Last summer two New York City pit bosses sent waves through that town’s smoked meat community; Daniel Delaney and Ari White brought Texas-style brisket to a city that historically had sought sustenance from a multitude of gas-powered cookers at places like Hill Country.
Delaney and White were operating without a net. Running big smokers, both of Texas provenance, and neither hooked up to Con Edison utilities. This was barbecue the old fashioned way: hunks of wooden embers, salt, pepper, brisket, and that’s about it.
Delaney’s social media savvy led to a frenzy at his sold-out Brisketlab parties while White’s kosher meats were met with long lines at his Texas Smokehouse BBQ pop up events. I recently contacted Ari White to get caught up and find out a little bit more about the displaced Texan cooking brisket in the big city. In his own words:
“Growing up in the west Texas White house, family and holiday celebrations were measured by how long in advance my father stood in the backyard hovering over our Portable Kitchen cast aluminum smoker.
It was a childhood and adolescence filled with mesquite smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving, the Superbowl and the many meals of Sukkot, the Jewish holiday celebrated outdoors in tune with nature celebrating the fall harvest of biblical times.
My older brother’s Bar Mitzvah marked our graduation to a Barrel Drum Smoker for meat besieged by the nutty smoke of pecan wood collected from orchards lining Interstate 10 between El Paso and Las Cruces, the two cities my family has called home since arriving from the old country a hundred years ago.
As a third generation smoker, BBQ was woven into the very fabric of my family’s celebratory cycle. Moving to New York City from El Paso offered a boon in kosher options, the likes of which I had only seen in Israel, but at the same time trumpeted my exile from great BBQ and a long decade of withdrawal and longing.
As an afterthought, I’ve just been hired by the center for Kosher culinary arts school up here to teach a course in BBQ 101…. nice to see things slowing catchin on.”
With that kind of history it’s no surprise that White’s smoked meat output was met by New Yorker’s long-deprived mouths with gratitude.
And about that smoker.
In White’s words: “I picked up the smoker on Ebay from a very talented Texan ex-pat who had spent the last decade living on Long Island with that smoker (Stalker model) as well as another (Texas Legend) both from Gator pits in H-town. He used to work the competition circuits and then festivals and the like under the name fatmanbbq. He retired and sold these puppies on Ebay… They went up a few weeks after my first bbq pop-up and I couldn’t help myself, so I doubled down and snagged it up.”
I then asked the young pit boss what sort of wood he was using to fuel the beasts.
“As for woods, I wish I could get my hands on some post oak or pecan but alas….love the one you’re with. After Sandy passed through town, my guys and I picked up about 4 cords of red and white oak, which is my main stay. We also got a ton of apple, pear, sweet maple, mulberry and cherry woods which in addition to sassafras root and spent wine barrels I use for some of the higher end usages.”
Our previous article on Ari White
And his company website http://www.gotcholent.com/Hakadosh_BBQ.php