I’ve just about recovered from what I’ve taken to calling ‘Mini-Meatopia.’ For that’s exactly what Monday’s pop-up at Alchemy, Texas BBQ was. Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter teamed up on a menu that included everything from short rib to a grass-fed Vermont ewe, all cooked in Alchemy’s gigantic smoker. It was the first of hopefully many pop-ups. It was a very special night for barbecue and Jackson Heights with a globe-trotting menu that spanned from Jamaica to Uzbekistan.
For the past few years Richter has been moving away from American barbecue and experimenting with Asian flavors, notably at Fatty Cue and the upcoming project Roadhouse L.A. with the Umami Burger crew. So it’s not surprising that the evening’s meaty offerings started with bulgogi short rib tacos. They were served with kimchi, and a zippy aioli made from the Korean fermented bean and chili paste, gochujang. My one complaint was the flour tortillas. That did not stop me from eating two tacos, though.
Next up was a Jamaican jerk paste rubbed pork belly. It was fatty and rich and sided with a zippy Israeali salad. The combination worked. I’m willing to bet it was Richter’s idea as Ozersky is a sworn enemy of the plant kingdom.
Soon it was time for lamb and not just any lamb but a fat-tailed Tunis ewe from Tamarack Vermont Sheep Farm. Fat-tailed sheep are beloved of Central Asians so it’s no surprise that the smoked lamb was paired with Uzbek style plov. The lamb itself was wonderfully smoky and redolent of the flavors of Asia thanks to being rubbed with Indian curry and the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout.
For seconds on the plov Ozersky walked around with the pot. There was also chicken marinated in mojo served with salt potatoes. I think had two bites of it because I was so stuffed. On the way home I had a digestive paan. The next day I woke up smelling of smoke and animal fat. I can’t wait for the next mini-Meatopia.