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Kosher Barbeque

There was an article in today's NYTimes Food and Wine section discussing NY's (nonkosher) barbeque offerings (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/din...). Begs the question, are there kosher barbeque joints anywhere, NY or otherwise?

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  1. The chain that comes to mind when you say Kosher BBQ is Dougie's. They have locations in Bklyn, Queens, Teaneck (NJ), Deal (NJ) and Cedarhurst (LI). Their products are also available in Cleveland, Ohio as take out but I don't think that they are made there.

    1. I know Dougie's well. I'm talking not about slathering BBQ sauce on things (which they admittedly do addictingly well), but slow cooking over a low fire.

      1. Other than Dougie's - you might find some form of barbecue at some of the steak houses like Prime Grill -

        This reminded me of the one time fundraising effort done by The Yeshiva of the Midsouth - where one of the local traif Barbecue restaurants (owned by a member of the Memphis jewish community) bought a new smoker and before it was put into service for the restaurant it was used to make real kosher barbecue - smoking both beef ribs and brisket - not THAT was barbecue - out of this world -

        1. Dougie's is good but it is not BBQ. They just put BBQ sauce on a lot of their meats.

          1. Well, I do it out here in LA, somewhat informally (small catering jobs, under 35 people, out of my kitchen and outdoor smoker- so no official hechsher yet). But out your direction, there's a new place in Teaneck yet to open called Smokey Joe's. When it opens, tell me what you think. Maybe I'll head back east to check it out. By the way, I know the name and the city, but I've yet to see any information about it, even on the web.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ganeden

              Smokey Joe's Tex-Mex- at 496 Cedar Lane

              1. re: ganeden

                Smokey Joe's website complete with their menu can be found at:

                1. re: Blintzes

                  the menu looks pretty good - now only need reviews of their barbecue -

                  1. re: Blintzes


                    I worry about extensive menus like that. It's not a BBQ joint, it a restaurant which has a couple of BBQ items. With the concentration on other menu items, I'd be interested in seeing how the Q actually turns out. Why is it that every restaurant thinks that more is better? By paring down the items to a bare minimum, one can concentrate on making everything well. And not even smoked chicken?

                    1. re: ganeden

                      Craig, I think your influence extends to the East Coast. Smokey Joe's menu has been modified - no more steak or under-a-brick chicken but smoked chicken has been added.

                      1. re: Kosher Critic


                        Well, that's good. I'm glad I've influenced someone in my life. I hope they do good Q instead of fluff. There are always problems trying to be everything to everyone.

                        1. re: ganeden

                          Here this problem often manifests itself by the appearance of sushi on the menu of every kosher restaurant.

                  2. re: ganeden

                    When I lived in the Bay Area, I learned that what Californians call barbeque usually means meat cooked outside over gas, wood or charcoal without any "que" sauce involved at any point.

                  3. We passed the location about a week and a half to two weeks ago, and it hadn't opened yet. I hope that if it has opened since then, or when it does, that we'll get some reports and reviews.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bzdhkap

                      Still not open. My Far Better Half and are waiting to try it out.

                    2. I was at Smokey Joe's in Teaneck this evening for a taste of slow-cooked kosher BBQ. Here are some of my observations:

                      The restaurant was operating a "preview" night, so not every menu item was available (most of the desserts were not offered, a couple of the entrees were missing, and there was no iced tea), but most were. As a general comment, the wait staff wasn't quite up to snuff yet, as it was evident that some were not yet totally familiar with the menu and were still getting the hang of some of the more basic protocols, but all were certainly friendly and attentive and trying hard to please. There's no reason to believe these kinks won't be ironed out quickly, as the owners seemed to be pretty hands-on and very customer-service oriented.

                      The food itself was quite good, for the most part. The cornbread with onion relish that they put out to start was sweet and warm with a pleasant texture. However, some pieces had not been baked all the way through, which was a minor annoyance. Still, it is a nice departure from the standard bread basket or chips and salsa you get elsewhere in town.

                      The lemonade, which was a little too weak (i.e. not lemony enough) for my taste, made up what it lacked in quality with quantity, as refills were free of charge and the server was quick to fulfill requests for refills.

                      We ordered two of the appetizers and both were enjoyable, with subtle, not overpowering, flavors- a nice mix of sweet and savory tastes. For entrees, I had a BBQ sampler plate with generous portions of brisket, ribs, and chicken and a portion of cole slaw on the side. The heavenly aroma that greeted me when the plate was placed before me was a pleasant hint of what was to come. The smoked BBQ chicken was probably the best of the three meats. It practically melted off of the bone and had a very pleasant sweet and at the same time subtly smoky flavor. The ribs were a little short on meat, but thankfully were slathered in a delicious sauce that helped conceal that shortcoming. The brisket, a "specialty of the house," was also very good (and was the most plentiful of the three). It was a bit tougher and chewier than I expected, but with a little extra BBQ sauce (baskets of BBQ sauce, hot sauce, ketchup, crayons for the kids, and moist towelettes- a nice touch- were on every table) drizzled on, it went down just fine. My companion had one of the lighter Mexican style dishes and it, too, was good and nicely presented. Portions for both main dishes were ample.

