On Monday I attended the most unlikely BBQ event ever. There were no ponytails, nobody with a mop bucket of sauce glazing ribs on a smoker hauled in by an 18-wheeler, and it did not take place at a county fair, or in conjunction with a microbrew fest. Those types of events are fine and dandy (as anything involving BBQ tends to be), but the meat they churn out pales in comparison to the ewe that was pulled from the J&R smoker sitting in the back of Legends sports bar in Jackson Heights a couple of days ago. Jackson Heights isn’t traditionally known for great BBQ. Nestled in the western part of Queens, it’s home to large Bangladeshi and Indian populations, and it's those restaurants that make up most of the culinary landscape. So it might seem strange at first that this is the location food writer Josh Ozersky chose for his monthly series of meatcentric dinners, but that’s precisely the brilliance of it. His little operation fills a nice, smoker-shaped hole in a neighborhood criminally deprived of Southern-style delicacies.
Robbie Richter (left) and Josh Ozersky (right) with their ewe right out of the smoker.
Each month Josh (who is basically the Jeffrey Deitch of meat, dealing in deckle and short rib instead of Barry McGee installations) will select a new pitmaster for the dinner. First up was Robbie Richter of Hill Country Barbecue Market. Together Josh and Robbie secured a two-year-old ewe and rubbed and smoked the hell out of her.
The ubiquitous Korean short rib taco that never tasted this good. But man can’t survive on ewe alone, so the pair constructed a full menu with Korean-style short-rib tacos, Jamaican jerk-rubbed pork belly with an Israeli-inspired tomato and cucumber salad, plov (an Uzbek rice pilaf of sorts), and something they called mojo chicken. All of this scrumptious food was complimented by free-flowing pitchers of Coors Light.
Mojo chicken with butter and dill potatoes.
Plov and ewe.
Jamaican jerk rubbed pork belly with Isreali cucumber salad.
Josh, presenting the neck bone to one intrepid diner.
As mentioned above, this will be a monthly dinner hosted by Josh and featuring a rotating cast of pitmasters. Forty-five dollars at the door gets you a belly full of meat and as much silver bullet as you can drink. The next one is on June 3 and will be co-sponsored by our very own food show, Munchies.
We'll see you next month in Queens.
Legends Bar & Grill/Alchemy, Texas BBQ
71-04 35th Avenue
Jackson Heights, Queens