Linkdown: 4/1/20

With the recent return to curbside service as a result of social distancing, Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge returns to its roots of carhops

Last week’s Smoke Sheet examined how barbecue joints are adapting to Covid-19

Horn Barbecue in Oakland is raising money to help feed the community during covid-19

Josh Bowen of John Brown Smokehouse is raising money for ER workers in NYC

Neil McClure of McCure’s Barbecue and the Deswine Intervention competition team smoked barbecue for Children’s Hospital workers last weekend in New Orleans

The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest has been rescheduled to Sept 30-Oct 3

There is no ‘I’ in barbecue

Johnson Family Barbecue in Durham had a recent incident with a Postmates driver and the owner Wayne Johnson has made things worse by responding to negative Yelp reviews with racist and inflammatory language

The death of barbecue hash was perhaps premature, writes Robert Moss for Southern Living

Pinkerton’s BBQ owner Grant Pinkerton is interviewed by The Andy Staple Show on The Athletic and discusses how his staff are dealing with Covid-19

Uncorked is a new Netflix movie set in a Memphis barbecue restaurant that serves…brisket?

WILBER’S BACK (soon)

John Brown Smokehouse – Long Island City, NY

Name: John Brown Smokehouse
Address: 10-43 44th Dr, Long Island City, NY 11101
Order: 1/2 lb of burnt ends, 1/2 lb pork belly, and 1/2 lb pulled pork with corn bread and collards (link to menu)
Pricing: $$

A quick work trip to New York City allowed me to accomplish a couple of barbecue-related things while in town (after finishing up my day job requirements, of course): try another New York barbecue joint to see how its barbecue scene continues to develop and also meet up with Sean Ludwig of NYC BBQ and The Smoke Sheet.

Regarding the latter, I had met up with Ryan Cooper (aka BBQ Tourist), the other half of The Smoke Sheet, last year in Charlotte so meeting Sean would complete my Smoke Sheet punch card. Turns out, Sean is also a great guy and I enjoyed “talking shop” regarding all things barbecue and how they run The Smoke Sheet. Sean is a thoughtful guy and gave me a lot of great things to think about when it comes to Barbecue Bros.

In terms of barbecue, I knew I would be limited when it comes to barbecue options after 8pm on a Monday night. Consulting with Sean ahead of time, we settled on John Brown Smokehouse in Long Island City since it’s open until 10 and was convenient to both my midtown hotel and Sean’s apartment. John Brown’s is a Kansas City-style barbecue joint that opened in 2012 and its co-owner and pitmaster Josh Bowen has also opened the Texas-themed Mothership Meat Company a few miles away, but that appears to be more of a warm weather patio spot.

Thankfully, John Brown Smokehouse was able to mostly deliver when it came to barbecue though some meats were understandably out by the time we get there (which is of course always preferable to serving old or not-up-to-par meats). Sean took the lead in terms of the order and we settled on a 1/2 lb each of burnt ends, pork belly, and pulled pork.

I’ll get the pulled pork out of the way since it was my least favorite of the three meats. John Brown Smokehouse served a coarsely chopped pulled pork that had good bark that surprisingly lacked much flavor.

The brisket is apparently not the order at John Brown and instead Sean recommended that we should go for the burnt ends. According to Sean, the brisket is sliced too thin while the burnt ends are taken from the fatty point of the brisket so you should just order them instead. Curiously, the burnt ends were not sauced as you might expect from a Kansas City joint but regardless, they were moist and flavorful.

I’m not sure if pork belly is typical at Kansas City barbecue restaurants or if this was a case of just wanting to have a variety of meats on John Brown’s menu, but it was yet another case of a successful protein available past 9. Similar to the other meats, it came sauceless but the well-rendered fattiness of the pork belly didn’t require any sauce.

Speaking of sauces, be sure to taste test your sauce bottles if you do go for sauce, as the highly spicy variant of the barbecue was mistakenly labeled and could have led to unexpected results had I been overly aggressive with the sauce.

In terms of sides, the cornbread is a must order at John Brown Smokehouse. Though its not a traditional cornbread cake, instead having a texture of a corn pudding. Moist and sweet, their version of cornbread was a different twist on cornmeal I hadn’t seen before that more than made up for their lackluster collards.

John Brown Smokehouse would have been forgiven for mediocre meats at a less-than-optimal time of day. Thankfully, they more than delivered a great meal on a rainy, nasty Monday night and I can imagine earlier in the day it would have been even better.

Ratings:
Atmosphere – 3.5 hogs
Pork – 3 hogs
Burnt Ends – 3.5 hogs
Pork Belly – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 4 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs

Linkdown: 2/26/20

The Fusion BBQ Beer Fest claimed to be hosting an event at Dodger Stadium in June, only no one has heard of the organizers and there is a Dodger game that day

You say that South Carolina has 4 distinct barbecue regions? Not so fast my friend, says Robert Moss

More whole hog in Texas from Bryan Bingham of Bodacious BBQ in Longview, Russell Roegels with Roegels Barbecue in Houston, and Tyler Harp from Harp Barbecue in Kansas City

The 3rd annual BBQ Summit at the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension brought cook teams and judges from all over the state to Kinston last Saturday

Congrats to Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que of Brownsville, TX on being named an American Classic by the James Beard Foundation

Mighty Quinn’s BBQ will give sad Knicks fans good food options at the Garden

ICYMI, I wrote about barbecue on streaming TV for The Smoke Sheet in last week’s issue; read below

Linkdown: 10/2/19

Whole hog barbecue continues to catch on in Texas

Don’t worry about Texas barbecue though, as it continues to thrive around the world and in particular at Holy Smoke BBQ

EDIA Maps is featuring a NC barbecue joint every week in October; subscribe to their mailing list to get a more in-depth write up in your email inbox

Mighty Quinn’s has franchise locations in Dubai, the Philippines, and Taiwan (in addition to their 12 corporate locations in the greater NYC area) but will begin opening its first franchise locations in the US in Queens and Long Island

The NC State Fair this year will feature a number of new foods including a smoked turkey leg stuffed with turkey cracklins and mac and cheese

NoDa may some day get a barbecue joint, but it won’t be in the former Solstice Tavern; however the Mason Jar Group still hopes to bring a full-service barbecue restaurant to the neighborhood soon

Stubb’s to remain Stubb’s

John Tanner’s BBQ Blog visits Tank House BBQ & Bar in Sacramento and enjoyed both the brisket as well as the Pliny the Elder

All aboard the barbecue train!