Boston BBQers Show Southerners How It’s Done

1216395346New England, sadly, isn’t exactly known as a beacon of barbecue. Sure, we do hamburgers and hot dogs just fine, but the big time, macho BBQ, the kind that involves pitmasters with smokers and lots and lots of pig fat and bone? Not so much. (The folks behind Phantom Gourmet’s BBQ Beach Party actually import talent from down south).

While our palettes are definitely up for the challenge, most of our backyards simply aren’t. So it warmed Chowder’s heart when we heard that two of our own nabbed second place in an amateur rib standoff below the Mason-Dixon line last weekend.

First-time competitors Paul Grenham of Somerville and Brian Costello of Hyde Park, both 29, entered the Smoke on the Mountain Barbecue Championship’s “Patio Porker” division on a whim. “We got drunk in January and decided to do this,” says Grenham. They knew their recipe (a winning concoction of ribs slathered with molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, and spices and basted in red wine and scotch ale) was serious enough to, er, make the cut.

And so, to the large metropolis of Galax, Virginia they journeyed, armed with a backyard smoker from Home Depot strapped to the top of their car.

1216395353The two had certainly logged the most miles of anyone there—761, to be exact—but no matter. The ribs that Grenham and Costello (neither of whom are chefs by trade) crafted grabbed the attention of judges, who urged them to compete in the professional division of the championship next year. And until then? “My personal goal is to do a whole pig by early summer,” says Grenham.

Fine by us. Just save some for Massachusetts, please!