Two of my friends were featured today in a great article about urban grilling over at grilling. com. Clint Cantwell interviews Matt Fisher, pitmaster and kitchen manager at Paul Kirk’s RUB BBQ in New York City and Neil Strawder of Bigmista Barbecue in Los Angeles.
Barbecuing in an urban setting does provide some unique challenges. I’m lucky, I have a small yard where I can setup my cookers. But even with that advantage, my neighbors often complain about the smoke. It’s funny, my smokers produce a lot less smoke than my neighbors’ grills. The only real issue I see, is that when I barbeque, my fire may last anywhere up to 24 hours.
As Matt says, “Usually if I share with the neighbors, no one complains.” I hate complaints, so I always share with the neighbors. But, that’s still not enough.
My house is on one of the main pedestrian routes to the subway. I live in a corner house with a side yard and the aforementioned back yard both adjacent to the main avenue. The yard is surrounded by a three foot tall hurricane fence. There’s absolutely no privacy in my yard. So, a lot of people pass my yard every day.
Now, that in itself isn’t a problem. The problem lies in the fact that so many people think they know how to barbecue! I’ve gotten all sorts of advice about how to cook from so called “experts” as they pass by. I don’t mind the lookey lous, but the “barbecuers” drive me nuts. One guy came into the yard and opened up my offset cooker when I was doing 10 racks of ribs! His little “look see” added another 45 minutes to my cook as I worked to get the temperature of the cooker back where I wanted it.
I know what I’m doing thank you, and no I don’t par boil my ribs. Urgh – Keep walking, nothing to see here folks.
So, while Neil and Matt both bemoan the lack of space, my real issue in cooking in an urban setting, is the people. Keep your opinions and hands to yourself people. Just shut up and eat.