Latham House BBQ Team: Red, White and Que KCBS 2014: Cresskill, NJ

I had the opportunity to spend some time at the 2014 Red, White and Que KCBS event in Cresskill, NJ, this past weekend.

dbroc, from the Latham House BBQ team, invited me down, and of course I brought my camera. I didn't expect to shoot any video (rather, I was going to take photos), but when I got home I had quite a bit of video on the card.  Here are some highlights from the Latham House team's day.




Fat Gangnam Boy Hero: from Kimchi Smoke BBQ

Fat gangnam boy

Robert Cho, the pitmaster and operator of Kimchi Smoke/Fatboy BBQ Shack, a North Jersey-based mobile BBQ outfit, and I have become internet acquaintances, largely because he follows this blog and seems to revel in busting my balls, thereby drawing much of my attention to himself. It's infuriating at times, I must admit. But we also both share a passion for BBQ, and we've had a bunch of conversations on that subject.

More interesting to me than his incessant ball-busting and his love of BBQ is his approach to BBQ--he's a fan of Texas brisket, and he's incorporating the food of his Korean culture into the mix.

A few weeks ago he posted a picture of a new creation to Twitter/Facebook called the Fat Gangnam Boy Hero: bulgogi ribeye, cheese, kimchi pickles, BBQ sauce, on a hero. The idea of this sandwich immediately resonated with me and I have really really been looking forward to getting my hands on one. I was finally able to eat this thing this past Saturday at the Fort Lee Arts and Music Festival.

Fort Lee PD

For some reason I rolled into the festival at 10.30am. I had no idea it was that early, and had thought that things kicked off at 10. They didn't. Things didn't kick off until after 11, and the Kimchi Smoke team wasn't going to be ready to about noon.

I killed some time taking pictures of the motorcycle cops doing low speed slaloms around cones in the parking lot. This was pretty impressive maneuvering and interesting to watch. They'd come to a complete stop and take hard turns at a snail's pace, in tight formation and on top of each other. You can see how these skills would come in handy for a motorcycle cop in a town largely known for being one of the 3 arteries into Manhattan from New Jersey.

I checked out some of the other food stalls and trucks. The Callahan's hot dog guys were there. That Johnny Meatballs fellow was there. I saw a guy making wood-fired pizza. Just to name a few of the options. There seemed to be some stiff competition, but I'd suggest that the Kimchi Smoke boys were probably making the most interesting food there. This opinion, of course, formed from nothing but ignorance, since I didn't try anyone else's food.

Kimchismoke tent

Let's get back to this sandwich.

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Sunshine's Beach Bar and Grill: Pinney's Beach, Nevis

Table with a view at Sunshine's, overlooking the compound   

Sunshine's website says "no visit is complete without a stop in at Sunshine's where you can meet the legend himself, Sunshine."  I think they're right.

The colorful little shack call Sunshine's is located on Pinney's beach just south of the Four Seasons resort on Nevis.  In a compound which also includes Lime and Chevy's.  No doubt you've heard this a million times if you've looked for info on Sunshine's.  I suspect the rest of this report will sound familiar as well, but that won't stop me.

Sunshine's interior.  Casual and comfortable, much like Nevis.

My expectation was that I'd be going to Sunshine's for their famous rum cocktail called "The Killer Bee."  I did not realize that the food is outstanding as well.  But first those Killer Bees...

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Taylor, TX: Louie Mueller BBQ



Have you had enough of New Jersey?  Here at the t:e organization, we get that way, generally several times a year.  But, this is a self-proclaimed "New Jersey-centric" blog, so the "editor" refrains, for the most part, from talking about food from other parts of the globe.  

On the one hand, I think this focus makes tommy:eats a unique blog; after all, its purpose isn't to focus on the "editor-in-chief" and his personal exploits and various interests outside of food (you know little about me, and I prefer to keep it that way).  But rather, its purpose is to focus on the good stuff in, and sometimes around, New Jersey.  You come here, and you read about food.  No bullshit, no filler.

