Pitmaster and restauranteur Andy Husbands is still a few months away from debuting his barbecue concept at One Kendall Square, but a new video he shared provides an appetizing sneak peek of the Smoke Shop.
Over a soundtrack of Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor,” Husbands slices brisket and Texas hot links; douses wings with agave nectar; unveils mini cocottes of pit beans, collard greens, and coleslaw; slathers honey sea salt butter on cornbread, and more during the minute-long clip.
Produced by Good Life Productions in Somerville, Husbands’ video is inspired by the Eater web series 60 Second Tasting Menu, he says. While Eater has featured Austin’s La Barbecue since he filmed the Smoke Shop teaser, the majority of the videos show fine dining plates. “They’re very tweezer-y, precise, and beautiful. I thought it would be fun to do one of a barbecue, a little more down and dirty,” Husbands says.
Smoke Shop, slated for a spring debut in the former Tommy Doyle’s space, is the culmination of years of a barbecue obsession. Best known as the chef/owner of Tremont 647 and its cozy sibling, Sister Sorel, Husbands is part of the championship IQue barbecue team. He learned the skill from Chris Schlesinger, founder of the late, great East Coast Grill. Husbands has co-authored three cookbooks, including Wicked Good Barbecue and Grill to Perfection, with his partner in the pit, Chris Hart.
“With barbecue, it’s really important to honor the traditional, in how we cook it, the messes of seasoning,” he says.
The video opens with him plating slabs of his Texas-style brisket alongside white bread, pickled jalapeños, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper rub. Next up: a smoked and fried chicken sandwich, layered with a crispy thigh, a slick of pimento cheese, pickles, and fresh vegetables.
“You can tell we filmed this in August,” Husbands says. “We’ll be working with the seasons [at Smoke Shop].”
They’ll have collard greens year-round, he surmises, but the more “chef-y” plates will feature what’s freshest. A summery, pan-roasted hake and beer-poached shrimp dish featured in the film fits in this menu section. “Lots of times in barbecue restaurants, you don’t get always get seasonal stuff,” the pitmaster says. “That’s one of the things I bring to the table. That local stuff that I cook for my family, friends, and at [Tremont 647].”
If the chicken wings look familiar in this video, that’s because they are. Smoked, then fried and tossed with agave and barbecue spices, Husbands “100 percent stole” the recipe from Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar chef John Delpha. The two are on the same barbecue team. “When your good friend cooks, you appreciate what each other does,” he says.
Before the film goes out with Husbands digging into his signature pork ribs, with Smoke Shop’s house-made barbecue sauce on his face, there’s a glimpse at what “the bourbon situation” will be, Husbands says.
But it doesn’t show one specialty that will be behind the bar: the Skinny Dennis, named after a honky tonk Brooklyn bar (which is named after a country musician), is a bourbon-laced coffee slushy. “It’s like a really great adult version of one of those Dunkin’ Donut Coolattas,” Husbands says. Expect 25 draft beers and dozens of bottles and cans, too.
It’s all a few months away. Husbands is currently eyeing April. Renovation of the huge restaurant has been a long process, in part because the Smoke Shop team built a new structure, a glass-encased bar overlooking a 40-seat patio. That area will seat 70, with 30 at the bar itself. The main restaurant has a dining room, and also a carryout area, which fronts onto the Kendall Square courtyard.
Stomach growling from the teaser video? Get a taste of the Smoke Shop menu this Thursday, February 4 during an interactive class at the Kitchen at the Boston Public Market. The entry fee also includes a signed copy of Wicked Good Barbecue.
Opening this spring, One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, thesmokeshopbbq.com.
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