02/13/14 12:34pm

The hordes of barbecue and booze and enthusiasts had a blast.

About 10 years ago good barbecue in New York City was about as available as snow boots are this winter. Back in the dark ages of low and slow smoked cooked meat the best place to get the best ‘cue was on the competition circuit, an opportunity I availed myself often enough in the guise of my hard-drinking, meat-eating, smoke-loving alter ego, Joey Deckle. Fast forward to 2014 and there’s more quality barbecue in our fair city than you can shake log of post oak at.  (Heck my pal Tyson Ho is even opening up a whole hog emporium later this year.) Much of it was represented at last night’s Brisket King NYC, in which more than a dozen pitmasters vied for the crown. It was so crowded that I found myself chanting, “Ain’t no riot like a meat riot, cause when you’re on a meat riot, you never diet.” (more…)

09/13/13 12:40pm

The gado gado grannies at Masjid Al Hikmah’s Indonesian Food Bazaar.

Hog Days of Summer
Saturday, September 14, 2013, Long Island City
Tyson Ho, the whole hog cookery wizard who taught me to love to North Carolina ‘cue hosts the final whole hog blowout in Queens. Expect fine swine, fine tunes, and fine brew from Founder’s. Tickets are still available here.

Indonesian Food Bazaar
Sunday, September 15, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Outside the Al-Hikmah Mosque, 48-01 31st Ave. (at 48th St.), Astoria, Queens
The O.G. of Indonesian food bazaars features scores satay, freshly made gado gado,and much more.

Šri Ganeša Chaturthi Parade
Sunday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing
Flushing’s Ganesh temple, Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam to its devotees, is known among foodies for the dosa served up by its Temple Canteen. It is first and foremost though a temple. Come watch as the elephant headed deity gets paraded through the local streets in a festive celebration.

07/12/13 10:00am
Matt Gelfand and Tyson Ho prepared Eastern North Carolina BBQ.

Matt Gelfand and Tyson Ho prepared Eastern North Carolina BBQ.

Last night Edible Queens celebrated its relaunch with Summerbeat in Sunnyside Gardens Park. The event’s theme “Eat meat, drink beer,” echoed that of the magazine’s summer issue, which includes some great articles about local butchers and brewers as well as my new column, At the Table. It was a very special evening on many levels. For one thing summer has always meant cookouts. Over the years the cookouts in my life have grown in scale from backyard grilling to the smoking of hogs, but the aroma of roasting meat in summer remains as welcome to me as the sight of the first fireflies of July. (more…)

07/04/13 12:19pm
Sadly spit-roasted cuy is not on today's menu.

Sadly spit-roasted cuy is not on today’s menu.

Happy Fourth of July everybody! As a summer baby I grew up with family barbecues with sausage and peppers as well as the American favorites, hamburgers and hot dogs. These days I know that what my family was really doing at all those birthday parties was grilling, not barbecue. In barbecue circles I’m known as Joey Deckle, after the most exquisite cut of the brisket. Lately though I’ve been getting into whole hog. (more…)

06/25/13 10:15am
Hog prep as viewed through the event space's fence.

Hog prep as viewed through the event space’s fence.

I have been so eager for The Hog Days of Summer that I thought it was two weeks ago. Two weeks ago when I texted Tyson Ho the hog cooking Chinese-American Yankee who put on the event along with John Brown Smokehouse he responded, “Next Friday . . . very close my dear friend. Soon we shall be awash in HOOOOOOOOOG!” For about a month I have been like a child waiting for Christmas. A tiny, carnivorous child. At last the appointed day came and I showed up the night before to help out a bit. The first thing I noticed was Tyson’s gigantic rig emblazoned with his nom de cue Arrogant Swine.

While the sun was still up the wood, a mixture of oak logs and other woods was delivered. And then came the hogs, two 200-plus pound Gloucester hogs, which each took three men to carry. Tyson instructed his apprentice, James in the finer points of whole hog butchery, teaching him how to expose the shoulder meat so that it gets a nice burnished crust while cooking. With their heads removed and the breast bone cut through so they would lie flat, they were ready for the cooker.


