bite through" skin and tender inner meat. I was generally pleased with the pork. The ribs were the weak link. They were on target to being the best rack I ever smoked, but a little too much politeness while socializing—not an inner clock malfunction—allowed them to sit on the grate just a few minutes too long. They were still moist, and they tasted good, but I can only imagine what they might have been had I interrupted that conversation for the sake of barbecue greatness.

 

   

click to view larger image

The bark starting to crack,

signalling near completion.

 

click to view larger image

Fatties were the first course

and the last photo.

 

 

 

 

(05/25/08)

Home BBQ: WSM Smoke Day Photos

Here are some photos of what I cooked yesterday on a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker as my participation in the fourth annual Weber Smokey Mountain Smoke Day. I purposely planned to give my Big Green Egg a rest yesterday anyway, since I'm using it to smoke two pork butts today. I loaded the meat at 4:30AM, so I didn't want to have to deal with any chores from a previous night's cook.

 

I'm always trying something new. Yesterday it was my chicken leg contraption, which takes up little space and smokes the legs very evenly as they hang. I love that they leave no grate marks, but don't love that the point of contact looks like a gnawed bone. Maybe there's something I can do to prevent that.

 

I was planning to smoke some knockwurst, figuring I could use some for early afternoon snackage and save the rest for a pit smoked franks and beans side dish the next day. The store didn't have any knockwurst, so I bought some Pearl hot dogs, which are fairly thick and have a great snap to them. A light coating of olive oil helped some rub stick, and the strings between the links allowed them to hang alongside the chicken legs, smoking in the same manner as the sausages at Kreuz Market (Lockhart TX) and Hill Country (NYC). Those were some damn tasty hot dogs.

 

I also threw in some chicken thighs and beef short ribs, which are pretty old hat at this point.

 

   

click to view larger image

Chicken legs and hot dogs,

hanging on a rack.

 

click to view larger image

The finished dogs, with a

little rub for added flavor.

click to view larger image

Sliced and served with chipotle mustard.

Yes, I should have stirred it first.

 

click to view larger image

The legs completed, glazed a few times during the final stretch.

 

click to view larger image

I liked the overall appearance, but

not the peeled away area where the

legs hung from.

 

click to view larger image

Beef short ribs.

click to view larger image

A closer look at the short rib meat.

click to view larger image

Another angle.

click to view larger image

Chicken thighs.

 

click to view larger image

A sauced thigh, with the rub

peeking through.

 

 

 

(05/24/08)(second post)

Home BBQ: It's WSM Smoke Day!

Today is the fourth annual Weber Smokey Mountain Smoke Day, and my Weber Smokey Mountain is chugging along nicely. I have chicken thighs and chicken legs (two different preparations), beef short ribs and Pearl hot dogs (I'll explain later) heading toward a 5:30PM finish.

 

If you're not already a member of the backard barbecue legion, the Weber Smokey Mountain (also known as the "WSM" and the "bullet") is probably your best bet for a first time smoker. It's affordable, it's easy to use and it has its own website where other WSM owners offer tips and recipes.

www.virtualweberbullet.com

 

 

 

 

(05/24/08)

Cape Cod BBQ: Doctor Frank 'n' Swine Running Backyard BBQ Contest and Selling Weekend BBQ, Starting Today

Would you buy ribs from this man? I know I would. That's because Frank Ferzoco, better known on the Northeast BBQ competition circuit as Dr. Frank 'n' Swine, has a boatload of trophies confirming his barbecue and grilling prowess. I've watched him cook, tasted his competition ribs and can give them an unqualified thumbs up.

 

Starting at 3:00PM today, Dr. Frank 'n' Swine starts selling his award winning barbecue to the public on weekends at the Masonic Temple in Orleans MA, located on 107 Main Street, not too far from Nauset Beach. The menu is still being worked out.

Today, he's also running a backyard barbecue contest at the same location. The 2-category event will have a 12:00 turn-in for ribs and a 1:00PM turn-in for chicken wings, with awards scheduled for 2:00PM. If you're on the Cape for vacation or a long weekend, this event is well worth checking out. I only wish I'd known sooner.

