WHAT DOES BARBECUE MEAN?
The concept of authentic barbecue has entered the Hungarian public's consciousness in the past few years. Nowadays, more and more people are practicing the low & slow meat roasting method that’s popular in the southern part of the United States, in Hungary as well. Even before the new trend, in 2015, David Kiss, who originally worked as a chef, embarked on a long journey and did not stop until Texas to learn the tricks of barbecue from the best. Returning home with the experience of research work in the country of barbecue in his pocket, he opened the Budapest Barbecue Company, which quickly became the number one barbecue restaurant in the capital. The restaurant underwent minor renovations in January 2020, at which time its name was changed to Rub & Roll Barbecue, and it continues its activities today.
The Science of Barbecue
More and more people know the difference between the traditional American barbecue and the hitherto popular barbe-cue, i.e. grilling: barbecue, this low & slow cooking technique, covers the process of preparing meat smoked in the smoker at a low temperature for long hours. What does this mean in practice? The meat parts intended for barbecuing are put together, cleaned, without slicing or cutting, rubbed with a special spice mixture (rub) into the oven specially dedicated to barbecuing and there - depending on the type and quality of the meat - for 4-16 hours in indirect heat, at an even temperature of 110-120 degrees, smoke it. During this time, the rub, consisting mostly of spices, brown sugar and salt, forms a crust on the meat together with the smoke, which protects it from drying out, retains the meat's juices, and the end result is a juicy and extremely tasty dish.
Dávid visited America's famous barbecue restaurants and the first thing he learned about the genre is that there is no right or wrong way. Love the meat, respect the smoker, feel the technique - if you have these, then it's just a matter of style and taste, who likes what. The point is to share experience, so that all pitmasters work together, with common strength, so that meat roasting brings together and forges the community. We want to implement this idea in Hungary as well. There is nothing to hide, no secret ingredients, only quality USDA beef brisket, KMS-certified pork, freshly ground spices, Southern Pride smoker brought from the USA, and apple wood from Szabolcs county, which we use it to smoke with. It took a lot of experimentation, but with thousands of bakes and the right experience behind us, we are confident that we can offer our guests an unforgettable experience that combines expertly prepared barbecue, pleasantly smoky flavors, and our expressed respect for meat.
After returning from the USA, fully committed to barbecue, we began searching for the best quality ingredients. After a long search, we regrettably realized that the beef brisket found in Europe does not match the texture, taste, size or quantity of the beef overseas. In the end, we stayed with the roots, and we have been bringing beef brisket from America with the USDA Choice certification (a mark issued by the American Department of Agriculture, of which Choice is the second highest grade) certification, which ensures a high-quality meat experience with a 120-day guarantee. We had an easier time with the pork: sides and shoulder with the KMS, i.e. Excellent Quality Pork certification, are the perfect basis for the BBQ sides and pulled pork offered in the restaurant.
Both beef brisket and pork are given a different composition of spicy rub (dry marinade) before smoking, the basis of which is brown cane sugar, Himalayan salt, Hungarian red pepper (recommended by the Americans!), and pepper supplemented with other spices. Grind them all to the same grain size and sprinkle them, then rub them on the meat for an even flavor experience.
Before the concept of barbecue even appeared in Hungary, it was impossible to describe the difference in experience resulting from the technique and preparation processes. The flavors of barbecue, the texture of the meat, and the amount of juice are fundamentally different from what we were used to, and as a result, those who are meat lovers can easily become addicted - even those who were not so fond of meat dishes until now.
Visit Rub and Roll Barbecue, located on Szent István körút, opposite the Vígszínház,( Comedy Theatre) surrender yourself to the overseas atmosphere in the sophisticatedly designed, yet relaxed interior restaurant space, where authentic American barbecue, considered the pride of the southern states, awaits you on 1,300 square meters.
ON A PROFESSIONAL ROAD IN THE LAND OF REDNECKS - THE CHRONICLE OF AMERICAN ROADS
"Imagine, I'm going on a professional trip to the States!" "Really, and what will you be studying?" "How they cook meat in the southern states!" – if not quite like this, Dávid's first trip to America started in a similar way. With decades of experience as a caterer behind him, he and his brother opened their first restaurant at the very beginning of the street food revolution, Beer & Burger, which basically offered hamburgers, which has undergone several transformations since then: it currently operates on the corner of Alkotmány and Bajcsy, I55 Under the name American Bar & Restaurant. They knew that the hamburger fever would eventually subside, so they looked for a profile for their second unit that goes further than the current fashion wave - combining a lifestyle with their passion for meat and America. That's how Dávid found the genre of barbecue, but before he started anything, he went on a professional trip to the USA so that he could study the popular genre in the southern states in his "home country".
IN THE LAND OF THE REDNECKS
Proud farmers living in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and other southern states are called rednecks, whose backs of the neck have been burnt red by the sun during the whole day's work. They are the ones we imagine in cowboy hats and plaid shirts, with a whiskey bottle in their hand and a straw between their teeth. The reality is not so far from this, but the grimness of the Wild West can be forgotten, we are talking about wholehearted people who live and die for good barbecue.
