Opening delayed until Friday May 22.
For our readers that have longed for real Texas BBQ, the wait is about to end when Hoodoo Brown BBQ opens for dinner in Ridgefield next Friday, May 22rd Friday, May 15th. CTbites was invited for a sneak peek to meet the owner Cody Sperry and Chris Sexton, spend some time with renowned pitmaster Nestor Laracuente, and most importantly sample some of the outstanding slow cooked meats that will be offered.
Cody (on the left above) and Chris (on the right above) were friends growing up in Ridgefield and had the dream of bringing real BBQ to their hometown. For the last 17 years they researched all aspects of this fantastic cuisine, from the smoker to the meat to the pitmaster. They eventually drove to Georgia and personally transported the 108” long Lang smoker. But it wasn’t until the final, and most important, piece of the puzzle was put in place that their dream would become a reality. Chris was engaged with renowned pitmaster Nestor Laracuente (pictured left with beef ribs) on social media and when the opportunity was presented to Nestor to move to CT from his native Queens, he visited Ridgefield, discussed the vision of Hoodoo Brown and decided to bring his craft to Fairfield County.
Located just south of the intersection of routes 7 and 35, Cody and Chris spent the last several months rebuilding the interior space. The interior is broken into three areas. To the right of the entrance is the community table room for 14 people to eat smoked meats and sides and enjoy a ballgame or an old time Western on the TV. The bar area is to the far left with 16 stools and 12 seats at high-top tables.
Hoodoo will focus on CT-based beers. At least 2 varieties of Black Hog Brewery from Oxford will be featured at all times, and at the opening Shebeen’s Java Pig, Charter Oak’s Brown Ale, Shiner’s Bock will also be available on tap plus Half Full Bright Ale, Two Roads No Limits Hefeweizen and Silk City Saison in cans. For stronger drinks, Old Smokey Moonshine (80-proof version) and Bird Dog Whiskey will round out a full selection of bourbons and other distills.
The main dining area seats 60 and the smoker is located just behind the restaurant in full view. The décor will transport the guests to the 19th century Wild West with photos of Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and most importantly the namesake of the restaurant, Hoodoo Brown (seated in the photo). Who was Hoodoo Brown? Born Hyman G. Neill, he changed his name and became the leader of one of the most feared and lawless gangs of the times, the Dodge City Gang in Las Vegas, which was credited with stagecoach and train robberies, murders, thievery and municipal corruption. Hoodoo was eventually driven out of Nevada, moved to Houston where he was arrested, released and headed to Mexico where he eventually died. He was considered one of the most colorful outlaws of the 1890’s.
Onto the food…the BBQ is spectacular. Nestor’s plans are to run the smoker 20-24 hours a day, rotating the meats from briskets, pork butts, beef ribs, pork ribs, sausages, pork bellies, chickens, and boneless turkey breasts (I also saw some smoked meatballs on the menu). Nestor was kind enough to bring out one of the 14+ hour smoked briskets to sample. He offered a few slices of the whole brisket, a couple of slices of the deckle, a few of the flat plus a handful of ends. The meat was perfectly seasoned (just salt and pepper) and was incredibly juicy and spectacular. It was interesting to listen to Nestor explain the differences in the cuts, the fat content and how each absorbed varying amounts of smokiness. This BBQ does not need any sauce, sauce would detract from the absolute perfection of the smoking.
The menu is diverse and full of choices for those wishing their own plate but is flexible for sharng. Cody was quick to point out, “We want our guests to sample everything. We would like them to have a little pork, some ribs, and some brisket. We will serve on tin trays that will allow for a family style experience.” To assist in the family experience, “The Gangs All Here” section includes two options. The Holy Texas Trinity (recommended for 4-6) includes a pound of brisket, 3 sausage links, and a rack of St. Louis style ribs. Bring a larger group and order the Table Breaker, a pound of meat, a beef rib, half chicken, and a full rack of St. Louis style ribs. Sides will include Pit Beans, Mac & Cheese, Candied Yams and Collard Greens. For those not interested in the smoked meats there are two southern classics, a Fried Chicken and Red Velvet Waffles with ancho chili maple syrup and Maple Bourbon Glazed Salmon. Guests looking for sauce for their meats...each table will have a fire roasted smoked Jalapeño chimichurri for the beef ribs, a citrusy red BBQ sauce, a thin vinegar based Carolina sauce and a Alabama white BBQ sauce for the poultry.
After one quick meal at Hoodoo Brown BBQ this will be a go-to BBQ place in Fairfield County. After seventeen years of waiting for true BBQ, Cody and Chris' dream is about to become a reality and my wait for fantastic BBQ is almost over. Stay tuned as CTbites returns during the opening weekend and reports back on all the BBQ.
967 Ethan Allen Highway - Ridgefield, Connecticut