But, alas, I, the "managing editor" of tommy:eats, do run out of New Jersey-centric topics on which to opine, as any reader no doubt realizes.  This is largely due to the fact that I rarely post about a restaurant that I simply do not like...of which there are many, at which many of my dollars are spent.  These are wasted meals, and wasted opportunities to share a good experience...not to mention wasted money. 

So what's an "editor-at-large" supposed to do?  Just ignore his fan base? Well, yes, usually.  And you will be especially ignored if you think I fancy myself an "editor."  Maybe change the rules a bit?

There is, I should note, a precedent for this rule tweaking.  As you no doubt don't recall, I enjoyed the hell out of the navel-gazing Lollapalooza report from my first year with this blog.  I wrestled with posting it, as it wasn't NJ-centric.  But at the end of the day it made me very happy to share that experience with people.  After all, it contained reports of hot dogs, steaks, burgers, pizza, and music.  And if you don't enjoy at least one of those things, you're probably not reading this right now.

Something's got to give here at the t:e organization.  To heck with it!  We love NJ, but there's a lot more good stuff out there, just over the Jersey border somewhere, right? And some of you might even end up where that stuff is.

So who wants to hear about Texas BBQ?  WOO-HOO!  Let's do this thing.

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Best of Bergen Restaurants: 2010

201 Magazine recently published their yearly readers poll of the Best of Bergen 2010, online here (click).  It doesn't seem to be online yet, but I'll update this post once it is.

Since I haven't done a "best of" in a while, I figured I'd list their winners, and then provide the real (my) answers. 

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Fire & Oak: Montvale, NJ

Fire and oak

Walking out of Montvale's Fire & Oak after our recent meal, I felt a feeling that I hadn't felt in quite some time.  I had just given someone 100 bucks, and I wasn't pissed off about it.  I felt like I actually got my money's worth.

Granted, this was just one visit, but my experiences at South City Prime, the now defunct restaurant which begat Fire & Oak (the "Prime" concept wasn't going to fly in this economy, so the owners scaled back their existing restaurant in Little Falls and the two they had planned to the more casual "Fire & Oak"), were always pleasurable, and I would like to assume Fire & Oak is on the same track.  

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Brisket: BBQ experiment

My 2 attempts at smoked brisket have ranged from pretty good (the first time), to dry and not done enough (the second time).  Since I was messing around supermarket brisket, I decided that instead of continuing with this Micky Mouse shit, I'd go for the real thing:  a whole brisket, also known as a "packer cut".  It includes not only that overly-trimmed, lean piece of meat you usually see posing as "brisket" (the "flat", as it's called), but also the more fatty piece that is on top (the "point").

Brisket first attempt

The first time.  Pretty good.

I called The Market Basket in Franklin Lakes, NJ, and they had one in Cryovac.  Just what I wanted.  While I expecting something at about 10 pounds, what I got when I picked it up was a 19 pound brisket.  Holy enormous cow, Batman.

Brisket 19 pounds

8 inch knife, for reference purposes

I trimmed off about 3 pounds of fat, which put this thing at 16 pounds.  According to everything I've read, that's about 16 hours worth of smoking.  There's simply no choice but to do this overnight, so away I went to my gas grill.  Purists, you might as well stop reading here, if you haven't already.

Brisket trimmed fat

3 pounds of beef fat, and 20 pounds of cat fat

The only other prep on the meat was a good, healthy rub of fresh cracked pepper and salt.  A whole bunch of pepper, and only slightly less salt.  A lot of this is going to come off during the cooking process, and even if it doesn't, we're still talking about 16 pounds of meat.  Not 16 ounces, which is a nice sized steak.  But 16 pounds.  Pounds baby, pounds.

Brisket with pepper

stretch-tite is awesome, and might very well be the only plastic wrap on the planet that actually works

The size of this brisket is only part of the challenge.

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