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A week ago, the incredible new cookbook Smoked was released, by New York-based pitmaster Ed Randolph of Handsome Devil BBQ. Randolph has been traveling the country for years making good barbecue with his Handsome Devil BBQ crew. So a few years ago he had the idea to start working on a collection of pitmaster stories and recipes that eventually turned into a book.
I'm proud to have been part of the book's creation, as I helped introduce Randolph to some of my favorite New York pitmasters and he asked me to write the Foreword. On Page 13, I talked about my history with Ed and outlined some of the biggest trends I've seen in barbecue the past few years.
One of the things that makes the book so special (not including my Foreword) is its intense focus on barbecue joints in the New York area and the Northeastern U.S., a rarity for barbecue books that usually focus on Southern locales.
"We're based out of the Northeast, so our travel radius is based in the Northeast most of the time," Randolph said. "The Northeast is not represented [in barbecue books]. People don't usually think of the Northeast as a barbecue destination, and I wanted to show what we have to offer."
It's unbelievable how many Northeastern barbecue joints and teams appear in the book. Here they are in order of appearance:
Hometown Bar-B-Que - Brooklyn, New York
Blue Smoke - New York, New York
The Smoke Shop - Somerville, Massachusetts
Pig Beach - Brooklyn, New York
Izzy's Brooklyn Smokehouse - Brooklyn, New York
I Que - Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Kimchi Smoke - Westwood, New Jersey
Smokin' Hoggz BBQ - Abington, Massachusetts
Monk's Meats - Brooklyn, New York
Big Papa Smoke'm - River Edge, New Jersey
Greenwich Que Co. - Greenwich, Connecticut
Butch's Smack Your Lips BBQ - Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Red White & Que Smokehouse - Keary, New Jersey
Jack's Downhome BBQ - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5 Alarm Backyard BBQ - Teaneck, New Jersey
Handsome Devil BBQ - Newburgh, New York
The book is also unique for its depth and variety of recipes. There is no single focus, with mains, sides, and desserts all getting a chance to shine. On top of this, it's somewhat radical for a barbecue book to include two vegan barbecue options, which it does from Monk's Meats out of Brooklyn.
"Barbecue is no longer just a Southern cuisine," Randolph said. "I wanted to showcase what we can do with barbecue going forward. In the future, barbecue will be heavily influenced by the community. For example, Monk's Meats or Billy Durney's Korean Sticky Ribs."
A few of the most fascinating recipes from Smoked include the Bacon-Wrapped and Boudin-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin from The Shed in Ocean Springs, Mississippi; the Holiday Smoked Prime Rib from Truth Barbecue in Brenham, Texas; the Brisket Benedict from Trudy's Underground Barbecue in Studio City, California; and the Korean Ribs from Kimchi Smoke in Westwood, New Jersey.
Randolph has already been contacted by several pitmasters for a potential sequel to Smoked, one that would include a new round of pitmaster stories and recipes from even more joints around the country. The publisher is waiting to get feedback and see sales numbers for the book before officially greenlighting another collection, but it's looking promising.
He will be touring around at various events this year, some for his Handsome Devil operation and some to promote the book. If you want to get a signed copy of Smoked, be sure to come to Rib King NYC on May 30, where Randolph will also be a judge.
Founder, NYC BBQ
EAT ALL ABOUT IT
Here are the top BBQ and food stories in the New York area this week:
I was interviewed for a relatively silly (but fun) New York Post story that “grill envy is crushing dudes who don’t have room to barbecue.” While it’s true that many New Yorkers don’t have room to grill, it’s also true that you don’t need a huge, expensive grill or smoker to make incredible meats.
If you’re like the sad guys above and want to do some grilling outside this summer, NYC has some great parks where you can grill. These include Randall’s Island Park, Prospect Park, and Alley Pond Park.
A new vegan barbecue restaurant called Honeybee’s has just opened in the East Village. The saloon-inspired bar features food that is 100-percent vegan, from the brisket and chorizo to the hush puppies and condiments. It also features 70 American whiskeys on rotation.
Newsweek’s new list of the nine best restaurants in Brooklyn includes Hometown Bar-B-Que, Bunker, and Peter Luger’s.
Baltimore's “world famous” barbecue pit beef sandwich has made its way to Delaware. Chaps Pit Beef, a popular Maryland joint since 1987, opened a new location recently in Coastal Station off Del. 1, next to the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Rehoboth, according to Delmarva Now.
New York Upstate spotlighted some of the best things to do in Lewiston, New York and included going to Brickyard Pub & BBQ, a local Lewiston favorite. They recommend getting “St. Louis style and baby back ribs with the house barbecue sauce,” which are “lip-smacking, finger-licking good.”
Lohud also got in on the BBQ recommendations game for this week and shouted out the best BBQ in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and North Jersey.
Here are the top BBQ (and related) food events coming soon to the New York metro area:
May 18: The Beer, BBQ, and Bacon Showdown is happening in Morristown, New Jersey this Saturday. Not only will the event have some NJ BBQ joints such as Texas Smoke Barbecue, Bacon Me Crazy, The Bearded One BBQ, one of my personal faves Kimchi Smoke Barbecue, and Sauced and Rubbed, but it will only feature NJ beers from 30 breweries in the Garden State. More info here.
May 18-19: The World’s Fare 2019 at Citi Field in Queens will be taking place again this weekend. More than 100 vendors will come together and unite through authentic food, drink and music curated by the city’s leading culinary advocates. Buy tickets here.
May 22: Support Camp Brooklyn After Dark at Hill Country Barbecue while enjoying your choice of margaritas, beer or wine, and a “Texas Sampler” in Flatiron. Proceeds will go to the Camp Brooklyn Fund, which funds the cost of sleep away camps for low-income children from Brooklyn. Buy tickets here.
May 18-19: Harlem's food and the people who make it are waiting for your taste buds during The Harlem Stroll. This ticket gives you access to an unlimited walk around tasting of 20+ of the best restaurants in Harlem, including Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken. Buy tickets here.
May 30: Don’t miss Rib King NYC 2019, the first barbecue event curated by NYC BBQ. This all-inclusive event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is produced by Food Karma Events and will be a celebration of beef and pork ribs with more than 10 pitmasters and chefs from NYC, including Cash Only BBQ, Hill Country, Izzy’s, Mable’s, Morgan’s, Pig Beach, and more. Buy tickets here.
June 8: The NYC Bacon and Beer Classic 2019 will take place at the Brooklyn Mirage and will celebrate two of the best things in life: bacon and beer. Over 50 local restaurants will be serving bacon-inspired dishes and local breweries will be pouring over 100 craft beers. Buy tickets here.
June 21-23: The Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival will take place in, you guessed it, Saratoga, New York. The event will feature BBQ from six national vendors, and there will also be draft beers from New Belgium Brewery, spirits from Black Button Distilling, and more. In addition to BBQ, there will be hot air balloon launches, live entertainment, a kids zone, a festival marketplace, and more. More info here.
July 5-7: Just after the fourth of July, the I Love BBQ and Music Festival 2019 will be revving up in Lake Placid, New York. This is a large event that attracts barbecue enthusiasts from all around the Tri-state area. Not only are there Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions happening on-site, but there are also lots of food and drink vendors for the public to eat and drink well while watching lots of live music. More info here.
July 12-14: The New Jersey State Barbecue Championship will not only be about competition, but will also have live cooking demonstrations and music throughout the weekend. Sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, the NJ champ will have the opportunity to compete at the American Royal in Kansas City later this year. Details about the weekend here.