When I was growing up barbecue was synonymous with cookouts and birthdays. These days I draw the distinction between backyard grilling and low and slow American barbecue. A while back I made a pilgrimage to the whole hog heaven that is North Carolina. Heck, I even have a barbecue alter ego, Joey Deckle. But back in the 70s my birthday was the perfect excuse for the old man to throw a blowout BBQ. Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken grilled with tomato and garlic were all on the menu, but my favorite was always his sausage and pepper sandwiches. So when I heard Matt Fisher was doing a low and slow take on this Italian-American classic at Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue I decided to take a trek out to Gowanus.
Fisher gets the hot Italian links—pork, natch—from his local butcher, Los Paisanos. The ruddy salciccia is smoked over red oak and sugar maple and then gets bathed in red wine infused tomato sauce with fresh oregano and garlic. As any good Italian boy can tell you one of the more crucial components of such a sandwich is the sautéed peppers and onions. Fisher fires up the traditional mix of sweet pepper and onion with addition of Fresno chile and Poblano peppers. For me the $8 sandwich was like a smoky trip down memory lane.
As I chatted with him over lunch Fisher told me he grew up eating sausage and pepper heroes too. “In our neighborhood [Gowanus/South Brooklyn], I love that some of New York City’s legends of ‘Red Sauce Italian’—Two Tom’s and Monte’s are still kicking.”
Fletcher’sBrooklyn Barbecue, 433 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-763-2680