BBQ for Father’s Day — and ev­ery day

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -


Bar­be­cue is built into the name of Santa Fe’s in­fa­mous Cow­girl BBQ (319 S. Guadalupe St.). But the dishes for which the bar and restau­rant are named could get lost amid the fairly en­cy­clo­pe­dic menu, which of­fers an ar­ray of other com­fort-food sta­ples — fried chicken, mac and cheese, burg­ers, na­chos, and the like. Luck­ily, there’s no chance you’ll get lost find­ing the place. It’s prac­ti­cally a lo­cal land­mark, with one of the city’s best and most pop­u­lar pa­tios (you’d be ad­vised to make a reser­va­tion for any al­fresco meal on a sum­mer week­end, but es­pe­cially on a hol­i­day like Father’s Day). On par­tic­u­larly breezy af­ter­noons and evenings, the waft­ing meat-laced mesquite smoke will lure you from blocks away. The nose knows. Fol­low it.

Some folks claim that less is more, but in the case of bar­be­cue, more is usu­ally more. That’s cer­tainly the case with Cow­girl’s sam­pler plat­ter, which af­fords you the op­por­tu­nity to taste smoky pork-sweet ribs; falloff-the-bone-ten­der glazed chicken (an item I’d never no­ticed on the menu be­fore, and one I’ll or­der again); and slices of earthy beef brisket that’s some­how eas­ily cut with a fork but tough to chew. Ev­ery­thing’s slathered in a sharp, not-too-spicy brick-red sauce. The plat­ter also in­cludes re­spectable, not-cloy­ing baked beans, sur­pris­ingly com­mend­able Texas toast, and above-av­er­age coleslaw, though the tu­bers in our may­on­naise-heavy potato salad were un­der­cooked to the point of be­ing crunchy.

If Dad’s a fan of sauce-soaked bread, sand­wiches are a good op­tion. Smoky spice heats up the chipotle­sauced pulled pork and the sim­mered shred­ded beef, each a gen­er­ous tan­gle of meat piled on a ten­der brioche bun. If he wants the full com­ple­ment of fries and slaw, di­rect him to the page cat­a­loging burg­ers and sand­wiches, but note that if he chooses a slider in­stead, he can en­joy a smaller ver­sion of the same sam­mich, topped with a heap of slaw and served on a but­tery-sweet King’s Hawai­ian roll, for half the dinero. Any­way, that’ll leave him room to en­joy the Cow­girl’s pop­u­lar-with-the-ten-and-un­der-set ice cream baked potato, if that sort of thing is his druthers. Hey, he raised you; let him be a kid for a day.

— Lau­rel Glad­den


What do you call a pig in a pit, cooked long and slow with smoke rather than fire? Al­though some might ar­gue the point, I call it bar­be­cue — and Steve “The Meat Man” Sch­midt, pit­mas­ter of Santa Fe Bar­be­cue (600 Old Santa Fe Trail), serves it up from a vin­tage red-and-black truck pulling a mo­bile smoker.

Sch­midt’s baby back pork ribs are the best I’ve had in Santa Fe — ten­der, juicy, and deeply in­fused with the scent and fla­vor of woodsmoke, they lit­er­ally fall off the bone. What Sch­midt calls Black An­gus petite beef ribs are also on the menu, for folks who cut their ’cue teeth in an­other part of the coun­try and pre­fer their meat to moo rather than squeal.

Santa Fe Bar­be­cue’s web­site says Sch­midt com­bines the slow smok­ing tra­di­tions of the South with New Mex­ico fla­vors. Ask him what’s in his dry rub and he’ll ad­mit to co­coa and cof­fee — but not the na­tive herbs and spices; that’s a trade se­cret, he says. Al­though the ribs are the rock stars of the truck, Sch­midt also smokes pork and beef sausages, gi­gan­tic turkey legs, and beef brisket. Some of the pork and brisket is pulled to make iconic bar­be­cue sand­wiches. Piled into a soft roll (all the bet­ter to ab­sorb those smoky drip­pings) and topped with a goodly amount of chunky roasted green chile, these

sam­mies are big enough to share — if you could bring your­self to do that.

Sch­midt of­fers three sauces to com­ple­ment his bar­be­cue. The “reg­u­lar” ver­sion has just a touch of vine­gar, per­fect with the ribs. The brown-sugar sweet­ened vari­a­tion brings out the best in the chile. The third is hot. Re­ally hot. You can find Sch­midt in the park­ing lot of the New Old Trail Garage on Mon­days, Wed­nes­days, and Fri­days from 10:30 a.m. “un­til the meat runs out.” To be sure you can get what you want, when you want it, call the Meat Line (505-573-4816) to put in an ad­vance or­der. And bring cash: that’s the only cur­rency Sch­midt ac­cepts. — Pa­tri­cia West-Barker


