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Thursday, December 20, 2018
Down Home, Downtown at the White Rabbit
As we sat down at our table in McCurtain Street’s White Rabbit, Aretha Franklin was belting out her songs. Kind of appropriate I thought because when the Queen of Soul hit the road, her pots and pans came too.
She was no mean cook, those pots and pans rattling perhaps in protest against the “‘chitlin circuit’ - ‘a string of black-owned honky-tonks, night clubs, and theaters’- so-called because the venues also served up chitlins (chitterlings) and other soul food.” * Black musicians were often able to tour through a segregated United States only because of the existence of that circuit.
More music from that era, including Wilson Pickett’s Midnight Hour, followed as we studied the menu in this down-home joint at the far eastern end of the street, more or less next door, I think, to where the garda barracks was. The sixties in there were more swingeing than swinging; "bad" boys got their ears clattered.
Amazing list of whisky here from the southern states, and other parts. Hard to make a choice but I did strike it lucky with Maker’s Mark, smooth, subtle and easy drinking. They have a wagon load of craft beer here also.
Aside from that cherished whiskey list - their “pride and joy” - they serve authentic slow-smoked barbecue food, our main reason for coming in from the December rain. Everything in this unpretentious place is prepared in the kitchen here.
They start with Brunch which includes the Cowboy Breakfast: their BBQ beans topped with house-smoked bacon and sausage, topped with a fried egg and served with sourdough toast.
As the day moves along you may enjoy Bar Bites such as Pork Belly Cubes, BBQ Tacos, Tortilla Chips and more, even a dessert of Kentucky Hot Chocolate.
The meats come into their own from noon on, until 9.00pm. There are salads and sides (including one or two vegetarian) and sandwiches, not in slices, but in brioche buns with red slaw, pickles and BBQ mayo.
We were there though for The Meats, the Meat Plates in particular. The Plate consist of your choice of meat to which you may add two sides.
CL went for the half pound of Pulled Pork with Potato Salad and Red Slaw (11.95). My pick was the 2/3 pound of Baby Back Ribs with Green Salad and BBQ Beans (12.95). We were the two happiest bunnies in town as we concentrated on those two excellent good value platefuls. We did share, of course, and the verdict came down narrowly in favour of the tasty ribs. And if you are picking a salad here, go for the outstanding beans (the others are all good too).
The other meat choices by the way are Pork Belly, Beef Brisket, BBQ Bacon, and Smoked Chicken Wings.
By the time we had finished eating, the place had filled and the music had been pushed well to the background by the happy sound of many young voices. Soul food in the south perhaps but a long long way from the chitlin’ circuit.
Well worth a call here, good food, good value. Our two platefuls along with the Bourbon (6.50) came to a grand total of €31.40. Service is efficient and very friendly, helpful too.
* Easy Riders, Rolling Stones (on the road in America, from Delta Blues to 70s Rock) by John Scanlan (2015)
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Get Fired Up At 'The Big Grill' International BBQ Festival
Herbert Park from the 11-14 August
Chefs John Relihan (left) from Holy Smoke Cork
and Mark O' Brien from Barbecoa do some meaty pit work
Celebrate the age-old art of cooking with smoke and fire at the country's biggest International BBQ event, 'The Big Grill Festival', which has its 3rd outing this summer in Herbert Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from the .
This event has almost doubled in size year on year. It will feature famous Pitmasters from all over the world, mastering flame and fire to create a multitude of dishes using different BBQ techniques and flavours, for an estimated 20,000 visitors. This is live fire cooking at its finest with clean charcoal and wood only; no gas or electricity in sight.
Chefs will illustrate the differences (and similarities) between Asado (South American), Mediterranean, German, Asian, Irish and Southern USA style low ‘n’ slow BBQ methods for guests to savour. Expect whole hogs, lamb on spits, flying chickens, goat, wild Irish game, Southern Style ribs, Asian skewered meats, Brazilian steaks and much much more.
Headline chefs include Neil Rankin (Smokehouse Restaurant, London), Andre Lima de Luca (Brazil) John Relihan, (Holy Smoke, Cork), Mark O'Brien (Barbecoa, London), 'The First Ladies of Cue' from Hangfire Smokehouse (Wales), Richard Turner (Hawksmoor/Pit Cue, London) along with restaurants Fowl Play, Box Burger (Wicklow), The Pigs Tale (Wexford) and Dublin favourites, Kinara Kitchen, Pitt Bros and Asador. Chefs from Churrascada, Brazil's uber BBQ festival in Sao Paolo, will be joining forces with organiser Andy Noonan's new BBQ venture, Fowl Play, to demonstrate Mallmann-esque cooking techniques that have existed for thousands of years. Head of 'catertainment' will be the renowned and fully spandexed DJ BBQ who will be cooking and compering at the same time.
Amateur BBQ enthusiasts can also get a look in by taking part in the 'Pitmaster Competition' with the chance of winning a place to cook in the famous Jack Daniel's BBQ World Championships in Tennessee in October. To enter, fill out the application form on the website.
While BBQ takes centre stage the food is matched with an enviable selection of Irish craft beer, cider and spirits with producers and chefs on hand for tastings, pairings, advice and of course a good 'Banter' with Jim Carroll.
Live acts and Bodytonic DJ's will play soul, funk, hip hop and party music throughout the weekend, creating a truly international flavour in the heart of leafy D4. Other activities include eating competitions which feature raw chilies and dangerously hot chicken wings (so hot that participants have to wear goggles!) that are really good fun to watch as are the giant-sized performing 'characters' roaming the park.
|Hot chicken tonight.|
So hot, contestants have to wear goggles!
Children under 12 go free and there is a special area for them and . Activities will include The Great Herbert Park Bug Hunt, and Bushcraft demonstration on how to survive in the wilderness. Along with lots of child-friendly food from a variety of vendors, this makes 'The Big Grill' a great day out for all the family.
Tickets from €15. Corporate groups and parties can avail of special rates. Tickets can be purchased at www.biggrillfestival.com.