Barbecue on the Hudson: 1st Annual StarChefs.com SMOKE@ICC

Barbecue on the Hudson: 1st Annual StarChefs.com SMOKE@ICC

Grand Prize Winning Team Carillon of Austin, TX

Grand Prize Winning Team Carillon of Austin, TX

First Place American Regional BBQ 4505 Meats of San Francisco

First Place American Regional BBQ 4505 Meats of San Francisco

First Place New World BBQ The Belted Cow BBQ of Essex Junction, VT

First Place New World BBQ The Belted Cow BBQ of Essex Junction, VT

The Carillon's Gochujang Australian Beef Brisket Tacos with Smoked Queso, Cilantro, and Cabbage Escabeche

The Carillon's Gochujang Australian Beef Brisket Tacos with Smoked Queso, Cilantro, and Cabbage Escabeche

Belted Cow's Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket Sliders with Hibachi Onions, Kimchi Mayonnaise

Belted Cow's Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket Sliders with Hibachi Onions, Kimchi Mayonnaise

Stand Up's Smoked Brisket with Onion Marmalade

Stand Up's Smoked Brisket with Onion Marmalade

'Cue Train's Beef Brisket with Burnt End Beans

'Cue Train's Australian Beef Brisket with Burnt End Beans

For one day only, the country's top pit masters and chefs came together in a head-to-head, smoker-to-smoke barbecue battle at the 1st Annual StarChefs.com SMOKE@ICCpresented by Chung Jung One. Kicking off the 8th Annual StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress, ten competing teams smoked meats for revelers and chefs – and most importantly, some of America's foremost barbecue experts, including Dave Anderson(Famous Daves), Kenny Callaghan (Blue Smoke), Andy Husbands (Tremont 647), Brad Orrison (The Shed), and Steven Raichlen (Primal Grill). The judges ranked dishes for taste, tenderness, presentation, and creativity, in three categories: Regional American, New World, and Asian. And guests voted for the People's Choice Award, featuring the teams' best Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket dishes.

Round 1: Regional American

Overlooking the scenic Hudson River, plumes of smoke rose from Southern Pride and Lang Smokers as competitors began to work the magic of meat, heat, and smoke (simultaneously luring in runners on West Side Highway). For Round 1: Regional American, chefs were tasked with smoking delicate, lean Manchester Farms Quail. Team Rub It Up prepared Spinach- and Fig-stuffed Quail with Whiskey Glaze, representing the fine-dining scene in which they work. “We’re New York people, doing barbecue the New York way: refined, composed dishes, and small bites,” said Brian Johnson of the Tribecca Grand Hotel. Team Carillon brought on Texas with full force with their Smoked Quail, Fired Corn, Yucca Crisps, Artichoke Purée, and Tomatillo. Cue Train, whose team was made up of half New Yorkers and half Missourians, chose the unlikely Carolina-style barbecue for the Regional American Round. “We were excited and ready [for the quail], because we expected some kind of poultry,” said James Patterson. Ultimately, two Texas teams (more than familiar with quail) made the top five: Who’s Your Dady from San Antonio placed second and Team Carillon came in third. Ultimately, San Francisco team 4505 Meats (led by Rising Star Artisan Ryan Farr) took first place.

  1. 4505 Meats – San Francisco, CA
    • Ryan Farr
    • Cole Mayfield
    • Thomas McEntee
    • Kent Schoberle
  2. Who’s Your Dady – San Antonio, TX
    • Jason Dady
    • Jake Dady
    • Shi Mei
    • Estaban Valdez
  3. Carillon – Austin, TX
    • Josh Watkins
    • Brad Turner
    • Plinio Sandalio
    • Chris Andrews
  4. Stand Up and Snout – New Orleans, LA
    • Nathanial Zimet
    • Aaron Burgau
    • Billy Ceravolo
    • Justin Devillier
  5. Meat BBQ Co. – Forked River, NJ
    • Mark Mangano
    • Matt Ragusa
    • Steve Zeravecia
    • Mike Ziobro

