Barbecue beckons: Atlanta fine-dining chefs adding pitmaster to resume

May 2, 2018 - bbq set

In a past decade, when Atlanta chef-restaurateurs wanted to enhance into some-more infrequent concepts, a go-to pierce was to open a burger joint.

In 2018, a new pierce seems to be barbecue, with a handful of distinguished chefs rebellious a severe genre: Scott Serpas at Dixie Q in Brookhaven, Shaun Doty and a Federal team bringing King Barbecue to Avalon soon, and Todd Ginsberg of a General Muir opening Wood’s Chapel BBQ in Summerhill  after this year. Meanwhile, cook Kevin Gillespie has been using visit pop-ups of his Terminus City BBQ while on a surveillance for a right space.

Why barbecue? Chef Nick Melvin, who changed from Venkman’s over to Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q final year, summed it adult succinctly: “It’s in your essence — chefs adore fire, chefs adore meat.”

For Melvin, a change from upscale dining during Venkman’s to a smokehouse has been eye-opening. And, he expects that a other chefs removing into grill for a initial time will have a identical experience, advising, “I wish they learn a tradition of it first, a basics, afterwards they can start personification with it and put their possess hold on it.”

At Dixie Q, Serpas has taken that idea to heart. His menu is mostly standards — brisket, pulled pork, house-made sausage — with usually a few touches to spirit that an upscale-dining cook is concerned (quinoa and arugula with sherry vinaigrette, anyone?). In fact, Serpas has been reticent even to ventilate his participation during Dixie Q, notwithstanding a fact that he’s a de facto cook and pitmaster. “With barbecue,” he warned, “you’ve got to be careful. Keep it simple, clean, and we can’t get too fancy.”

He pronounced that he wanted to keep his participation during Dixie Q “below a radar and make certain that we put out a good product first.” Half a year in, he’s prepared to start weaving in some of a Louisiana influences that he’s famous for during his namesake Serpas True Food, formulation a crawfish boil and grill blowout during Dixie Q to flog off a start of summer.

Serpas’ proclivity for Dixie Q, that he calls “a passion project,” came down to a elementary business opportunity. In Brookhaven, he found a space in a area that seemed like it could use a grill joint.

For Ginsberg and his partners during a General Muir, a event to launch Wood’s Chapel BBQ was innate from a identical set of circumstances. Partner Ben Johnson admitted, “we weren’t environment out looking for a place to do barbecue; it was a other approach around. We saw a growth plan (being undertaken by Carter in a ancestral Summerhill neighborhood), a aged buildings, and it usually felt like it should be a grill place, bizarre to say.”

“Woods Chapel is going to be a grill grill with a complicated American feel to a menu,” he said, “and we have to work on a normal aspects first, so we can do other things unequivocally well.” For Ginsberg, that means, “to approximate ourselves with people that are smarter than us to figure this out. We’re operative with a male who is building an equivalent smoker for us, and contrast that out. We might have 3 opposite smokers — all of that will use wood, no gas.”

Out during Avalon, Doty and partner Lance Gummere already have a male they need to move a grill smarts to King Barbecue — Carey Wise, who is an handling partner in a new try and an achieved cook and pitmaster in his possess right. With time spent during both Fox Bros. and Grand Champion BBQ, Wise has a grill skills that usually hours alongside a smoker can bring. And, he’s fervent to uncover them off during King Barbecue. “Our judgment is to take a best methods from all over a South, and govern them with usually a top peculiarity proteins.”

Back in town, Jonathan Fox of Fox Bros. is gripping an eye on all a newcomers. “I’ve spent 20 years doing this and we are still operative on things,” he said. As for a newcomers to a village of grill pros in town, Fox observed, “We all kind of know any other. You don’t wish to see anybody not succeed. … we usually know a highway we took to get here, and, if we can get there, some-more energy to you, and congratulations, since we merit it.”

Serpas, Ginsberg, Doty and friends are prepared to travel that road. Whether they all make it as distant as Fox, and still conduct to keep their existent restaurants chugging along, well, we’ll usually have to wait and see. Barbecue takes time.

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