04/03/13 2:42pm
Young and old alike came out for the opening of Alchemy, Texas, BBQ last night.

Young and old alike came out for the opening of Alchemy, Texas, BBQ.

Before there was Virgil’s Real Barbecue, before Blue Smoke, before Hill Country, before the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, and before New York City’s current love affair with Texas ’cue there was Robert Pearson. The British hairdresser caught the barbecue bug while working in Texas. He returned to New York City to open Pearson’s Texas Barbcue first in Long Island City, and then in the back of Legends Bar in Jackson Heights. I never got to taste Brit’s ’cue. And I’ve never been terribly impressed by successor outfit The Ranger Texas, Barbecue. Last night the smoky arts made a triumphant return to Legends with the opening of Alchemy, Texas, BBQ. The pitmaster behind this Texas barbecue homecoming is Josh Bowen of John Brown Smokehouse. Bowen knows a thing or two about ‘cue in general, and Texas ‘cue too having logged some time at Hill Country.

  Bowen seems to be in awe of his brisket.

Josh Bowen seems to be in awe of his brisket.

Much as I love the barbecue at Bowen’s original spot, it’s never been all that smoky. That’s because the each of the smokers at John Brown is just slightly larger than a dorm fridge. The behemoth that sits in the back of Alchemy is roughly one-third the size of a shipping container. Bowen is firing it with a mixture of pecan and oak. All the meats that emerge from  it—brisket ($22/lb.), prime rib ($26/lb.), beef ribs ($11/lb.), spare ribs ($10/lb.), chicken ($9/lb.), and goat ribs ($10/lb.) —are possessed of a deep smoke flavor and a truly impressive smoke ring. (more…)

03/12/13 12:13pm

Barbecued IPads are not on the menu at Daniel Delaney’s BrisketTown.

I’ve made something of a career of hating on, or at least avoiding, dining in Brooklyn. Home town pride aside, there are many places worth eating at in the Borough of Kings. In no particular order some of them are: Do or Dine, Difaras, Joe’s of Avenue U, and BrisketTown. The last is Daniel Delaney’s Williamsburg barbecue emporium specializing in the smoky arts of Texas, notably some amazingly good brisket. Daniel and I go back a long way, I was a guest on his VendrTV and have helped out at his rooftop barbecues. He took a break from smoking some of the city’s best brisket to answer Seven Questions.

How did a good old boy from New Milford, N.J., get into barbecue?
I had been making videos about food for some number of years, which caused me to travel the country quite a bit. My crew and I made it a point to eat the local cuisine in whatever city we’d land in. When in the South, we ate barbecue. It was only when eating brisket at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Texas, that I really fell in love with it. That was the first great barbecue I had. All the rest had clearly been just OK. And it was that taste that set me off on trying to make my own.

What was the capacity of the first smoker you ever had?
The first smoker I bought could barely cook a pork shoulder. You could smoke it for an hour and then get so frustrated that you’d have to go finish it in the oven. It was a total piece of shit. (more…)