04/29/15 11:07am
johnbrownsandwich

The Mack Daddy of barbecue sandwiches!

I’m such a fan of low and slow American barbecue, particularly the deckle or luscious top cut of the brisket, that years ago I acquired a BBQ moniker: Joey Deckle. One of my favorite preparations is Kansas City style burnt ends, crusty sweet and spicy nuggets of twice smoked brisket. My go-to spot for this luscious meat candy is John Brown Smokehouse in Long Island City. (more…)

04/01/15 10:05am
DAVIDS

Brisket with Swiss and gravy and pastrami at David’s.

I’ve been hearing about David’s House of Brisket for ages. The Crown Heights institution is unusual in several respects. Not only is it a Jewish deli in a neighborhood better known for jerk chicken and doubles, it has the distinction of being the only Jewish deli run by Yemeni Muslims. So when my pal Noah asked me to have lunch there with him I said yes.

“You’ve got to get the brisket with cheese and gravy,” Noah said, reminding me that even though it serves Jewish comfort food, David’s is decidedly not kosher. (more…)

03/19/15 12:02am
BKCROWD2

Brisket hungry hordes mobbed the Irondale Center.

“Wow, kids these days really love their meat,” I quipped to a gal on line at Monday night’s Brisket King NYC. The jam packed brisket competition was held at the sprawling Irondale Center, a gigantic space that was once a Sunday school auditorium. It was a fitting setting for faithful foodies to come out and worship brisket in all its incarnations, from straight-up traditional like American BBQ and deli to the downright strange, like bulogi and nigiri . (more…)

12/23/14 3:10pm
MESHUGALATKE

The double down of the deli world is piled high with brisket.

Among my Jewish friends and relatives I am renowned for my knowledge of Yiddish. “You’re such a Jew,” an old girlfriend once proclaimed. Heck, I even have an adopted Jewish mother. So it’s a real shonda that I’m so late to the party on what’s surely the tastiest Chanukah gutbomb in Queens, the Meshugah Latke ($11.95) at Ben’s Best Deli. It’s been available since the  Festival of Lights began, but I only got to try it on the sixth day. (more…)

02/13/14 12:34pm
BrisketCrowd1

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…)

10/16/13 10:25am

ARBYS2

Once every five years or so I am seized with a desire to eat at the Golden Arches of McDonald’s or the majestic palace of the Burger King. Images of hamburgers as seen in print, TV, and on the screen of childhood memories crowd my hungy mind. I am always disappointed. The wet cardboard like patties sometimes taste vaguely beef-like, but the sandwich never ever looks the picture. I always find myself wondering why I even bothered to order one. So when I was drawn like a moth to a fast-food flame by Arby’s new Smokehouse Brisket I was prepared to be disappointed. I’d been burned by fast food before. Plus, I know a thing or two about barbeque and am always especially leery of a fast-food joint purporting to offer barbeque. By its very nature barbeque is all about patience. Meats smoke for hours and hours on end. The only thing quick about barbeque is the service, just slice and serve. (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…)

02/06/13 9:48am
Will Horowitz cooks up what he calls "Vietnamese Cajun food" in Manhattan's East Village.

Will Horowitz cooks “Vietnamese Cajun food” at Ducks.   Photo: ELK

This week I pose Seven Questions to Will Horowitz, the chef-owner of  Ducks Eatery in Manhattan’s East Village. Ducks is the kind of place where trail mix,  crispy pig’s ears, and yakamein with barbecued brisket and clams all appear on the same menu. Strange, beautiful and delicious.

How would you characterize the food at Ducks?
We like to tell people that it’s “Vietnamese Cajun food, strongly influenced by local terroir” so people have some sense of category, maybe next week we’ll just start calling it “New Orleans 2047.” Really though, I have no fucking idea. I’m building recipes like stories, my inspiration is found in old trade routes, travels, nature, wars, traditions and heritage techniques. With that being said, there’s also a very “stream of consciousness” style undertone to our creativity, which we tend to paint on what’s often a very comedic canvas.

Do most customers get it?
A lot of people get it, a lot of people don’t. Not that I expect everyone too, that wasn’t the goal. Religion gives faith to the uncertainty of the universe’s question marks… we are a question mark with no religion. We’re utilizing a mentality driving some of the world’s most exciting restaurants in the form of corn dogs & moonshine. With that being said we have a huge following from the neighborhood, food writers and most of all industry folk. We’ve become sort of a cult hangout for a lot of really cool chefs, which makes me happy. I love cooking for other cooks.

(more…)

01/30/13 12:05pm
A tasty sandwich for goold old boys and lata

A tasty sandwich for good old boys and fressers alike.

Pastrami, as deli denizens and Seinfeld fans alike know, “is the most sensual of all the salted cured meats.” At least once a month I find myself compelled to eat the luscious peppery cured beef , usually at Ben’s Best. The meat owes its sensuality to a three-fold process: curing, smoking, and steaming. Essentially the pastrami process is a Jewish form of low and slow barbecue.

So it’s not surprising that some of New York City’s pitmasters have at one time or another experimented with this most New York of smoked meats. Barbecue joint pastrami is a breed apart from its old-school deli forebears, though. It is of course smokier, but is also more rough hewn than the melting slices one finds at Bens or Katz’s. The only barbecue joint in Queens currently serving it is John Brown Smokehouse. An excellent sandwich of the home cured pastrami can be had for $12. The meat sports a crunchy blackened exterior that barbecue geeks like to call Mr. Brown (no relation to the abolitionist for whom the Long Island City BBQ joint is named). Sometimes I think I  like John Brown’s pastrami better than its much-lauded brisket burnt ends, aka meat candy. Please, don’t tell my fellow barbecue geeks of my wavering allegiance to the meat candy brigade.

John Brown Smokehouse, 10-43 44th Dr., Long Island City, 347-617-1120