Daniel Delaney Of BrisketLab Sits Down With RL Reeves Jr

I just got off the phone with Daniel Delaney of BrisketLab, the New York City brisket subscription service that has taken the Northeastern part of the United States by storm.

Mr. Delaney, the founder of Vendr.TV, was kind enough to spend a few minutes away from the giant, barbecue pit that he trundled from Texas to New York City, and discuss the world of smoked meat.

BrisketLab is on fire. The brainchild of Delaney has New York City, jaded by many estimates, frothing at the mouth over the prospect of getting a hold of genuine-cooked with 100% wood fire-barbecue brisket.

Who can blame them? We’ve got it good in Texas y’all. The Golden Triangle of Austin brisket: Stiles Switch on the northern promontory, Franklin Barbecue flanking the eastern edge and John Mueller Barbecue shoring up the southern tip, means that we have Lockhart/Taylor caliber smoked meat encircling our fair city.

Up in New York it seems like the best they can do is Hill Country Barbecue where they bake their briskets in a giant oven with a little wood smoke pumped in every once in a blue moon.

That shit wouldn’t fly in these parts.

When I query Daniel as to what piqued his interest in the art form of barbecue he responds that he’s a tinkerer by nature. “I’m enjoying this, the process and looking at the product and hoping to improve. Honestly, eventually, if this goes well, there’s an opportunity to gain resources and find people who are looking to get into the same thing.”

I reckon that means a brick and mortar restaurant. Delaney may find himself in the same position as the legendary De Klos in Amsterdam, where the pit is located outside the city limits with the meat being trucked in due to onerous regulations regarding billowing smoke stacks within the municipality.

Work with what you’ve got.

Proximity to the actual fire does not great barbecue make. As long as it doesn’t take more than an hour or so to get the meat in the maws of the eaters, this ought not pose a problem. Lord knows De Klos puts out some of the finest ribs I’ve ever eaten, including the iconic Archibald’s of Northport, Alabama. Wrap it in butcher paper, put it in a cooler and mash the gas pedal til you get from Jersey to downtown New York.

“I’m doing as much as I can to honor the tradition of barbecue, we’re doing one thing and doing it as best as possible, we use wood only as our fuel source, everybody’s using gas cookers here, to somebody who loves the idea of traditional barbecue, that is disheartening.”

I’ve eaten good meat off Southern Pride cookers in the past {Peter’s} but at the end of the day, I want my meat cooked on pure-wood fires. It does my heart good to hear a yankee speaking this way about traditional barbecue.

“Barbecue is like jazz, it’s not rodeo-rooting-tooting bullshit, it’s not about being hip and cool, there’s no reason great  barbecue has to be in Texas, you can come up with a product that shines no matter where you do it.”

I’ve had great barbecue all over the world: Mexico, Croatia, Turkey and the Netherlands to name a few. Delaney speaks the truth. Genuine barbecue comes from the soul of the pit boss. It has nothing to do with location. It sounds like Daniel’s soul is in the right place.

So, how’s the meat?

“It’s coming out good. I think people who are familiar with Texas barbecue are impressed, and I’m pleased with that. It might sound arrogant but it’s not very hard, it just takes time and energy and really caring for it that makes it shine.”

That doesn’t sound arrogant.

Some of the best brisket I’ve ever eaten came out of a backyard from the Weber grill of a novice. A novice who gives a fuck and has patience can turn out top flight brisket. He just has to care and care deeply about the meat and how it turns out.

Sorry to report that the rest of the conversation was “off the record.” Daniel Delaney comes off as a man who’s got his heart in the right place. He’s honoring the tradition of Texas barbecue and he’s combining that tradition with some very savvy social media utilization.

The citizens of New York City are better off because of it.

photo attached to article is off Instagram, it it your’s? want credit? let me know.

more on Brisketlab’s first offering to the public: http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2012/7/5/Brisketlab-Debuts-A-New-Life-For-Aaron-Franklins-Smoker-In-The-Bright-Lights-Of-New-York-City

De Klos, the legendary rib house of Amsterdam http://chowpapi.com/amsterdam-chronicles-eating-in-the-netherlands-part-1-de-klos-dutch-barbecue-joint-in-leidseplein/

and Peter’s Barbecue http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/index.cfm/2012/6/11/Austin-Daily-Photo-Peters-Barbecue-In-Ellinger-Texas



About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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