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Entries in BBQ (45)

Sunday
Dec042016

Outrageous BBQ at Mason Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford

World-class BBQ returns to CT with the homecoming of renowned pitmaster Nestor Laracuente, who is overseeing the kitchen at Mason Dixon Smokehouse in Stamford. When I heard that Nestor was teaming up with Mason Dixon, I was ecstatic, the mounds of his perfectly prepared meats that I raved about at Hoodoo Brown were indelible etched in my memory. Would Mason Dixon fill the void that I have felt for months? Bottom line…yes, the food is spectacular.

Laracuente is a soft-spoken lover of meats and Southern rock who spent years perfecting his craft. After leaving CT last year, he returned to Brooklyn where he spent time with his buddy at Beast of Bourbon in Bed-Stuy. His time was spent experimenting with new rubs, new dishes, waiting for the right opportunity for his return to Connecticut. His newest venture, of which he is part-owner, opened a few weeks ago and it is slowly expanding the menu. 

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Sunday
Nov202016

Soul Tasty Opens in Stamford: Southern Food from the Soul to the Table

Fairfield County offers some of the best food in the country, from trucks to fine dining, and when a restaurant serves food from the soul, it is special, it is uplifting, it makes you overjoyed. Every now and then I visit a new place that fits all these categories. Stephanie Webster, my CTbites partner, and I were looking for a new place for a lunch meeting and we chose Soul Tasty...we wanted to see what the buzz was about. It is located on Main Street in Stamford at the end of a dead end that doubles as the entrance to a pedestrian bridge and parking is incredibly difficult, have patience, it is worth it.

Soul Tasty is the brain-child and dream of Chef Jean Gabriel, Jr. When you walk in, you can feel the love. The walls are brightly painted, a little graffiti on the rear counter pronouncing FEED YOUR SOUL and a colorful menu above the hot trays holding the products of the chef’s homage to the Southern recipes of his grandmother.

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Sunday
Oct302016

DrewbaQ Food Truck: BBQ Sandwiches "Smokin' the Streets of CT"

More barbecue is a good thing, and if you're not on board with this basic fact, then you can just get out of my face. It was with this cardinal rule of life firmly in mind that I hit the road in search of a new truck on the Connecticut food scene - a truck selling barbecue and barbecue accoutrements. The fact that this particular Friday found the DrewbaQ food truck at Veracious Brewing Company in Monroe was a purely unrelated coincidence, to be sure. It would be a grave disservice to you, our beloved CTBites readership, if I did not take full advantage of this entirely unforeseen circumstance so, in humble service to your unending curiosity re: all things food and beverage, I had several beers with my BBQ. So that I might report on pairings, you see. 

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Wednesday
May182016

Judy's Bar + Kitchen Opens in Stamford with Low Country BBQ

Judith Roll, creator of the popular Tabouli Mediterranean Grill in Stamford, felt that the dining neighborhood north of Bullshead was underserved.  “The area needed something a little hip,” she told CTBites recently.  “So I thought, take a chance, and try Barbecue.”

As if by wizardry, wisps of sweet hickory smoke were soon wafting over High Ridge Road, not far from the Merritt, as Judy’s  Bar + Kitchen opened its doors to a diverse (and hungry) local crowd.   

Even though she bills her dinner dishes as “Low Country,” Judith made no pilgrimage to Memphis and Carolina to study the nuances of time, temperature, cuts and woods.  Rather she stayed in the neighborhood and developed her menu out of a culinary sensibility honed at CIA and the kitchens of gifted chefs like Wolfgang Puck. 

“Simple and fresh are my style,” she says.  “Good meat, cooked low and slow, what more do you need to know?” 

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Thursday
May122016

Fire Up Some Fun at Sun BBQFest at Mohegan Sun

Photo courtesy of CTNOWBrace yourself for a grillin’ and chillin’ good time at Sun BBQFest. On June 11th & 12th, sink your teeth into the best barbeque around with festivities featuring celebrity BBQ Chef — Myron Mixon, live music, beer trailers, barbeque showdowns, local vendors, food trucks and so much more!

Tickets are $5.00 per day and go on sale Friday, April 1st through the Mohegan Sun Box Office. Kids 6 and under get in free. The weekend of the event, tickets for entry are available at the gate along with food and drink tickets.

Eat, Drink, Compete

Get in on all the BBQ action and decide who reigns supreme during the People’s Choice Contest all weekend long. Purchase $2.00 samples from 20 participating Kansas City BBQ Society teams and cast your vote for the ultimate best at Sun BBQFest. Competition remains fierce on Saturday with a Rib Contest fromNoon to 2:30pm followed by a Wing Challenge from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. For $5.00, each contest offers a sampling of 5 wings or 5 ribs for you to judge! A portion of the proceeds benefits the Sun BBQFest official charity, Operation BBQ Relief.