Those who are truly se­ri­ous about eat­ing grilled and smoked meats should head over to Whole Hog Café (320 S. Guadalupe St.) — they only do bar­be­cue, and they do all the bar­be­cue. With of­fer­ings like Mem­phis-style (mean­ing slow-cooked in a pit) pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, and ribs, as well as sausage and pork loin, you can get all of those meats as sand­wiches, gar­nished with house coleslaw, or go all out and or­der one of their plat­ters. The Whole Hog comes with pulled pork, brisket, and ribs as well as a scoop of de­light­fully vine­gary potato salad, coleslaw, and beans. It’s sup­posed to be enough for one ca­pa­cious in­di­vid­ual but eas­ily serves two, and the Ul­ti­mate Hog is even big­ger, and in­cludes pulled chicken. If you want to riff on the con­cept of bar­be­cue, try the Bar­be­cue Na­chos or the Loaded Baked Potato topped with the meat of your choice.

While Whole Hog does a bustling busi­ness in take­out and cater­ing, the ex­pe­ri­ence of din­ing in is made par­tic­u­larly deca­dent by the six-pack of dif­fer­ent bar­be­cue sauces sit­ting on ev­ery table. That’s right — you can have un­fet­tered ac­cess to an ar­ray of that magic, sweet-smoky liq­uid for the du­ra­tion of your meal. The sauces span the gamut: 1 is sweet and mo­lasses­based, 2 is a more vine­gary sauce with tomato, 3 is a spicier ver­sion of that, and so on. Par­tic­u­larly good is num­ber 6, a tangy mus­tard and vine­gar sauce that also works well when lib­er­ally doused on the side dishes. If you want a lit­tle more ad­ven­ture (or the hic­cups), ask the per­son be­hind the counter for the re­quest-only vol­cano sauce, an al­most painfully spicy con­coc­tion best tested out be­fore you go splash­ing it all over your brisket. — Tantri Wija


Santa Fe may not be a bar­be­cue des­ti­na­tion along the lines of Austin, Mem­phis, or Kansas City. But chefs here are ea­ger to put a spin on the tra­di­tion of slow­cooked or smoked meats. BBQ-ad­ja­cent items ap­pear on menus all over town, in­clud­ing at Dr. Field Goods Kitchen (2860 Cer­ril­los Road), where chef-owner Josh Ger­win has cre­ated one ex­tra­or­di­nary sand­wich: a crisp pressed torta lay­ered with lean, ten­der slow-roasted lo­cal goat bar­ba­coa and a smear of creamy re­fried beans, along with sliced ap­ples, sliv­ered cab­bage, and honey-habañero goat cheese.

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia trans­plants who miss the LA tra­di­tion of Korean bar­be­cue tacos would do well to stop for lunch at the Bon­sai Asian Tacos truck (1599 S. St. Fran­cis Drive) for an am­ple serv­ing of their sig­na­ture pulled pork tacos. Served on three corn tor­tillas with Red Rooster hot sauce, kale and cab­bage slaw, and ripe av­o­cado slices, the smokysweet meat has a com­plex spice pro­file. Veg­e­tar­i­ans or ve­g­ans seek­ing a sim­u­lacrum of bar­be­cue fla­vor might try the tasty tem­peh tacos, which com­bine saucy, nutty deep-fried soy­bean squares with the above in­gre­di­ents and a cashew crema. They pair well with Bon­sai’s wa­ter­melon agua fresca, af­firm­ing the ge­nius of culi­nary hy­brid­ity.

Speak­ing of cul­tural ex­change, the new Trin­ity Kitchen food truck (1352 Ru­fina Cir­cle) has brought some much-needed Ca­jun-coun­try sun­shine to town. The truck, run by Shreve­port na­tives Eliot Cha­vanne and Connor Black, opened in late May but is al­ready a heavy hit­ter on the soul-food scene, judg­ing from the menu’s real-deal co­chon de lait po’boy. The South­ern sand­wich nes­tles per­fectly sea­soned and sauced pulled pork and crunchy coleslaw into a crusty half­baguette that’s served along­side some se­ri­ously good curly fries. Those spuds also make a tooth­some foun­da­tion for Trin­ity’s pulled pork fries, which are lay­ered with an abun­dance of heav­enly pig, ched­dar cheese, and fin­ished with stripes of a tangy and ad­dic­tive ré­moulade. These dudes are se­ri­ous about meat — see the USDA Prime tat­too on Cha­vanne’s fore­arm — as well as about Louisiana culi­nary tra­di­tions, judg­ing from the jumbo bot­tle of Crys­tal Hot Sauce that stands out among the condi­ment of­fer­ings. Santa Fe is lucky to have them smok­ing it up in the Meow Wolf park­ing lot. — Molly Boyle

On par­tic­u­larly breezy af­ter­noons and evenings, Cow­girl BBQ’s waft­ing meat-laced mesquite smoke will lure you from blocks away. The nose knows. Fol­low it.

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