                      I'd say Smokey Joe's Tex Mex Barbecue is a favorable addition to the kosher dining scene in Northern NJ. It's nice to have another place that isn't serving the same old delicatessen or Middle Eastern fare and yet is reasonably priced and family friendly. This place should attract not only local diners but also kosher consumers from throughout the area who are anxious to experience a new type of cuisine that was heretofore unavailable in the area. Give it a try!

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Shaldag

                        Thanks for the thorough review, shal!

                          1. re: Kosher Critic

                            They certainly don't sell wine or beer themselves, not sure if they encourage or even permit bringing in your own.

                            1. re: Shaldag

                              I was there on April 1st and saw someone with a bottle of wine, so I'd imagine it is BYO. As far as the food -- I went with a friend who'd gone on the preview night and who felt the food had gotten a lot better. The chicken, as Shaldaq says, was quite succulent, and the brisket was quite nice too (they'd run out of ribs -- night before pesach it was pretty crowded). The owner runs Kosher Creations, a catering company that's done a alot of events for friends of mine and always does a good job. I also found that, unlike in many kosher places I've been to, that the service was very solicitous, especially given how crowded it was. But I'd go even if the service was typical of kosher places -- it was that good.

                              1. re: tzmack

                                I was there tonight with two others. Alerted by the discussion we brought a bottle of beer with us, and it was a great accompaniment to the food (there is a place selling beer just down the street, that also has kosher wine and a wine store two blocks away has a kosher section too, in case you need to get your beer and wine at dinner time). We got there at 5pm to avoid a rush, and it seems as if a post-Pesach lull in the demand for serious meat meals opened up some space in the dining room. Based on the quality of the food I’d say race in while the lull lasts—it will not be long before the place is packed again.

                                Here is my take on the food. The cornbread was cooked through and served with the perfectly cooked sweet onions. It was a pleasant introduction. Our waitress had personality, and enough of the shakedown period has passed that she was able to steer us through the menu with a few questions about what we wanted to have. We tried the Roasted Aztec Corn Soup and it was a corn soup, but it wasn’t why we came, so we decided to move directly to the barbeque. This would have been a mistake, because the home-made chips that go with the guacamole are really good, as is the guac, and although I can make that at home, it is a nice contrast to the deep smokiness of the meats.

                                We intended to have a rack of ribs and then the sampler plate of chicken and brisket. This is why we had come and the portions are generous and come with side dishes. Why be distracted? But the chili, featuring the brisket, is amazing. It is a measure of my lack of exposure to barbeque that I simply had not thought through the implications of what adding that kind of serious smokiness can do to a dish. This is like no other chili (ok, I keep kosher) I’ve ever had. And to my mind it showcases the brisket perhaps better than the sampler plate (which you still have to order, you have to also get to know the brisket on its own), for the following reason. The brisket itself has an incredible and intense flavor. As someone else observed earlier, if you are like me and your acquaintance with brisket is only of the cooked and never the barbequed variety, this is a tougher texture then you might expect in brisket. I did not want to follow the earlier advice and add barbeque sauce. My palate tends to the spicier rather than sweeter side, and I enjoyed the meat with the rubs and sauce balanced as served. In the chili, however, the brisket is perfectly moist and tender, and completely smoked and flavorful, and possibly the balance between rubs and sauce leans slightly closer towards the rubs than even what appears on the plate before you add anything. The impact of the brisket on the chili was revolutionary.

                                That brings me to the possible implications of what a serious smoking potential might have on other parts of the menu. That is quite a smoker standing under the hood, with the cherry wood stacked beneath it. I’m looking forward to some other smoked product. And I’m also thinking about investigating the chicken mole and the chicken and sausage gumbo. My initial instinct to stay directly with the ribs, brisket and chicken was well intentioned but mistaken, born of a lack of experience with true barbeque.

                                Having said that, I want to return to the ribs. They are smoky and flavorful and worth savoring. They are the main food that I ate and they were deeply satisfying, again, washed down with a dark ale. I might try a spicier and lighter beer next time, maybe with some hops to balance the sweet. But I was also finishing any leftover chicken that my friends found themselves too full to handle. Smoking works a magic that provides the chicken with an incredible flavor, and just as the brisket was not as tender as I had expected, the chicken was far more tender then I could ever have imagined. I have not had a cooked chicken that had that texture and it combined with the taste to impart an adictive quality that chicken usually doesn't have. The chicken held its own with the brisket and the ribs. Unlike a steakhouse where I'm going for the meat, and the chicken doesn't even cross my mind, here the point is the barbeque experience, and as wonderful as the ribs and the brisket are, the chicken is also an important and unique way to experience the smokiness.

                                Real wood smoking makes a real difference. Smoky Joe’s is a significant addition that adds a whole new dimension to the kosher palate. Enjoy it!

                                1. re: chumus

                                  Great review! Thanks! Looks like we'll HAVE to shlep up to the neck ASAP.