 

 

 

(05/23/08)

Chicago BBQ: Smoque on the North Side

Yes, you read that right, and no, this site isn't expanding to include Chicago, at least not yet. But a few months ago, I was checking out some barbecue videos on YouTube and found a few mouthwatering ones that profiled Smoque, a year-old joint that's taken another northern city by storm. Normally when I think of Chicago, I think of hot dogs, Charlie Trotter and Rick Bayless, but I'm going to have to make a pit stop at Smoque the next time I'm there. The 'cue looks like it would appeal to both the barbecue newcomer and the most skeptical barbecue competiotor. The brisket sandwich and meltingly tender pork butts look pretty good to me.

 

Here are links to two videos, one from Chicago TV food reporter Steve Dolinsky (who seems to know his 'cue) and Food TV dude Guy Fieri (ditto). Enjoy.

 

click to view video

Profile of Smoque on Chicago's ABC 7 by Steve Dolinsky

 

click to view video

Profile of Smoque on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Guy Fieri)

 

 

 

(05/21/08)

My Fall 2007 Most Wanted List, Revisited

 

 

Back in December, I offered my Fall 2007 Most Wanted List of the ten barbecue restaurants that I hadn't yet visited but most wanted to visit. So far I've managed to hit only 4 out of the 10, but three of those were in the top 5. Three were also included on separate crawls I undertook with some of my favorite people from the Northeast BBQ competition scene, so the company was as good as the 'cue. Here are my thoughts so far:


#1 Chester's Barbecue, New London CT see my review of  this joint
I visited this joint not once but twice, surveying most of the menu. The ribs here take a back seat to the signature brisket sandwich, served on white bread, and the pulled pork was pretty good too.

www.chestersbbq.com

 

#2 Bourbon BBQ , Wyckoff NJ
An ambitious New Jersey crawl slated for January 2008 never materialized. Trying to coordinate schedules with a group can be a challenge; maybe I should have just hit this joint on my own around Christmas time. I've since heard mixed reports.

www.bourbonbbq.com

 

#3 Harbor Q, Port Washington NY see my review of  this joint
This is one that I did hit around Christmas time. The core barbecue items were a mixed bag, with the beef rib the standout. But I really liked the "Buffalo Soldiers" appetizer with chicken and high quality cheese inside egg roll shells.

 

#4 Georgia's Eastside BBQ, New York City see my review of  this joint

In Dececember, I said that you have to either love this joint or hate it, because the ribs are steamed, then finished on the grill. I went in with an open mind and wasn't all that impressed. Not so much from the steaming, but because the sauce (not too far from ketchup) and rub (not too far from Shake 'n' Bake) weren't better than they were.

 

#5 Indigo Smoke, Montclair NJ

See #2. Upscale barbecue? Bring it on.

www.indigosmoke.com

 

#6 The Piggy Bank, Beacon NY

If I wind up judging a KCBS barbecue contest in Troy or New Paltz later this season, that would be a good time for a visit.

www.piggybankrestaurant.com

 

#7 Smokey Joe's, Stamford CT

I've come close, but no cigar. It's so close to New York that I'm still full when I'm heading home from a Manhattan crawl, and it's too far from Boston to hit it on a whim.

 

#8 Mo Gridder's, Bronx NY

Now that I've seen Guy Feuri's visit to this Bronx joint, I want to visit it even more. I didn't realize they have seating.

www.mogridder.com

 

#9 Poppa B's, Dorchester MA

This soul food restaurant was already on target for a weekend visit within the next month or two, but even if not, today's Boston Globe review would have been the inspiration.

www.poppab.com

 

#10 Fette Sau, Brooklyn NY see my review of  this joint

I enjoyed my visit to one of the coolest looking BBQ spaces in the Northeast. The pork ribs and pork belly are the mandatory items here; brisket and pulled pork are worthy if ordered early in the evening; skip the sausage and the underwhelming sides. Allot some time to tour their first rate Bourbon list.

