The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Don't Lie To Me

I know I'm called a bbq snob, an elitist and other flattering names for my sometimes overly enthusiastic musings on what bbq is or is not, but a little piece in the NY Times got my blood boiling this morning-- and it didn't have anything to do w/ the leaking of secret governmental operations. No, this was a piece about the 'world famous' Lobels Butcher Shop in the overpriced haven of NYC's Upper East Side.

Now, I could never aford a piece of trimming in this place, let alone an actual steak. After reading the piece below, I doubt I can stomach it anyway.

No Pit in View, but Smoke on the Palate

Barbecue's many styles have a sense of place, notably Kansas City, Texas and Memphis. But not New York. Yet Lobel's, the Upper East Side butcher, has introduced what it calls barbecue beef and others might call Manhattan barbecue. It's not smoked or highly spiced, it's made in a pot on a stove, it's available ready to eat, and while it's delicious piled on a bun for a picnic, a platter of it would also draw raves at a terrace buffet.

Because New Yorkers tend to prefer lean first-cut brisket to the richer and fattier second cut, Stanley Lobel has come up with this new item using the top section of the second cut. He pots the soft-textured meat and mixes it with Lobel's mild honey-based barbecue sauce. It fairly falls apart, sort of like pulled beef. Cooked, the beef is $24.98 a pound; uncooked, to simmer at home or braise with onions, it's $18.98 a pound. The sauce is $9.98 for a pint jar; 1096 Madison Avenue (82nd Street).
I don't know about you, but I can't imagine calling anything that has been completely cooked in a pot on the stove bbq anything. Not only is this disappointing, but by calling it Manhattan Barbecue, they demean the true purveyors of the art that inhabit our city. Phooey on Lobel's and the NY Times. I call shenanigans.

Anywho. Here's a pork chop that was rubbed w/ the delicious Dizzy Pig Raging River rub that I mixed with a little extra garlic and some turkish peppers from Penzey's. After that you will see some delicious Challa bread "Freedom Toast" (hehe) that Amy made for me a few days ago. Rich and creamy inside with a hint of crispness and a slight spice flavor. I added a little grand marnier when she wasn't looking.

Lastly, I'd like to encourage you all to head over to the Megnut blog which has somewhat recently switched to an all-food format and is featuring posts by The Soul of a Chef author Michael Ruhlman this month. Coolio.


Blogger s'kat said...

As they say in the homeland, "non molto benne".

1:03 PM  
Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...

Great post!

But let's face it - in New York BBQ will always be that red sweet sticky suace poured over meat.

It amazes me that a city that accepts fany food terminology for the latest round of beef cheeks in jelly will never accept the definition of proper barbecue.

Oh well, it leaves us to our cultish behaviour.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous CPC said...

I second that - great post!

I'm originally from Virginia and accustomed to real, vinegar-based North Carolina-style pulled pork BBQ, of which I've found none so far in NYC. I haven't been to Lobels but this so called "pulled beef" sounds sketchy.

Why can't New York get it right?

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Smoker said...

While it might taste good(not at those prices)... I believe they have discovered....


12:20 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Well said, S'kat. Or as I like to say, Non ho ordinato questo (I didn't order this).

Thanks so much, WTBBQ. You're probably right about the 'style'. Mmmm, cheeks. I'm glad to be in the cult-- as long as we don't all have to wear those cheesy sneakers.

Hey CPC, thanks. And thanks for stopping in. I don't know why some New Yorkers can't get it right-- we've eaten plenty of that hickory-smoked vinegar-spiked 'que that you seek, but only at our house. The restaurants (as good as some are) haven't quite hit it yet.

Smoker you are right on, brother. Nice to see you here. Well said, as always.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

And buy the way-- I definitely do not prefer lean brisket. I'm all about the deckle, baby.

7:37 AM  

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