Chef aims to create Milwaukee-style BBQ with new restaurant
Barbecue is an art form.
It’s not just lighting up your backyard gas or charcoal grill and throwing on brats or chicken. It can take years and sometimes decades to master.
Author John Shelton Reed once said, “Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes.”
According to the barbecue website truecue.org: "Barbecue embodies history and tradition. Since its obscure beginnings, it has been cooked with heat and smoke from wood or wood coals. Wood smoke defines real barbecue. Without it, one has merely roast meat - 'faux ‘cue.'"
Barbecue is also more than just a cuisine. It communicates a sense of place.
Author John Shelton Reed once said, “ Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes.”
In South Carolina, whole-hog barbecue reigns supreme with either a mustard sauce or tomato-vinegar sauce (depending where you are in South Carolina). In North Carolina, pork shoulder dominates in the west and whole-hog in the east. Kentucky gravitates to mutton, usually served with a stew called burgoo. Kansas City is known for burnt ends and heavy sauce, usually thick and sweet. In Alabama, it’s chicken with a unique white sauce made with mayonnaise and vinegar.
But what about Milwaukee? Barbecue joints in Milwaukee usually imitate other styles from the south. Until now.
Chef and owner Aaron Patin (former Sous Chef at Ardent) has developed a cut of rib called the Milwaukee-style rib. It’s a special cut with part of the belly still attached. Patin has also built his own smokers. One is portable, named Roxanne after The Police song. The other is Edna -- the main smoker for Iron Grate. In addition to the Milwaukee-style ribs, Patin will serve brisket, pork shoulder and house-made hot links. There will be only one style of sauce -- tomato-based with vinegar and spices. Patin also developed his own sides, including smoked grits.
Iron Grate BBQ Co. will open later in November at 4177 S. Howell Ave. It will share a space with Hawthorne Coffee.
Watch the video below to learn more about the making of Milwaukee-style Barbecue.