Last night in New York, the city crowned a king.
Truth be told, multiple kings were crowned; at the big Brisket King competition held at the Firehouse in Chinatown, there was a multitude of categories in which one could be titled “the best.” For instance, Will Horowitz at Duck’s Eatery won for Best Non-Traditional Smoked Brisket with his “Six Month Aged Smoked Brisket.”
A Korean ramen restaurant, Mokbar, won for Most Innovative Brisket with their “Nori Taco with Pulled Brisket” No word on what their pit/ramen boss’s name is.
We reckon the overall grand champion must have been Matt Fisher of Fletcher’s BBQ in Brooklyn who brought home the trophy for “Best Traditional Smoked Brisket” with his “Chili-Rubbed Brisket with Sugar and Spice Jalapeno” (update! We just heard from Will Horowitz and his Duck’s Eatery actually won Grand Champion)
Only in NYC does a brisket with that appellation win in a “traditional” category. Somebody please call Edgar Black down in Lockhart and tell him he’s been getting it wrong all these years.
And where in the world was Ari White of Gemstone Catering? We’ve heard nothing but raves about the El Paso native’s brisket but he was not welcomed onto the podium at the end of the party.
Which leads us to….
When’s Austin going to crown its king.
Talk about a war.
John Mueller famously challenged Aaron Franklin (here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2012/3/9/John-Mueller-Throws-Down-The-GauntletChallenges-Aaron-Franklin-To-Battle-For-Barbecue-Supremacy) way back in 2012 to a battle for barbecue supremacy. East Austin’s most famous bookie Busy Bee saw hot action on that one for a time but the war never materialized.
That Circuit of the Americas track sure would be sweet venue.
You could do land office business pitting Tom Micklethwait over at his eponymous Craft Meats truck vs Bill Kerlin, the knight of smoked meat down on Cesar Chavez. The two recently duked it out in Mick Vann’s beef rib smackdown with Micklethwait besting him (and a host of other pit bosses.)
But nary a brisket was in sight.
New York barbecue is enjoying an extended moment in the sun with new joints popping up on a seemingly weekly basis.
Is it time for Central Texas’ smoked meat men to kiss the rings of their NYC brethren?
As Stone Cold would say Aw Hell No!
But to be fair we had a bit of a head start. As in a century plus.
Back when brisket in New York meant a baleboste hunkered down over a braising pan for ten or so hours, while the cholent burbled on the stovetop; old school pit men in pressed Wranglers with flint hard jaws stuffed full of Red Man were tending to pit fires in Caldwell, Williamson and Travis County.
Long after the pit fires have went out in the frozen tundra of New York, we’ll still have a pack of leathery old ramrods building fires out of post oak, and getting up in the middle of the night to season massive hunks of Texas steer.
Same as it’s always been.
Photo: Duck’s Eatery Brisket courtesy http://nycfoodie.com/