06/17/13 12:45pm
Hungry hordes gathered to eat and shop.

Hungry hordes gathered to eat and shop.

When it comes to food Queens has Brooklyn beat. After all, the diversity and quality of the grub in Queens is simply mind-blowing. Plus, we have M. Wells Dinette. And as of this past weekend Queens is giving Smorgasburg a run for its money with the newly opened LIC Flea & Food. Here’s a look at some of the market’s food offerings.

Alobar’s big dog topped with ginger pulled pork and carrot slaw.

Alobar’s big dog topped with ginger pulled pork and carrot slaw.

On Saturday morning I was actually at Smorgasburg performing a Thai chicken skin mitzvah for my friends over at Scharf & Zoyer. They also turned me on to a sandwich and I sampled some wonderful couscous from NYSHUK. And then, I had some ice cream from nearby Oddfellows. So, by the time I got to Long Island City the old food tank was pretty full. Good as it looked there was no way I would have been able to take down Alobar’s Big Dog ($12) a frankfurter topped with ginger pulled pork and carrot slaw. (more…)

06/12/13 10:41am
A sumptuous whole hog Bar-B-Q sandwich from Ed Mitchell.

A sumptuous whole hog Bar-B-Q sandwich from Ed Mitchell.

The 11th Big Apple Barbecue Block Party filled Madison Square Park with smoke, meat,and revelry this past weekend as pitmasters from all over the country gathered to show us Yankees how it’s done. Back when I first started attending the annual smokefest Danny Meyer spoke at a panel and said something to the effect of  “One day barbecue will be a dining option. The same way people say,  ‘Let’s go eat Chinese, or Mexican, or Italian.’”  This carnivore is proud to say that day is most certainly here. After all there are four barbecue joints in Queens alone. (more…)

06/06/13 10:13am

Uncle John’s hot links are revelatory.

I’ve always been a big fan of the gado gado gals at Masjid Al-Hikmah’s Indonesian food bazaar. Now thanks to Real Cheap Eats I know that they also make a spicier version called pecel.”

“The more we show faith, the better the barbecue has the potential to become,” Max Falkowitz writes in a mixed yet laudatory review of John Brown Smokehouse spinoff Alchemy,Texas, which due its location in the back of old man bar Legends, is “more deserving of the title ‘barbecue joint’ than anywhere in NYC.”

05/13/13 10:02am
Tyson Ho and friend.

Tyson Ho and friend.

Tyson Ho is the type of guy who invites his pals over to hang out in his front yard for a pig picking. Not such an unusual occurence in the South, but you can be damn sure he’s the only Yankee in Flushing cooking whole hog in his driveway.  When it comes to Carolina barbecue, the man is no slouch. He learned the art of cooking the entire animal slowly over hardwood embers and then chopping it up, including the crispy skin so that every bite contains a little bit of the entire pig, at the hands of the master, Ed Mitchell. He’s got big plans for New York City including the Hog Days of Summer.  He and I are taking a short trip to North Carolina later this week to pick up his new hog cooker. Before we hit the road he was kind enough to answer Seven Questions

 What made you get into Carolina whole hog barbecue? Why not brisket?
I actually expected to hate Carolina whole hog the first time I tried it in the middle-of-nowhere town of Ayden. Seriously who wants to eat pork drenched in vinegar? The first bite was a message from God, by the last bite my mandate was set. I have seen the path of righteousness, now it’s just matter of converting everyone else.

Back when I got into barbecue, no one [in New York] was really doing brisket and all the restaurants serving brisket sucked. I also tried my hand cooking brisket and it came out horrible. Thus I concluded that brisket intrinsically sucked for barbecue. Obviously I’ve been proven wrong, but by the time Hill Country, Bowen, Mangum, and Delaney came to town I was already too deep in this whole hog thing to hop on the trend. (more…)

05/01/13 12:21pm
Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter parade a barbecued ewe.

Meat maven Josh Ozersky and pitmaster Robbie Richter parade a barbecued ewe.


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.

First up: bulgogi tacos,with gojuchang aioli.

First up: bulgogi tacos,with gojuchang aioli.

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. (more…)