BBQ in Brooklyn

  • January 31, 2015

Since moving to New York, I find myself starting many a sentence with “Where I come from we…” So much so that I am beginning to wonder if I’ve turned into the dude from the song “Land Down Under.”  But alas, there are no vegemite sandwiches in my recipe collection, no flute solos on my iPod, no glowing women and plundering men…oh I am getting off track. My point is, I am long way away from the thick green woods, the flat lazy rivers and the wide open spaces from my homeland in North Carolina.

While I have adapted to my new normal in many ways, one thing remains constant in my glutton heart: I fucking love barbeque. I just do. It’s smoky, it’s succulent, it’s slap-yo-mama good – a phrase that one can’t begin to understand unless they have a rib in one hand and a cold glass of sweet tea in the other.

One of my favorite memories with my dad is the two of us tending to the fire to keep the smoker going at a solid 215 degrees. A large part in keeping the temperature constant is to keep the lid on, but we can’t help but dare each other open the lid to take a peek – just a quick peek – at the glorious hunk of meat slow cooking its way to protein perfection. There is a blanketing smell that looms around the house and yard of smoke infused fat rendering down over charcoal that is so enticing that even the cat will brave coming near me and the dog for a chance to get one step closer to whatever the hell is going on. I often wonder what is going through our pets’ minds as they appear hypnotized by the wonders taking place around them.

Memories of these afternoons that would extend into the early evening have stayed with me long after the September when I traded grass for concrete, stars for street lights and the sounds of evening critters for car horns and sirens. It is this distinct feeling of home that I hold on to and can’t help but try to recreate in my new home from time to time. While there is really no substitute for a smoker and a back yard, we can always rest ourselves assured that no matter what, gentle heat applied to a pork shoulder over a long period of time will always yield tender meaty goodness regardless of place, time or the presence of smoke.

It’s not to say that you can’t get good barbecue in New York, it’s just that places tend to generally miss the point of it. It’s sparse enough to be treated like a delicacy around here and oftentimes it can be laughably expensive. You don’t get the picnic table vibe where you order your meat and sides by the pound and eat everything out of white styrofoam dishes while sitting amongst your neighbors. So much of my experience with barbecue is the endless summer feeling that permeates from the slow cooking methods and leisurely afternoons, one that is so hard to artificially create in a place with only one, relentless speed.

Nevertheless, we march onward and evolve, for where there is a hunger, there is a way. When I fell prey to the urge for a Southern-style food binge, I look no further than the recipes below. I would recommend inviting a dozen people over and spending the next Saturday of your life whipping up this litany of Southern comfort recipes – all you need is an oven and some time on your hands!

City Style Pulled Pork

Pulled PorkWhere I come from, pork shoulders are slow cooked in a smoker in the backyard for hours and hours. Whenever I get home sick for good ol fashioned delicious porkiness, I turn to this recipe for comfort. While you won’t get the same smokey complexity, the full-flavored and tender meat this recipe produces is a very close second! Skip the smoker and crank up the oven for this city style pork shoulder.
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Eastern NC BBQ Sauce

NC Style BBQ SauceTake a trip to eastern North Carolina with this tasty barbecue sauce. This sauce packs a vinegary punch, balanced with a little brown sugar and goes great atop the City Style Pulled Pork recipe. If your taste buds prefer a sweeter sauce, this might not be for you, but if you’re curious as to what all the talk is about, take a leap of faith and enjoy the wonders of this vinegar-based treat!
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Zesty Coleslaw

Zesty ColeslawIf it weren’t for coleslaw, many of the rednecks I grew up with likely wouldn’t have any vegetables in their diet at all. At least any that aren’t fried. This coleslaw is hardly the classic preparation and certainly “ain’t yo Mama’s recipe,” but it is mine! No one has mastered the balance of spice and crunch quite like my mother, but with the aide this recipe, you’ll be well on your way!
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Norf Cackalacky Corn Cakes

Corn CakesThink of these corn cakes as pancakes’ fun uncle – he storms through town on a motorcycle wearing a black leather jacket, ready to hand you your first beer and stir up all sorts of trouble. These cakes are so delicious that you will be elbowing your dearest loved ones out of the way to snag the last one. Dip them in barbecue sauce, use them as two pieces of “bread,” for a sandwich or eat them straight up, you really can’t go wrong!
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4 Replies to "BBQ in Brooklyn"

  • Lil Swindell
    February 9, 2015 (11:49 am)

    So COOL, Forrest. Love you

    • Forrest
      February 9, 2015 (6:37 pm)

      I love you, too! There may have been a gal or two in our family that inspired my love for food!

  • Eliza
    February 15, 2015 (9:38 am)

    Straight up killin it. Love the post, almost as much as I love BBQ! Nice work!

    • Forrest
      March 1, 2015 (12:27 pm)

      Thanks EJ! I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for checking out the post!