 

Fall 2007 Most Wanted List

Spring 2007 Most Wanted List

2006 Most Wanted List

 

 

 

(05/20/08)

Long Island BBQ: Rethinking Bobbique

During last Saturday's Long Island BBQ crawl, one thought kept returning, over and over. I may have underrated Bobbique (Patchogue NY). I'm not wavering as far as my critique of what was set down in front of me on that day—I still stand by everything I wrote. But I've had the feeling for quite some time that Bobbique has a lot of upside. You hear that term in sports all the time, but I like to use it with restaurants too. Sometimes the execution isn't quite there yet, but you can see where they're headed, kind of like a Jon Lester no-hitter waiting to happen.

 

But the thing that's made me rethink Bobbique recently is context. Since that one visit, I've visited a dozen Long Island BBQ restaurants: Fatty Beltbuckles, Freedom BBQ, Harbor Q, Hog House, Laura's Roadhouse, Seconds BBQ, Smokin' Al's, Smoking Sloe's, Sparky's Texas BBQ, Swingbelly's, Tennessee Jack's, Willie B's. Having endured that roster, I can safely place Bobbique in the upper third, even before any upside kicks in. Just as there are weak divisions in sports, there are weak divisions in barbecue, and—despite a few exceptions—Long Island is a weak division. Not giving Bobbique credit for being clearly near the top of that division just isn't right. Whether it's upside, context or just for the sport of it, I'm looking forward to giving Bobbique another try.

 

 

 

(05/19/08)

Long Island BBQ: Back From a Long Overdue Long Island BBQ Crawl

Sometimes the things you plan don't always materialize when you plan them. Obligations arise, commitments shift, priorities shuffle and schedules change. A Long Island crawl that's been in the works for months kept getting postponed, but it finally happened this weekend. I joined one old friend and one new friend for an ambitious and enjoyable tour of the Island that included Willie B's (Bay Shore), Fatty Beltbuckles (Rocky Point), Smoking Sloe's (Northport) and Sparky's Texas BBQ (Farmingdale).

 

I'll weigh in with some commentary down the road, but for now just check out the photos in the Recent Eats column.

 

 

 

(05/16/08)

New York BBQ: Smokin' Q Reviewed

The site's 139th review is now posted for Smokin' Q, the newest BBQ joint in Manhattan's Upper East Side. This is a back-to-basics review based on only one visit, but I tried all four of their barbecue meats and liked Smokin' Q enough to make another visit down the road. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.

 

 

 

(05/15/08)

Links: Waiter Rant

Usually I wait until I gather a few new links before I update my Links page, but lately I've been really getting into Waiter Rant. It's the first blog I ever read and one of the best, offering a waiter's perspective of what goes on at a high end restaurant. The posts (I think of them as vignettes) have great dialogue, and even if a few of them are enhanced for entertainment value, there's always food for thought. Warning: Don't view this site if you only have a few minutes to spare, because you're going to want to stay a while.

 

 

 

 

(05/14/08)

New York BBQ: Adam Perry Lang Featured in This Month's Chile Pepper Magazine

It's time for the annual "BBQ Issue" of Chile Pepper magazine, and this time there's a definite Northeast BBQ slant. The Hot Off the Press section has book reviews for Paul Kirk's new tome 500 BBQ Dishes and Chris Schlesinger's Grill It! (his ninth book).

 

Photo by Arthur Cohen, courtesy of Chile Pepper magazine. Used with permission.

 

But the highlight is a feature on Daisy May's (NYC) pitmaster Adam Perry Lang by JJ Goode, who's co-authoring a book with Perry Lang due out in 2009. There are five recipes, including some (like Asian boneless grilled short ribs) using flavors that are a departure from what you'd normally see in his restaurant. You'll have to buy the magazine for the recipes, but the baked beans recipe alone is well worth the cover price.

www.chilepepper.com

 

 

 

(05/13/08)

Joints Directory Madness

Here's the latest batch of Joints directory activity, spanning two states. This time, there's one new joint, one seasonal opening, one new website, one new menu for a not-quite-ready website, one schedule change and none into the dead pool.

