Hot Child In The City
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.
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!
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??