                                  1. re: chumus

                                    Super review!! I am craving that chili now and it is not even noon. Your experiences with the sampler plate are nearly identical to my own.

                                    1. re: Kosher Critic

                                      I am so hungry after that Q review. My son is in culinary school and is looking towards Kosher Q as a cuisine of choice. I for one, miss real Q now after starting Teshuvah a bunch of years ago.

                                      In Chicago, we are hard pressed to have kosher BBQ and I am forced to perfect the cuisine myself! Contact me to talk about Chicago Kosher Q!

                                      1. re: ShlomoDovid

                                        Kosher Q in Chicago- I think that is in a woeful state since Ken's stopped serving their ribs - Other than Now We're Cooking in Hughland Park - not sure what's left-

                                    2. re: chumus

                                      Your long-winded comment on Smokey Joe's is a testament to your self-described "lack of exposure to barbeque." The well-intentioned chefs at Smokey Joe's would be wise to visit NY's other temples of barbecue (Virgil's, Daisy May, Blue Smoke, Dinosaur, Rack and Soul) to sample truly excellent sauces and meat consistently cooked to perfection.

                                      As anyone who was raised in the South will attest, the true test of barbecue is the way in which "bones and brisket" are prepared. The ribs at Smokey Joe's are decent (the cloying sauce needs work -- see Virgil's above) but the brisket was far from acceptable.

                                      In my view, Smokey Joe's is within striking distance of true barbecue excellence -- a bit of research at the above institutions might yield the correct dose of inspiration.

                                      1. re: Metsuyan

                                        My wife is a Southern girl, born and bread. She was raised on good, home cooked, trief bbq as well as some of the best Southern BBQ you can buy. She had nothing but praise for the brisket.

                                        1. re: Metsuyan


                                          While I don't know anything about any of these other places you're discussing, I generally concur with you about most of your post, and especially about the sauce at SJ. Alas, sauce is BBQ to most people, and most people have a considerable sweet tooth, which accounts for the wild praise exhibited here and elsewhere for this same SJ's sauce. I found the level of spice, on the other hand, acceptable.

                                            1. re: Metsuyan

                                              Your self-important post is a testament to your own lack of knowlege of barbeque. It's been a while since I've lived in NY, but I was raised in Brooklyn. I was born in the Tidewater area of VA and have lived in NC for the last dozen years. So much for my credentials.

                                              Virgil's doesn't know squat about 'cue, Southern or otherwise. It's a tourist trap, plain and simple. I eat non-kosher out so I feel more than qualified to make that statement. Virgil's serves cooked meat. That about all you can say. No restaurant can serve multiple styles of cue and do them all well. Virgil's is a prime example.

                                              And in big parts of the South (VA, NC, SC, GA, KY) we don't do "bones and brisket." We do pork or, in the case of KY, lamb. And sauces vary even through different parts of the same state. Tomato-less eastern Carolina, light tomato western Carolina, mustard-based SC, mayo-based AL, coffee-based KY, thick tomato sweet sauce in some other places. Which one is right? I dunno, which one do you like better?

                                              So, um, maybe you know less about "Southern" cue than the pitmasters at Smokey Joe's.

                                      2. re: Kosher Critic

                                        yes you can bring your own beer / wine. Wine has to be Mevushal. the mashgiach will check it before they let your open it.

                                    3. Folks, discussion of preparing chow at home is off topic for the board. We've moved a digression about making your own Barbeque to the Home Cooking board, at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/38488...

                                      1. What is the shechita of the chicken and beef at the Teaneck restaurant? IY"H Shor HaBoar!!

                                        1. For good Kosher cooking in the Chicago area that uses a good barbecue sauce you MUST check out Ken's Diner in Skokie on Dempster, been there over 20 years!

                                          1. I have to let everyone know, there is a new kosher barbeque joint that's just opened in Los Angeles, in the valley, and it's AMAZING! Phenomenal. No, really, it's that good. I keep kosher at home but not out of the house, so I can compare to non kosher barbeque and this is on par with the best (even some of the bbq I've had in Memphis).

                                            It's called "Smokin" and it's at:
                                            12514 Burbank Blvd.
                                            Valley Village, CA 91607
                                            (818) 752-6866

                                            It's family owned and run and the family is SO nice. They serve their barbeque dry, meaning the dry rub and the flavor of the meat are not masked by the sauce. You put your own sauce on at the table, the way bbq SHOULD be. Everything's good but I recommend the beef back ribs, the brisket, and corn pudding, the cornbread...

                                            Have fun!

                                            1. October issue of National Barbeque News had a story re a Memphis synagague's annual kosher bbq cookoff. It seems that last month's was the 20th annual cookoff. Going to try to get there next year.
                                              Other than my own backyard, don't know of any in NYC.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: martyl9

                                                From what it sounds like form family in memphis it was another hugely successful event - with lots of good barbecue to be had -

                                                1. re: martyl9

                                                  the Memphis BBQ is serious business, contestants spend $3000+ just on the booths. one of the former Waterburyites who was from Memphis orginally just moved back to Memphis and has a booth. my son just laughed at me when I orginally thought of entering the contest