Round 2: New World


Ted Lee and Dave Anderson at Smoke@ICC

Ted Lee and Dave Anderson at Smoke@ICC

Quail smoking inside a Southern Pride gas powered smoker

Quail smoking inside a Southern Pride gas powered smoker

Chung Jung One sponsored products at Smoke@ICC

Chung Jung One sponsored products at Smoke@ICC

With more and more chefs digging deep into barbecue, smoked meats are no longer the exclusive purview of small town, back roads barbecue joint. Enter the modern pit master who has a global pantry and nearly limitless proteins. For the New World Round of SMOKE@ICC, competitors worked with Chung Jung One’s gochujang red pepper paste and Australian Lamb Leg. “If it fits in the smoker, it’s going on the menu,” said Guerilla Ultima BBQ team leader Robert Legget, who competed on (and quickly purchased) a Lang smoker. “We do Asian, Latin-style, and non-traditional barbecue.” Legget’s team deboned the lamb leg to expedite the cooking. One of the more traditional teams – Belted Cow BBQ from Essex Junction, Vermont – took first place in the round. “We’re an American-style bistro and barbecue joint, but we love working with Asian flavors [like gochujang],” said John Delpha. The top teams from Round 1 continued to excel with Who’s Your Dady, Carillon, Meat BBQ Co., and 4505 Meats all making the top five again.

  1. The Belted Cow BBQ – Essex Junction, VT
    • John Delpha
    • Salvatore Fristensky
    • Joe Cassinelli
    • Katy Bilodeau
  2. Who’s Your Dady – San Antonio, TX
    • Jason Dady
    • Jake Dady
    • Shi Mei
    • Estaban Valdez
  3. Meat BBQ Co. – Forked River, NJ
    • Mark Mangano
    • Matt Ragusa
    • Steve Zeravecia
    • Mike Ziobro
  4. Carillon – Austin, TX
    • Josh Watkins
    • Brad Turner
    • Plinio Sandalio
    • Chris Andrews
  5. 4505 Meats – San Francisco, CA
    • Ryan Farr
    • Cole Mayfield
    • Thomas McEntee
    • Kent Schoberle

Round 3: Asian Barbecue


Packed house at SuperPier

Packed house at the SuperPier

Smoke@ICC Beer sponsored by Brewery Ommegang

Smoke@ICC Beer sponsored by Brewery Ommegang

Winners of the 1st Annual Smoke@ICC

Winners of the 1st Annual Smoke@ICC

While the competition as a whole had an Asian inflection with Chung Jung One’s gochujang playing heavily into the pantry, the teams turned it up a notch for the Asian Barbecue Round using pork butts from Compart Duroc. Team Killens from Houston had a strong showing with Smoked Pork Ramen in Pork-bone Broth composed by Soma Sushi’s Gabe Medina. Second place went to Rub It Up for their Hoisin Pulled Pork Slider, Black Sesame Bun, Grilled Shiitakes, Basil-Lime Mayonnaise, Pickled Radish-Cucumber Noodles, Ginger Vinaigrette, and Micro Cilantro – demonstrating that micro greens indeed have a place in barbecue. Rising Star Pastry Chef Plinio Sandalio was charged with the Asian Round for Carillon and led the team to victory with his Gochujang Pork Butt Bibimbap. “I just came out here to have a good time … and I had an amazing time. I had an amazing team here. We cooked our hearts out. We made some really good fucking food. And it paid off,” said Sandalio.