  • Shaker Mountain Barbeque (New Lebanon NY) opened for the season last week, and it's a new joint for this site. Thanks to Kyle for the info. www.shakermountainbarbeque.com

  • Coast Cafe (Cambridge MA) now has a website: www.coastsoulcafe.com

  • BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA), as reported earlier this week, is vending out of the Brimfield Antiques show through Sunday May 18, then starts a Tuesday-through-Sunday hours at their usual Village Green Campground location starting May 20.

  • Fatty Beltbuckles (Rocky Point NY) is still working on their website, hoping to have it ready by June 1. In the meantime, you can view their menu via the Joints directory.

 

 

 

(05/12/08)

Massachusetts BBQ: BT's Smokehouse To Introduce Fatties at Brimfield Antiques Show This Week

click to view larger image

 

A third barbecue joint is now offering fatties, as BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA) will start serving fatties today at their temporary digs in downtown Brimfield, to coincide with the week-long Brimfield Antiques extravaganza on Route 20. If you're into antiques or collectibles, this outdoor show is a must-visit, and has more dealers than most people can visit in a single day. It was a year ago at this same location that BT's started before moving to their permanent location at the Village Green Campgrounds a few miles east.

 

But back to the fatties. On Thursday night I sampled a preview and I was genuinely impressed. Served on a doughy buttermilk biscuit, this fatty had a perfectly crunchy exterior, a noticeable smoke ring with a smoky flavor to match, a tender interior and an interesting filling that included jalapeño peppers, pepper relish and raspberry preserves. Raspberry barbecue sauce reinforced the fruity, breakfasty vibe.

   

The creation and the creator.

 

click to view larger image

Love at first slice.

 

BT's ends its week-long run at the antique show on Sunday, May 18. They return to the Village Green location on Tuesday May 20, where they'll start an expanded schedule, operating Tuesday through Sunday.

www.btsmokehouse.com

 

 

 

(05/11/08)

Contests: Transformer BBQ Wins Smoke and Steam Grilling Contest

Transformer BBQ took the Grand Championship honors yesterday at the first annual Smoke and Steam Grilling Competition put on by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in Oyster Bay NY. The win was dominant, with first place trophies in beef steak and pork, a fourth place finish in chicken and a second place finish in oysters.

 

 

 

(05/09/08)

New York BBQ: Hill Country To Offer Sunday Honky Tonk Brunch, Starting This Weekend

The folks at Hill Country (NYC) are out to prove that there's more to barbecue than their highly acclaimed moist brisket. With a Mother's Day debut, the Honky Tonk Sunday brunch will be a regular affair, with items like huevos rancheros, pork tamales, chicken fried steak, brisket hash and breakfast tacos with Kreuz sausage on offer. The regular meat line and market menu will also be available.

see the full brunch menu at www.hillcountryny.com

 

Contests: Smoke and Steam Grilling Contest in Oyster Bay Tomorrow

Starting at 7:00 AM tomorrow, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum (Oyster Bay NY) kicks off the first annual Smoke and Steam Grilling Competition. Watch local teams as they grill beefsteak, pork chops, chicken and oysters. Dippin Dots, cheese, pulled pork and chicken and wieners of every kind will be sold on the street. Cadillac Moon will provide music from noon to 3:00PM.

contest website

 

 

 

(05/08/08)

New York BBQ: Georgia's Eastside BBQ Review

The site's 138th review is now posted for Georgia's Eastside BBQ, the Manhattan BBQ joint that's right around the corner from Katz's Delicatessen. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.

 

 

 

(05/07/08)

Home BBQ: Guava and Pepper Fatties

click to view larger image

 

Still in pursuit of the ultimate sausage fatty, I conducted further experimentation this weekend. Lovers of fatties generally fall into one of two camps: those who like them straight, with a homogenous cross section, and those who like them stuffed. I fall into the second group, which I think puts me in the minority.