David and friends rented a car, with a pack of beer and whiskey in the middle, and took the country road on their necks so that they could visit each day the 2-3 barbecue restaurants selected in advance, traveling hundreds of miles a day during the planned two weeks. Of course, we don't even imagine these places with white plates and shirt-collared waiters, but rather as a barbeque restaurant filled to the brim, preferably full of beer benches and soaked in smoker's smoke. The American barbecue roughly corresponds to the European steakhouses, only we are talking about much larger sizes, a completely different technique and philosophy of life. An American BBQ restaurant works in a way that is completely incomprehensible to the European perception, that the owner unpacks the meat from the smokers at 11 in the morning and is open until it is sold out (it can be four hours or six, but if it is sold out, it is sold out), then they close and that's it. People queue for hours to get a table - it's totally accepted there. You can eat at the bar while you wait, but feel free to bring a folding chair, parasol and a cooler bag full of beer or whiskey with you - the main thing is that the time spent in this way is spent in quality, not to mention the inimitable picnic atmosphere. In vain, the genre of barbecue brings people together!
And after the picnic, you can enjoy the well-deserved, first-class barbecue meat, which you can get within a quarter of an hour of booking. However, don't think that from here on the place is yours and you can happily sit around all night! There is a total of one and a half hours available for eating the food, which is pointed out by several signs, and after the plates have been cleared, the server also treats the guests with fine gestures to leave so that even more meat lovers have the opportunity to enjoy heavenly manna.
The sons of our country threw themselves properly into the outdoor BBQ life, they came to every place wanting to do an internship, which means that in exchange for your work, you get knowledge instead of a salary. The Americans were very open and at the same time proud that they came from Europe to learn from them - they showed their smokehouses, their technique, they revealed why they are proud of brisket in Texas and why Nashville is the homeland of sides. In Louisiana, they like their barbecue very sweet, everything sticks to the brown sugar glaze, and Austin is famous for its legendary lines.
BBQ is flourishing in America, there are already several maps available that collect the most popular BBQ places in the states. We can find such legendary restaurants as Franklin Barbecue (Texas, Austin), where people usually stand in line for 3-4 hours, or Pappy's Smokehouse (Missouri, St. Louis), whose specialty is a whole pig roasted for 24 hours (whole hog), or Salt Lick (Texas), which is famous for its brisket and sausage. Dávid returned home from his first American trip with a lot of new information, inspiration and a beautiful smoker. And the most important thing he learned about barbecue is that there is no right or wrong - if you do it with passion and patience, then it will be the real thing. American pitmasters argue the same way about which is the better sauce and what is the ideal marinade, but the point is not to beat the other with their arguments, but to get ideas and exchange experience.
THE 7 PITMASTER AND BARBECUE SEMINARS
After the opening of the restaurant, Dávid went on another American tour, but this time he wanted to absorb the juicy knowledge even more concentrated, accordingly he selected a BBQ conference in St. Louise. Yes, you read that right, a BBQ conference with rib-seminar, brisket-workshop and America's top 7 pitmasters. He contacted the organizers in advance and bought a VIP ticket so that he could participate in all the programs.
Among the organizers was a guy who had been to Budapest before, and since the domestic delegation showed up at the venue wearing a T-shirt with such an inscription, from afar there was a huge BUDAPEST, BUDAPEST! he ran to greet them with shouts. And the long line of similarly kind gestures seemed to have only just begun here, since the first night's whiskey session was so successful that the organizers took away their VIP cards and gave them a CREW sign instead. They were then taken to places where even the VIP participants could not enter - they could see the stages of meat processing, witness every moment of the smoking process, see how the whole pig is prepared - in short, they were taken into their confidence. So, the lesson: the easiest way to uncover the biggest secrets of BBQ science is to have some whiskey with the organizers in the VIP!
At the conference, 7 tents were waiting for those interested, representing the 7 most awarded BBQ restaurants and their pitmasters. They are the top rated BBQ chefs across America who have received countless professional accolades. Regardless, there was no trace of snobbery, they drank Jim Beam in their little aprons with a disconcerting casualness. Big Mo, the pitmaster of Ponderosa, is famous for his side of pork, and Mike Emerson, the pitmaster of Pappy's, has a whole pig that is a real curiosity, for which BBQ fans can travel hundreds of miles. Although he runs "only" one restaurant, there is room for 15-20 smokers - even he doesn't count exactly how many smokers the meat is cooked in every day. And these renowned BBQ chefs stand by each other and tell everyone why the way they do it is good. No one is jealous if you ask, they answer, and they share all their experiences, because this makes the American BBQ community even better and stronger.
At the end of one seminar, the pitmaster from Nashville asked the poetic question: what exactly is BBQ? It may be the meat, the wood, the smoker, the marinade - but the ingredients are actually different for everyone. No. Barbecue is about community. While the meat is being prepared (which is 4 hours by default), you are together, talking, spending time with each other - this is BBQ. Love of meat, passion, dedication. There is no big secret here, you just need to be careful. Don't do it if you don't have the patience, if you don't feel good while doing it, if you're only interested in money, then don't do it. Barbecue is only good if it's your life.