Monk: Lamb barbacoa is primarily thought of as a dish along the southern Texas border, but Gonzalo Ramirez has been making authentic barbacoa in Arleta outside of Los Angeles for the past 40 years.
Description: Gonzalo Ramirez is one of the only barbacoyeros in the U.S. who raises and butchers his own lambs. He cooks the barbacoa in a pit, during a process that takes 24 hours. Ramirez sells his traditional Hidalgo-style barbacoa, moronga (blood sausage), consomé, and more on the corner of Canterbury Ave. and Hoyt Street off Van Nuys Blvd. in Arleta, California.
Monk: A few highlights from this past weekend’s Southern Foodways Alliance Fall Symposium where the focus was on barbecue: “questions about what barbecue is, who makes it, and how the craft is changing. From sliced beef brisket to pulled pork, from tacos to fire-roasted vegetables, barbecue speaks to the past, present, and future of the South and to the stories of pitmasters—the places they work, the smoke they conjure, and the sauces they stir.”
Texas Monthly Taco Editor Gustavo Arellano was a day one speaker and compared southern barbecue to Mexican barbacoa:
George and David Barber of Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Georgia were named this year’s recipient of the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award
Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor of Atlanta’s Heirloom Market Bar-B-Que treated folks to a Korean-inspired barbecue dinner Friday night
On day two, Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn explained why Texas-style barbecue is becoming the predominant style, both across the US and abroad
Food critic Hanna Raskin on the intersection of barbecue and alcohol
Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller emceed the weekend with stories of black pitmasters
Finally, Helen Turner of Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, TN was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lexington Barbecue Festival made a triumphant return after taking the last two years off
The Shepard Barbecue episode of Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives will air on Friday, November 4 at 9pm ET on Food Network
Dampf Good Barbecue has opened for regular hours at Phillis Farm of Cary; they will be serving their Texas-style barbecue Thursdays through Saturdays from 11am-6pm
The Southern Smoke festival raised a whopping $1.6M this past weekend
Monk: Barbakush is a story of hard work paying off, and this short documentary from Munchies’ Street Food Icons captures it beautifully. Petra Zavaleta and her husband and two sons started their street food and catering business in LA after feeling they weren’t getting paid enough in their previous jobs. Taking matters into their own hands, they began butchering and cooking whole lambs in their backyard in the traditional Poblano barbacoa method passed down from their parents and grandparents. But it took some time and failures before they built up a market for their food, which includes tacos made from homemade tortillas as well as consommé and lamb menudo made from all parts of the goat after being cooked over wood and maguey leaves coals in an underground oven. From the looks of it, it seems like the local community is certainly appreciative of Barbakush and shows up for them.
Description: Petra Zavaleta is the chef behind Barbakush, a street food operation that serves traditional lamb barbacoa in Los Angeles, by way of Puebla, Mexico. Petra, her husband, and her sons work together to create their lamb barbacoa, which is a true labor of love. They break down an entire lamb and build a traditional underground barbecue oven in their backyard. They serve their barbacoa on hand-made tortillas, and use every part of the lamb to create more dishes like consommé and lamb menudo. Petra, who learned this ancient method of butchering and barbecuing from her childhood in Puebla, is driven to succeed by doing things her own way. The goal of Barbakush is to bring this Poblano method of cooking to new horizons in LA.
The American BBQ Showdown is more “Great British Bakeoff” than “Chopped” or “Top Chef,” with 8 amateur or competition barbecue pitmaster competing against each other in different meat competitions. Filmed outside of Atlanta in pre-pandemic times, it provided a welcome distraction for barbecue fans this past fall.
Hollywood mega writer/director/producer/actor Jon Favreau and LA Food Truck godfather Roy Choi spend two episodes with Aaron Franklin at Franklin Barbecue, first learning about his approach to brisket (S1E7) before participating in Franklin’s inaugural Hot Luck Festival in 2017 (S1E8). Check out our AV Club recap here and here)
This barbecue and live-fire cooking edition of the Chef’s Table series profiles 4 pitmasters or live-fire cooking chefs, with the Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s Barbecue and Rodney Scott episodes being the highlight for American barbecue fans.
In this first episode of the miniseries on food, food author Michael Pollan goes in search of primordial cooking and finds it in eastern North Carolina and Ed Mitchell. The episode follows Ed and his son Ryan as they pick out a pig from the butcher shop, get the coals started, and then proceed to smoke a whole hog for a small gathering at the end of the episode. Michael and a couple of buddies even try to emulate it on their own in a small, backyard pit in California. Ed also tells a story of how he learned to cook pigs from his grandfather, a former slave. The barbecue section starts at approximately 26:00.
This episode of Queer Eye helped make the Jones Bar-B-Q sisters – Little and Shorty – international barbecue celebrities when it aired earlier in 2019, but they have been doing barbecue in Kansas City for decades. Their sauce with the redesigned label courtesy of the Queer Eye crew is now a huge seller, with the website prominently displaying a banner reading “Please allow a 7-10 day delay in shipping as we have been overwhelmed at the response and will send your order as soon as we can.” From the looks of the episode, it appears that the newly found fame is well-deserved.
In the Philippines lechon, or whole roasted pig, is the preferred form of barbecue in this nation of over 7,000 islands. In this food custom, a smaller suckling pig is tied around a pole and rotated over a live fire for hours. This episode covers lechon in addition to a few other food customs from the city of Cebu in southern Philippines.
The Taco Chronicles is a Spanish-language food series where each episode focuses on a different type of taco. The “Barbacoa” episode focuses on the lamb/goat form of barbecue primarily located in Mexico and the southern border of Texas, which I’ve never tasted myself but is described on the episode as being “softer than the tortilla it is served on.”
Across two four-episode seasons of the travel show co-produced by the Texas Beef Council, host and native Texan Kelsey Pribilski criss-crosses Texas to meet with some of the best pitmasters in the state. She’s in search of the state’s best barbecue as well as secret barbecue menu items. The first season gets the large cities (Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth) out of the way, while season two is able to tackle more remote locales. Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn even makes an appearance as Kelsey’s guide for the Big Bend episode (S2E1).
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