  1. Carillon – Austin, TX
    • Josh Watkins
    • Brad Turner
    • Plinio Sandalio
    • Chris Andrews
  2. Rub It Up – New York, NY
    • Brian Johnson
    • Walter Murawinski
    • Matthew Portnoy
    • David Shaloub
  3. Killen’s – Houston, TX
    • Ronnie Killen
    • Teddy Lopez
    • Ben Rabbani
    • Randy Rucker
  4. Meat BBQ Co. – Forked River, NJ
    • Mark Mangano
    • Matt Ragusa
    • Steve Zeravecia
    • Mike Ziobro
  5. The Belted Cow BBQ – Essex Junction, VT
    • John Delpha
    • Salvatore Fristensky
    • Joe Cassinelli
    • Katy Bilodeau

Round 4: People’s Choice


With the barbecue party officially started, ICC presenters, chefs, and the good (smoke-obsessed) citizens of New York City descended on the fruits of the People’s Choice Round: smoked Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket. The band played, Ted Lee guided guests through the event (including a cameo from Chef Elias Cairo, who broke down an Australian lamb), and Brewery Ommegang beer overflowed as guests progressed from station to station, gorging themselves on beef. With additional veggie and bread sides from Judge Andy Husbands and The Meatball Shop’s Daniel Holtzman, appetites were more than sated. Pastry Chef Carlos Enriquez came all the way from L.A.’s Patina Group to make his Bacon-Bourbon Bombolini with Liquid Nitrogen Popcorn. We heard somewhere in line, “You’ve got to have those doughnuts! They blew my mind.”

Ultimately, people were there for smoke, and the ten competing teams delivered. Crowd favorites included Rub It Up’s Seven Chile-glazed Australian Wagyu Brisket, Pickled Radishes, and Micro Greens, along with 4505 Meat’s more traditional Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket, Bread and Butter Pickles, White Bread, and Barbecue Sauce. Team Killens chose to pump up the umami in their brisket with bonita flakes, soju consommé, and shitake mushrooms. Stand Up and Snout (led by a cast of New Orleans Rising Stars and their fellow chefs: Nathanial Zimet, Aaron Burgau, Billy Ceravolo, and Justin Devillier) garnered the second highest numbers of votes for People’s Choice with simple Gochujang-rubbed Austalian Wagyu Beef Brisket. “You could really taste the meat. It wasn’t overpowered by other stuff,” said Zimet. “We took shit for using a beer marinade.” (But it clearly worked.)

Who’s Your Dady took home the People’s Choice Award for their Smoked Australian Wagyu Beef Brisket, Gochujang-Tamarind Glaze, Candied Peanuts, and Pickles. Jason Dady – a StarChefs.com Rising Star and team leader – thinks it may be the best brisket he’s ever smoked. “Our brisket had a great crust, was a tad too salty, but the gochujang-tamarind glaze was tangy and sweet,” said Dady, who’s team went on to take the Grand Reserve Champion Title. “The candied peanuts added a great punch and cut out the salty bits. The pickle was house-made and delicious!


Grand Champion


Though the day was riddled with challenges – getting into the building on time and getting the fire marshal’s last-minute OK to get smoking – one team rose above to become Grand Champion: Carillon from Austin, Texas. “When you have setbacks and it’s a competition, there is no such thing as a setback. Or else you loose. That being said … roll with the punches,” said Rising Star and team leader Josh Watkins on his winning strategy. “I will also say that the Southern Pride smoker allowed us to recover very quickly. It gets hot quick, it smokes quick, the rotisserie – all of it is amazing. It is a really, really amazing piece of equipment.”

For their efforts and modern vision of barbecue, Carillon took home an all-expenses paid trip to Korea, presented by Chung Jung One, as well as a MLR 150 competition-level smoker and a chance to compete at the World Food Championships in Las Vegas, courtesy of Southern Pride.

“What’s missing in barbecue, in my opinion, are accoutrements. Where is everything that goes with it? Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami. Thank you Chung Jung One. Thank you Southern Pride,” said Watkins. “At the end of the day, it’s all about flavor balance, and that’s cooking 101. If you apply that to barbecue, which hasn’t been done before, then you’re going to win.”

Photos by: Anna Beeke, Clay Williams, Ellen Wolff, Ester Soligue, John Keon, Ken Goodman, Laura Thompson, Mark Kohlman, and Shannon Sturgis

Related Photo Galleries