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Day Trip: Authentic and Delicious Barbecue/1911 Smokehouse

(Source: www.forbes.com)

Warren Bobrow (iphone 6s)

That incessant growing in your stomach should be reason enough to go for a road trip. When one is motivated by the thought of that mystical ‘ring of fire’ that thing of rare beauty– the air that permeates the region around your head just over a platter of ribs or even chicken. All is sublime. That is what is called barbecue. Something more than just a meal. Barbecue is highly personal, and therefore perfect. Barbecue is regional, cultural and it has deep meaning to someone who understands the intellectualism in barbecue. There is a warm feeling surrounding the phrase- low and slow- and what this means in a broader context is part of the soul. Low means the temperature of the smoke and the time it takes to slowly melt the savory meat over warm smoke. Low also means the pulse of the smokehouse. Low means taking your time and low means sipping a fine beverage- like one of the eclectic selection of beers available at the congenial bar, from far and wide.

Warren Bobrow (iPhone 6s)

While low does mean the temperature of the smokehouse, slow really just means time. Time takes much time to get the aromas deeply inside your head. Time to relax. Time to enjoy yourself and take in the aromas around you. Once this axiom is understood, ‘slow and low’ is what you do.  Enter through the doorway into what appears to be the front room of a residential townhouse. You can rest at the congenial curved bar, meet new friends, have a carefully made, craft cocktail or just chill. It’s really up to you. The idea of low and slow becomes more than a metaphor for relaxation, for being in a dream-state, because what the 1911 Smokehouse is. Barbecue 1911 Smokehouse is deeply homespun food without any pretense.  Set into the revitalized part of Front Street that faces back towards the State House, Barbecue 1911 Smokehouse is located on the one way side of the street facing you if you are driving. Park your car at the garage located at 43 Front Street first. They are located on the right and they will validate your parking. It’s free for one hour at the restaurant, make sure you ask.  One hour free means one hour- then it’s six bucks or so after that free hour, so come prepared. If you are taking the train in from Manhattan or Philly, grab a car service to the restaurant, it’s easier than walking around.

Warren Bobrow (iPhone 6s)

This is not overly spicy barbecue- the quality of these simple ingredients speak clearly of the slow and low (low and slow) method of cooking.  They use hardwood such as hickory- which gives this meat the pronounced sweetness and sharply delineated finish. The spice rub is not overly applied, it’s as if the rub is massaged into the meats- slowly, thoughtfully, lovingly. The chicken wings come two speeds, grilled or fried- the trick to the wings are the deep smoking, done before the wings are fried to a succulent, friendly crunch. There are several ways to enjoy them, lemon pepper a crowd favorite is pictured above with wedges of slowly roasted lemons smothered in cracked black pepper, then squeezed liberally over the sizzling hot wings. They come fat and juicy, dripping the kind of liquid that says ‘take another bite-sizzling hot’ this is the kind that sears the top of the mouth, calling out for a sip of beer from their marvelous and deep beer list. Belgian Beer for some reason works especially well with Southern Barbecue, they have the Leffe Abbey Ale- the Blond or the Brown, both exceptional with this genre of belly stretching food. And this favored Belgian Ale comes served in the correct glass, in this case a 1/2 sized Burgundy glass- a very important detail- that does not go forgotten! Belgian Beer should be served in the correct glass- one designed specifically for the characteristics of the beer contained within. Leffe is no exception to that rule.

Warren Bobrow (iPhone 6s)

Time and attention to detail is the delineating feature of this barbecue. What makes it perfect, and worth the trip from anywhere is the smiles that await you once inside. These are smiles that are apparent from the moment you enter to the last step out the door. If you come at lunch, do keep in mind that this is not a large place- so line up early for what would be a longer experience than the usual luncheon. This is pleasurable food that takes time to enjoy. Looking back at the ribs platter, four sides were tasted, made without any meat- according to the chef. The collard greens, cooked to melting perfection, each bite an experience and a pleasure- coaxing memories out of the greens, healing in every nibble. Then macaroni and cheese, pillow-soft macaroni, cooked with a tangle of savory, melted cheese- it evaporates in two bites or fewer. A nibble of baked beans, cooked also without any meat-the savory texture of the long cooked beans exemplified and personified by the tangy and smoky barbecue sauces- you can smother your food in them or leave it dry- with only the rub as the moistening agent. This meat is so succulent that you don’t need to cover it up with anything other than air. The final taster was a slow cooked, candied yam. Unctuous and sublime, each creamy bite sets up the palate for more sweetness- but not too sweet- against the silky and delicately napped barbecued meats. Succulent is a word that comes immediately to mind. Savory. Simply marvelous. There are other words- tangible- like the brightly seasoned lemon and pepper that sticks to your fingers, salubrious- the way the smoke twirls up your nostrils upon receiving your plate of ribs. The sizzling hot slab of goodness, sitting plain on the plate- cut to what is known in the butchery business as Chinese Style – that means two to three inch long cuts of their savory and lightly smoke tinged meats. Easy to pick up and easier to eat. These ribs are things of rare beauty and deserving of your trip. Mention that you read about them here. Certainly this deserves a welcome and a hearty hand-shake.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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