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Thursday
Apr142016

Millwright's & Bear’s Smokehouse Opening "The Cook and The Bear" Restaurant in West Hartford

They say “birds of a feather flock together.”  Chef Tyler Anderson of Millwright's in Simsbury and Jamie McDonald of Bear’s Smokehouse are proving that isn’t always the case.  In August, the two will come together to open The Cook and The Bear in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.  The restaurant will make for an interesting meeting of the minds; Millwright’s is known for its farm-to-table cuisine while Bear’s Smokehouse serves classic finger-lickin’ Kansas City-style barbeque.

“It’s a fun concept,” says AJ Aurrichio, Millwrights’ Operations Manager.  “We’re taking traditional barbeque and putting a chef’s perspective on it.”

They first started testing the idea of a merger in August 2015.  Every Monday night, they offered pop-up dinners with dishes representative of what the new restaurant could entail.  Diners were very receptive and they moved forward.

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” laughs Aurrichio.

Anderson and McDonald gave guests a sneak peek of the new concept at Savor’s Grand Tasting event, which took place in Hartford on April 7 and 8.  They presented a “Smoked Pork Kimchi Pancake with Gochujang BBQ.”  It was the perfect fusion of both elements- BBQ reimagined with gourmet view.  The softer, starchier pancake balanced out the strong spice from the pork.  Meanwhile, green onion on top added crunch.

CTBites will keep you updated as details unfold!  In the meantime, enjoy Millwright’s and Bear’s Smokehouse!

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Thursday
Sep102015

Recap: CTbites Chef Demo Tent Rocks the Blues, View & BBQ Festival 2015

Top Chefs from all around Fairfield County gathered at the CTbites Chef Demo Tent to delight guests at the Blues, Views & BBQ Festival this past weekend in Westport. They grilled, demoed recipes, and served up some great eats to thousands of eager fans. Was it fun? Heck yeah. The chefs you see above hail from: Match, Walrus + Carpenter, The Spread, Fleishers Craft Butchery, Bobby Q’s, Vespa, Can Tiin & NEAT, as well as Da Pietro's. They made brisket, pork buns, sliders, pork belly, and every other cut of every meat imaginable. Good times were had by all. Check out the pics!

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Sunday
Aug162015

CTbites Chef Demo Lineup @ The Blues Views & BBQ Festival, Sept 5 & 6

The 8th annual Blues, Views & BBQ Festival presented by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association will be held in Westport CT on September 5 & 6 at the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts and the grounds of the Westport Library.  

CTbites will once again play host to the areas top chefs as they grill up and demo some of their favorite dishes and offer up samples for attendees of the festival. Come on down and meet this incredibly talented group of local chefs. 

CTbites Chef Line-up for 2015

Saturday 9/5

12:00- Match- Chef Matt Storch

1:00- Walrus + Carpenter- Chef Jon Vaast

2:00-  The Spread- Chef Carlos Baez

3:00-  Fleishers Craft Butchery- Emily Mingrone

Sunday 9/6

12:00-  Bobby Q’s – Tim Doherty 

1:00-   Vespa -  Chef David White 

2:00-  HooDoo Brown- Cody Sperry

3:00-  Da Pietro’s- Chef Pietro Scotti 

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Sunday
Aug022015

Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield: Gluttonous Carnivorianism

The heck with “Veni, vidi, vici,” my return visit to Hoodoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield was more we came, we saw, we ordered and man we tried. And when I say we tried…we tried EVERY meat on the menu and we tried to eat every ounce of meat on numerous trays. If this was a gunfight with Hoodoo Brown in the 1870s we would be full of holes, he won.

Armed with a reservation for the “BBQ Room,” twelve of us ventured to Hoodoo Brown. As our group congregated, I placed the initial appetizer order plus a round of beers, sodas and lemonades.  To warm up our appetites, this initial order included two large BBQ Nachos (one with chopped brisket and the other with pulled pork), a dozen Bourbon Teriyaki Wings and a couple of Strawberry and Arugula salads. As we waited, super Pitmaster Nestor Laracuente wandered into the room to offer his humble thanks to all of us for coming and wished us a great meal. He was heading back to Queens for the evening before beginning the return voyage the following morning at 4AM.

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Wednesday
May062015

Meet Walrus + Carpenter's Pitmaster, Ben McCrea, The Man Who Makes The Meat

 
Ben McCrea is a gentle-giant of a man, but don't let his warm, friendly facade fool you. Underneath that kind-hearted shell is a mean, Auss-een, grilling machine.

In the WAY back of the lot on Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport that Walrus + Carpenter calls home, is the perch where Ben keeps watch. His job... smoking all types of meat to perfection. But what makes the man that makes the meat?

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Ben gained his skills from watching his grandfather grill on the "barbie," but becoming a grill master wasn't his first passion. Ben came to the States as a boxer and did very well in that 'arena.' However, boxing is a short career and Ben knew something more awaited. What he didn't know was that it would be a smoker with a 500 gallon propane tank, commissioned by Walrus co-owner Joe Farrell (along with Adam Roytman.)

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