 

Maybe the unstuffed version is more popular because it's so versatile. You can slice it thick and serve it with eggs. You can slice it thin and sneak it between a hamburger and its bun as a surprise topping. You can chop it and add it to a vegetable dish. Or you can slice it into wedges, like a dill pickle, and serve it with a dipping sauce. But I think a good part of the unstuffed fatty's popularity has to do with the fact that it's much easier to make. Grind or buy the meat. Season the meat. Roll the meat. Rub the meat. Done.

 

The stuffed fatty is more exciting, but also more of a challenge. Figuring out the right combination of ingredients is an art, while figuring out the right ratio of stuffing ingredients to meat is a science. Just like with a burrito, the temptation is to overstuff it. Unlike a burrito, you can't make adjustments as it falls apart during cooking. But when you slice into a perfectly constructed stuffed fatty and admire the filling as it oozes out temptingly, you know that all the aggravation was worth it.

 

When I made fatties with fig jam a while back, the chief obstacle was the wetness of the filling. It kept moving as I tried to seal the outside, making it very difficult to make a seamless fatty. So this time I used guava paste, which I picked up at a Latin American market. It has the same flavor as guava jam, but a consistency similar to a Kraft caramel. By remaining firm, it allowed me to seal the deal without the usual drama. To contrast the sweetness of the guava, I also added banana peppers and diced poblano peppers.

 

I also made a more typical cheddar and pepper stuffed fatty, which yielded the expected results. As for the guava fatty, I was generally happy with the outcome, although the guava paste didn't quite melt all the way as I'd hoped. But the flavors definitely worked and the construction was a breeze, so I'll keep plugging away. I still have many more ideas.

   

click to view larger image

Guava paste and sausage meat.

 

click to view larger image

Banana peppers and diced poblano.

click to view larger image

The finished result.

 

click to view larger image

A more traditional cheese and

pepper fatty.

 

 

 

(05/06/08)

Home BBQ: SPAM "Burnt Ends"

click to view larger image

 

About a month ago I mentioned that I had a new preparation for SPAM, and on Sunday l cooked up what I'm now calling SPAM Burnt Ends. I had been looking for an interesting take on SPAM that I could serve at a luau my wife and I are planning for later in the summer (SPAM is huge in Hawaii, so it would make a novel appetizer). I had seen some recipes for barbecued bologna and could easily just adapt those to the SPAM, but I took things a few steps further.

 

The inspiration comes from the burnt ends of brisket at RUB (New York City): take an overly rich cut of meat, rub it, smoke it, sauce it, cube it, rub it again and smoke it again. On most days I'll take RUB's burnt ends over what you see here, but it would take about six times the investment in both meat and smoking time. With brisket burnt ends, the crispness is a byproduct of rendering out some of the fat. Here, it's a way to make a cheap hunk of processed meat a little more palatable.

 

I took three cans of SPAM and started by scoring the outsides, partly for appearance and partly to help grip the flavor additions I'd apply later. I then lightly coated two of the three with sesame oil and the third with mustard—again, partly for flavor, partly to help the rub stick. I rubbed the first two with Willie B's Bourbon rub (spiked with about 20% cayenne). The third was treated to a lethal dose of Doctor Gonzo's new barbecue dry rub.

 

I smoked the SPAM over Hawaiian kiawe, a breed of wood similar to both guava and mesquite. After about an hour and a half, I glazed the first two with a homemade Huli Huli basting sauce. Huli Huli chicken is a popular item in Hawaii, named because the chicken is turned ("huli") frequently, with the basting sauce applied at each turn. There are many Huli Huli sauce recipes available on the web, but mine uses pineapple juice, pineapple jelly, lime juice, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger and brown sugar.

 

After another twenty minutes, I cut the SPAM into slices and chunks, then added more mop and more rub, purposely varying the amounts among the various pieces. The final twenty minutes was enough to crisp up the surface and allow the second wave of rub to blend with the meat.

 

The smaller chunks were perfect for nibbling; the larger slices made their way into mini sandwiches made with a sliced baguette and Hawaiian style hot sauce.

   

click to view larger image

Scored, rubbed and into the smoker.

