Is BBQ the New Mexican in Boston?
Today, Eater Boston announced that a new BBQ spot, called The Red–Eyed Pig, is gearing up to open tonight in West Roxbury. It’ll serve some serious-sounding Southern-style eats: On the app side, there’s pork belly and green chile doughnuts, hush puppies slathered in orange maple-bacon butter, and crispy pimento cheese-stuffed jalapenos, while a pit BBQ list promises fried chicken with red-eye gravy, smoked spicy fennel sausages, Texas-style brisket, and smoked pork belly.
Sound familiar? It should—local chef darling Tiffani Faison is currently killing it in Fenway with her own Texas-style smoked meats, buttery biscuits, and jug-sized Micheladas at Sweet Cheeks, while Somerville barbecue standby Redbones recently expanded with a rib shack in Kendall Square and a roving food truck. Another truck, the BBQsmith, joined the food truck fold this year, selling smoked chicken and pork sandwiches, chili, and cole slaw in areas including Chinatown, the Greenway, and Jamaica Plain. BBQ catering company The Bearded Pig, meanwhile, opened in Somerville in mid-November, and offers fare like brisket, sausage, ribs, corn pudding, and collard greens to large parties. Owner Michael Schmidt told me back then that he’s hoping to eventually have a food cart open downtown.
The last cuisine we saw take hold this quickly was Mexican (and it’s still in the process, with the upcoming openings of Rosa Mexicano, The Painted Burro and Lone Star Taco Bar). There’s a few similarities here with BBQ, beyond the obvious regional proximity between Texas and Mexico—at play are assertive ingredients, shareable dishes, and relatively inexpensive price tags. I think it’s a natural extension of our quest for hearty—and wallet-friendly—meals nowadays. We want bold flavors, we want to share buckets of biscuits and plates of tacos with our neighbors, and we don’t mind getting a little bit messy with our food. I’m all for it.
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