Published: September 27, 2011
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From the outside of the Brooklyn Barbecue Restaurant: Fette Sau BBQ (meaning “fat pig” in German) you would never know that inside they are cooking up some amazing Barbecue. With the winner of Food Network’s Best in Smoke: Matt Lang, Fette Sau has seen an increase in barbecue lovers coming to try some of the food. [stay tuned for our interview with Matt Lang coming this Thursday on our Meet the BBQ Pros Series sponsored by Tucker Cookers]. Also, I had a chance to interview Joe Carroll who is the owner of Fette Sau and you will also get a chance to view a lot of the pictures that I took during my time at Fette Sau.
Not only people from the greater New York Area, but barbecue lovers from all around the country, have found a new place to really expand their love for true barbecue. So it was only natural when we recently traveled to New York for a weekend to try out this up and coming barbecue restaurant hotspot. We have been looking forward to trying out the food, because all the reviews that we have found on-line were stellar so it led us to believe that we were in for a treat and boy were we happy that all the hype lived up to the actual experience.
We tried all of the 6 meats that were available that day, (Fette Sau randomly chooses what meats to serve, and the menu changes every day). Some of the meats that we were served the following items which we are going to review individually and then we are going to review Fette Sau as a whole along with the atmosphere.
Berkshire Belly (Bacon) – This was my favorite meat that I tried. I was blown away the amazing barbecue flavors that Fette Sau presented in their bacon. Not only was the bacon cooked correctly and perfectly smoked, it had some perfect smoke rings and was very juicy and overall every enjoyable.
Black Angus Beef Brisket – Besides the pork items that I tried while at Fette Sau, the beef brisket was in the top three of my favorite types of meat. I really enjoyed the tenderness of it and also the flavor profiles. Another great aspect of the brisket, it truly had some great smokiness but it didn’t over power the other flavors that were part of the brisket.
Berkshire St Louis Style Pork Ribs – Since I have been trying to perfect my own ribs and also been trying everyone’s ribs, I think that I have gained enough experience in correctly judging the quality of a good ribs. Now, I am a firm believer that competition food is really tough to beat, but I also believe that you can still have to produce a good product at your barbecue restaurant. With that being said, I really enjoyed Fette Sau’s ribs but I wished that there would have been a bit more sauced and wet rather than the ribs containing a dry rub. But I liked the ribs very much.
Hand Pulled Berkshire Shoulder (pulled pork) – I truly believe that besides a good rib, pulled pork can really show how good a barbecue restaurant’s food is. With that being said, and based on trying the other meats at Fette Sau BBQ, I was looking forward to trying their pulled pork. I was impressed with the quality and also the moistness of the pulled pork. Another aspect of the pulled pork that I enjoyed was the flavor, and also the smokiness that was very apparent in the pulled pork.
Berkshire Spicy Sausage – It was interesting to see a non-traditional barbecue food on the menu so I was a bit skeptical to see this on the menu and also how the Berkshire spicy sausage would actually taste. Much to my pleasure, the sausage really lived up to the exceptions that were set by the other great meats that I tried at Fette Sau. I loved the crispy casing even though it was smoked not grilled. Another add bonus was the actual flavoring. The sausage wasn’t overly spicy, it was actually pretty perfect in both smokiness and spiciness.
Barbecue Sides- What is a good barbecue meal with out some amazing sides to have while you are chowing down on some great meat! While eating at Fette Sau’s barbecue we tried: Cora’s Broccoli Salad, Dante’s German Potato Salad, and their Burnt End Baked Beans. Out of all those sides we really enjoyed the burnt end baked beans the most. With the addition of the meat, these baked beans really had a great barbecue flavoring, which made the beans extremely enjoyable. The one thing that I was very disappointed about the sides, was the lack of Mac and Cheese. We are sure that Fette Sau could have come up with an interesting twist.
Dinning Environment – I think that this was one of the great aspects of the restaurant. I LOVED both the atmosphere inside and even outside the restaurant, along with the actual building is a winning combination. Even though the space was a bit smaller than normal barbecue restaurants, it didn’t feel crowed, it was enjoyable.
Overall Barbecue Experience – I must say that overall eating and the atmosphere at Fette Sau was something very special. From Fette Sau serving up different style meats with a very good rub that they put on the meats, and also the perfect amount of smoke, this Brooklyn Barbecue Restaurant is something very special and a place that you must visit if you ever make it to New York City. I also enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere and the unique space that the owners
In addition to trying some of Fette Sau’s food, we also had a chance to interview Joe Carrol who is the owner of this great Brooklyn New York barbecue restaurant, here is our interview with him:
Joe Carroll: “Fetta Sau” in German means “Fat Pig” and refers to a person, my wife is half German, and it is funny to see how most German’s get the pun of fat pig. With regards to Fette Sau, in 2003, with basically no experience in the restaurant business, I decided to open a barbecue restaurant across the street from my bar with Matt Lang. It was natural because growing up in New Jersey, and learning on a Weber Bullet Smoker that I bought from Home Depot I taught myself how to barbecue. With Fette Sau, and being a barbecue restaurant in New York city, I wanted to do a better job of presenting a complete experience, because it isn’t only the food that makes a good barbecue joint it is also the atmosphere which I wanted to highlight.
Grilling with Rich: If you had to pick a style of Barbecue that you wanted to model Fette Sau after what would it be?
Joe Carroll: Actually, it would have to be a New York City Style Barbecue.
Joe Carroll: Haha, well since New York city is really a melting pot of cultures, I wanted to use non-traditional cuts of meat, and highlight the different cultures in New York so that is why we have Pastrami, Sausage etc.
Grilling with Rich: What makes your barbecue restaurant different than others? and why did you pick Brooklyn for the location for the restaurant?
Joe Carroll: Brooklyn was a natural pick because of the location of my bar… no real thought. And when I saw the space it was truly different. I also wanted to enforce the fact that BBQ food is for everyone and not only one type of group of people, and barbecue is truely a social way of eating. In addition, at Fette Sau, I wanted to have a more laid back atmosphere and therefore that is why I decided not to have servers but have a down and dirty experience where people went up to pick up their food, on butcher paper etc.. I also wanted to utilize small family farms, and refuse to use commercial meat, we make our own sauce and really focus on dry rubs instead of barbecue sauces.
Grilling with Rich: How long do you smoke your meats? give Grilling with Rich readers a bit more about what is a normal day like at the restaurant?
Joe Carroll: Barbecue is a simple process, knowing when things are done you don’t want to have too much smoke and you want to create a balance. Our smoker has a gas line hookup, but we never turn it on so we are still tending the fire. We use red and white oak, apple and cherry, peach, and maple, which comes locally from upstate New York.
Grilling with Rich: Why do you only carry 6 meats per day?
Joe Carroll: Space really. We don’t have a back room have to turn things over, so we rotate the types of meat out. But we always have the staples, pork ribs, brisket, pork belly, sausages
Grilling with Rich: How did the Food Network Show if anything change the restaurant, and what are your thoughts on the Winning Dish: Barbecue Tofu?
Joe Carroll: We are very lucky with all our success, but it really has not changed the amount of people we have seen come to the restaurant. With regards to the winning dish, I have some mixed feelings about it.
Grilling with Rich: If you had to describe your restaurant theme in one sentence or less what would it be?
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