 

click to view larger image

A little glaze.

click to view larger image

Not much of a smoke ring but

very tender and velvety.

 

click to view larger image

More rub for more flavor

and a different texture.

click to view larger image

Smoked SPAM, passionfruit hot sauce and baguette slices

make a Hawaiian style mini sandwich.

 

 

 

 

(05/05/08)

Massachusetts BBQ: BT's Smokehouse Wins New England Chili Cookoff People's Choice

The second annual New England Chili Cookoff is history, and the People's Choice winner was BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA). Unlike at barbecue contests, where the restaurant competitors typically submit entries that bear little resemblance to what's actually served to their customers, BT's went with their everyday chili and picked up the win. I'll have more news about BT's Smokehouse later in the week.

www.btsmokehouse.com

 

Boston BBQ: Blue Ribbon Flirts With Fatties

This weekend I tried a sandwich special at Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Que (W. Newton MA) called Dixie Loaf, a not-so-distant cousin to the beloved fatty I've been longing to see on restaurant menus. This rendition, made with a combination of ground SPAM and fresh pork, was served on a club sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion and optional Angry Hornet hot sauce.

www.blueribbonbbq.com

 

click to view larger image

 

 

 

 

 

(05/02/08)

Brooklyn BBQ: Brooklyn Pigfest, May 31

Brooklyn Brewery has announced the date for the 8th annual Brooklyn Pigfest. This benefit for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy will be held on Saturday, May 31 at the Tobacco Warehouse under the Brooklyn Bridge, from 1:00PM to 6:00PM, rain or shine. Admission is $95 ($85 in advance) and includes beer and three meal tickets.

www.brooklynbrewery.com/events

 

 

Reminder: New England Chili Cookoff, May 3

Don't forget, the second annual New England Chili Cookoff is being held tomorrow at the Pleasant View in Somers CT. It's sanctioned by the International Chili Society, and like barbecue contests, there'll be some serious competition and some serious prize money ($2700) at stake.

 

For $6 admission ($5 if you bring two canned goods to benefit the Enfield Food Shelf), you get to sample chili and vote for a winner. There will also be a chile pepper eating contest, a hot wings eating contest, raffles, vendors, live entertainment and a chance to meet Miss Connecticut.

www.chilict.com

 

 

A Busy Week

This week has been a busy one for me both at work and due to some personal obligations. So although this week's posts have been limited, fear not: this site isn't about to go dormant any time soon. Look for the usual high energy, high calorie content next week.

 

 

April 2008 archive

March 2008 archive

February 2008 archive

January 2008 archive

December 2007 archive

November 2007 archive

October 2007 archive

September 2007 archive

August 2007 archive

July 2007 archive

June 2007 archive

May 2007 archive

April 2007 archive

March 2007 archive

February 2007 archive

January 2007 archive

December 2006 archive

November 2006 archive

October 2006 archive

August/September 2006 archive

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Recent Eats (click photo to view larger image)

click to view larger image

Pulled pork at Sparky's Texas BBQ, Farmingdale NY.

 

click to view larger image

Ribs at Smoking Sloe's, Northport NY.

 

click to view larger image

Ribs at Fatty Beltbuckles, Rocky Point NY.

 

click to view larger image

Rib tips at Willie B's, Bay Shore NY.

 

click to view larger image

Beef shortrib at BT's Smokehouse, Brimfield MA.

 

click to view larger image

Dixie Loaf club sandwich at Blue Ribbon, W. Newton MA.

 

 

Got a question or comment about this site?

Please feel free to contact me.

©2006-2008 pigtrip.net | all rights reserved Joints | Reviews | Ramblings | News | Links | Recipes | About | Home

 

Your Gateway to Barbecue Information
A service of
netRelief, Inc.

This site is a member of The Smoke Ring
A linked list of BBQ websites Next - Skip Next - Next 5 - Prev - Skip Prev - Random Site

Join the ring or browse a complete list of The Smoke Ring members

If you discover problems with any of The Smoke Ring sites,
please notify the Ringmaster