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No Wine For This Geek. Just Beer and Blue Smoke

Posted in Uncategorized by EVWG on the October 11th, 2006

BlueSmoke.jpgI grew up, most of my life below the Mason Dixon line. I was raised on ribs, sweet tea, buttermilk biscuits, and mmmmmm…. gravy. I don’t really miss livin in the South…I mean don’t get me wrong, I love the slow pace, the beautiful, lazy rivers and that southern drawl that creeps into my vocal chords every time I visit…I just love it all temporarily. This city has everything I need. It has the fast pace and stimulation that gets me through a day. I like falling asleep to the sounds of the urban environment. Especially this urban environment. The food of the south will always be in my heart. I remember when my parents would go to farm parties and choke down boiled peanuts while we played baseball in the cow pasture using manure for bases and running from water moccasins that slithered unnoticingly in the pond. All day long a whole pig or two, roasted on a spit ready for the sun to set a little. We’d all come in from whatever we were doing and get to eating before the ’skeeters’ got too bad. We used to go to agricultural fairs and take tours of peanut farms and go to southern oyster shucks. Ah…let me get back to reality and my focus for this post. The reason I am reminiscing of the past and the south in particular is my wife and I finally, after talking about it for a couple of years and actually living around the corner from it at one time, got around to going to Blue Smoke.
BBQ is getting big here in the big apple over the last couple of years. 2007 will mark the third year for the annual BBQ festival in midtown and I will be there with bells on. A couple of years ago the New York Times did a feature on the growing technology of the BBQ ribs smoking methods being practiced, and Blue Smoke was on their short list of good stuff.
I’m sure a lot of you reading this have already been to this establishment so everything I say about it might be quite familiar. I just have to pipe in here and give it some props. We went there in on a weeknight and it was already packed at seven thirty. The interior is chock full of southern nostalgia. It has the rustic feel of a big BBQ pit house in some remote town outside of Valdosta, Georgia. The music is appropriate, pumping blues and jazz through the speaker system. There is actually a separate part of the place that has live music, which we will be checking out eventually. We lucked out because the inside was full but there was one table available outside and it was beautiful weather so we snatched it up in a second.
The menu for this place is amazing. The choices are dizzying. From pulled pork to baby back ribs and…did I See hush puppies on the appetizers list? When I was young, I went through a hush puppy phase that lasted a couple of years. Every restaurant we went to I had to have some of them hush puppies. So here I was at the age of thirty-one drooling over the opportunity to devour more of one of my childhood favorites. This is the north, so instead of just plain old puppies these came with a side of jalapeno sweet and sour sauce. The server came for the initial talk; specials and can I get you guys something to drink. No wine for this geek tonight. No sir-y. Oh sure, they had an extensive wine list for a BBQ joint, but even a Riesling wouldn’t do here. I asked if they had Brooklyn Lager and she smiled and said not only did they have Brooklyn Lager but they also had a special brew that Brooklyn Brewery made just for them. I was enthralled with the idea of a lager custom-made for the drippy molasses that is rack-o-ribs BBQ sauce. When the beer came to the table it was a beautiful amber color and tasted fabulous. You could tell this place took care of their taps and the beer was just sweet enough that it would cut through the spicy sauce.
I ordered a half rack of ribs with fries and my wife did the pulled pork, Southern staples that I couldn’t wait to try in this Northern environment. I wish there was more to say, other than the ribs were smoked to utter perfection and the hush puppies were out of this world with that sweet, sour, spicy sauce they came with. The meat on the ribs fell of the bone and the beer washed down the accompanying sauces I was alternating between. One sweet one spicy. My wife had a mountain of pulled pork and I had to help her finish it. Even as my stomach wailed in protest I devoured the rest of her plate. The meal was so filling that we had to just sit back afterwards and spend an extra twenty minutes or so sipping our beers. They were too good to just abandon and leave them lonely and unfinished just so the bus staff could pour them down the drain. That would be alcohol abuse (cliché, in know but oh, so true). When we finally left it was nice to know we had a bit of a walk back to the East Village. It was a beautiful night and our stomachs were beautifully full. We strolled back to our hood and all I could think of after a meal like that was a nice single malt fourteen year old scotch to top it all off. I thought this all the way up the five flights and into the apartment and across the living room into the bedroom and…when I hit the pillow I was out. No scotch. No rocks. Just sleep. Now that’s good BBQ.

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