Munchies, the food channel for Vice online news and entertainment based in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently tweeted a photo of a tray of Brooklyn-style barbecue from one of the neighborhood restaurants with the question: “Why is Brooklyn barbecue taking over the world?”
The ensuing responses — around 10,000 so far — mostly originating from Texas and other parts south of the Mason-Dixon Line, have not been kind.
Looking at the tray of Brooklyn barbecue, it’s easy to see what set off the Twitterverse. What looks to be a serving consisting of about six slices of brisket, two dinner rolls, two small half sour pickles and a Mason jar of (what must be) a craft beer to many does not a meal make. Especially in Texas.
Needless to say, ridicule has been piled almost as high as hash and rice on a plate at Big T’s in Lower Richland.
Most photos posted in the replies feature trays from Austin, Texas-based Franklin BBQ loaded down with brisket, pulled pork and sausages, white bread and sides, obviously meant to put Brooklyn to shame.
Brooklyn barbecue has been compared to prison food, called “sad,” and evoked some funny emojis. Folks have gotten creative with other “Brooklyn-isms” such as Brooklyn pasta (SpaghettiOs on a bun). At least one poster leveled the most Southern of insults directed at the example of Brooklyn barbecue with a “bless your heart.”
If you actually read the Munchies article, it’s about how Brooklyn barbecue restaurants like Fette Sau are taking the essence of barbecue and adapting it to the local environs. The borough’s chefs don’t pledge allegiance to a certain type of sauce or a cut of meat (house-cured pastrami with pork ribs and burnt ends, anyone?), which in some ways makes it easier for this Brooklyn style to be assimilated and spread all over the globe. Each new location emulates what Brooklyn has done and tailors the meat, smoke and sauce to what can be found locally. So a Colombian restaurant in South America doesn’t use hickory, oak or mesquite for smoke, no brown sugar in the rub and the cut of beef is different because the breed of cattle is unique to the area.
With all the hoopla, let’s not forget one thing: however you spell it — barbecue, barbeque or BBQ — or whatever sauce you prefer — mustard, vinegar, tomato or even (gasp) Alabama white — you can trace the origin back here to South Carolina.