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.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hot Child In The City

(BBQ-NYC Image from Off The Broiler)

Man, what a week! I haven't had so much fun in a long time, and it all culminated Saturday at
BBQ-NYC, where I helped out my friend Rob Richter of the Big Island Barbeque team (and his soon to open restaurant, Hill Country NY) with a little bit of cooking/prep and a bunch of slicing. BBQ-NYC is a private picnic held every year and it is run by Rob, Travis and Ellen. Tickets were $40 and included all you could eat and 5 beers from the keg. The menu included brisket, two kinds of Elgin Sausage, two kinds of trout, sliced pork and chicken. There were plenty of sides including cole slaw, potato salad, onions with feta, and drunken pinto beans whose preparation was overseen by Chef Zak Pelaccio. Some sides and dessert were brought 'potluck-style') by the guests and those were excellent as well.

It was an honor to be "in the kitchen" with the chefs and to see, up close, their work. I got to help a little with fire tending and prep work, and lots and lots of brisket slicing. And a little chicken cutting. And brisket slicing.....did I mention the brisket? Rob made the wise choice to serve only the deckle (the fattier "point" section of the brisket) and no flat. Mmmmm.

Chef Zak Works the Pintos (Image: Off the Broiler)

On Tuesday night, I was invited to attend the birthday party of Mr. Cutlets (aka Josh Ozersky) which was held at Harry's Bar at the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, NY. The space was generously donated by the proprietor, Harry Hawk and along with all of the bbq, the drinks were free as were the George Motz-created hamburgers that they serve at Harry's. Chef Zak, Chef Rob and Chef Scott Smith of RUB were there to keep the fires lit for this event.

The bbq from Zak Pelaccio included Chile Oil Pork, Pork with Porky Pork sauce (injected with lard and served w/ a chimichurri-like sauce), Fatty Brisket which was served with grilled scallions and an amazing tart and light sauce that balanced the fat perfectly. RUB's pitmaster Scott served some grilled house smoked bacon from RUB (which was outrageously good) and his secret Cornell Chicken and white sauce that he grilled and served to a small crowd-- the skin was perfectly crisped, the meat tender and moist and the sauce had a twangy cider vinegar kick. Rob Richter made brisket with a marrow jus, pulled pork and his multi-award-winning chicken. I was able to help out with some chicken cutting and running for beers-- I even got to fire-up and run the grill to prep the chicken's sauce-- and eat too many of Celeste's homemade chocolate chip cookies w/ walnuts.

The stars were up in the sky and all over the beach at Mr. Cutlets' party-- over there is Jeffrey Steingarten huddling w/ Ed Levine and, oh, my goodness, I think Elizabeth Karmel and I are reaching for the same piece of pork. Grabbing the sizzling pieces of bacon off the grill and trying to tear them apart w/ Arthur Schwartz is a pretty fine memory, too. Whew, those were hot!

Meatopia: III Decklefest (aka Mr. Cutlets' Birthday)

Not only was the crowd full of who's who in the food world (Todd Coleman, food editor of Saveur, Erica Marcus of Newsday, Paul Lukas from the NY Sun, George Motz-- creater of the Motz Burger served at Harry's...and so on), but it was a fun, welcoming group that were all charmed by the tunes from Mr. Cutlet's IPOD and the tremendous food....Josh Ozersky was also celebrating his new beginning w/ NY Magazine where he will be the online food editor of their new and improved site.

Definitely, the hottest thing I have ever purposefully handled were the
Meyer's Sausage that I was pulling off the pit and slicing on Saturday at BBQ-NYC. That was some blistering stuff. But, oh, so good...

Lastly, I would like to thank Jason Perlow from the awesome blog
Off The Broiler for his excellent pictures and detailed coverage of these events. Check out his site for even more information. Here's a picture of me holding a pan of those sausages.

I have a few pics of me at work that I hope to paste later on. When's the next 'cue fest??


Blogger Mona said...

Bummer, man! How did I miss this awesome event? I'm sick :( WAAAH!
I just read about Chef Zak, where does he cook again? Shoot, I forget. I had a barbecue at the Water Taxi beach a few weeks back and it seriously is one of the coolest places I've been in this city. I swore I would get back there with friends. My birthday 's coming up, maybe that's when I'll do it.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Hey Mona, hope you don't feel too lousy. I'll have to give you a heads up next time.

Harry's seems like a great place to celebrate your birthday...and Chef Zak hangs his hat at Fatty Crab, 230 5th or Five Ninth...and, wow, was that sauce with the brisket good...oooohweeeee.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Man alive, I think I live in the WRONG state for a food and BBQ fanatic.

Great descriptions, pictures and all....I can almost smell and taste everything!

9:30 AM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Well, get yourself over here, Kate! I have to admit that this was an extremely lucky week for this bbq fanatic right here. I'm just itching for some more action...

7:45 PM  
Blogger Ken Wheaton said...

Can I have a new keyboard, I just drooled all over mine.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Backyard Chef said...

Hiya, Ken! Thanks for coming by. But, sorry, no refund for user error. ;-)

9:05 PM  

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