White BBQ sauce is popping up on menus from Portland, Ore., to New York City, where Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer is dousing wings with it at Blue Smoke, to fine-dining restaurants like Publican in Chicago, where Paul Kahan has served char-grilled carrots with white BBQ sauce. So what is it, and what makes it so special? Actually, the sauce has existed since the early 1920s, when “Big Bob” Gibson opened his eponymous restaurant in Decatur, Ala. Over 90 years later, a lot of people in Alabama believe BBQ sauce is white, because that’s what they grew up with. Outside of Alabama, people who have ever heard of such a thing have been few and far between. But with 93 (and counting) Shake Shacks around the world, Danny Meyer is as good a barometer as any for what you can expect to see on your plate in the coming years.
We caught up with the man who helms the pit at “Big Bob” Gibson Bar-B-Q these days, Chris Lilly, to find out why he thinks white BBQ sauce is the best.
Continue Reading White BBQ Sauce: The Next Big Trend in Barbecue
#5: Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
The burger: Schnipper Old Fashioned, a flat-top classic 5-ounce griddled patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, house sauce, double cheese (American) and griddled onion
The bucks: $6.99
The coordinates: New York City
It’s not hard for many to simply call Schnipper’s a Shake Shack clone. Whatever you call it, you will be paying $7 for a near-perfect cheeseburger. There are a number of elements that make Schnipper’s such a damn successful burger, but none are more important than a uniformly well-browned exterior that comes from a masterful charring at the griddle. At Schnipper’s, the holy-burger-cold-topping-trinity of lettuce, tomato and pickle is alive and well, and the quality is up to the same standards as the beef. Many a Bang for Your Burger Buck has delivered standard-to-subpar lettuce, or a mealy tomato that was made passable thanks to a heavy dousing of burger sauce a la Thousand Island. No need to dunk the greens in pink stuff at Schnipper’s. Also, the more I revisit the pics, the more I am confounded by the magical act that was Schnipper’s melting the cheese underneath the burger. The sauce was applied with restraint, a technique to ensure that the all the flavors of the burger come out. These toppings are familiar territory, of course, but they were measured and layered with precision and were of quality. Many burgers have gotten away with less at this price point, so tip your cap. And come hungry, because that price includes a short wait. This is where Schnipper’s outdoes Shake Shack: It’s a more convenient experience. I’ll take a shorter line to a non-cloned burger any day.
Just as long as that clone isn’t trying to blow up the world or something.
Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen
570 Lexington Ave. (at 51st St.)
New York, NY 10022
Continue Reading Ali Khan’s 5 Favorite Cheap Burgers
It’s hard to stay in time this time of year, so take the party outside. Before the midday heat of full summer really hits, pull out your table and lawn chairs for a garden party luncheon. Whether you’re planning a lunch to celebrate a baby shower, birthday or just the fact that summer is (nearly) here, this French-inspired menu is just the thing:
Continue Reading A Festive Garden Party Luncheon
All these Mondays back at work are really cutting into our sitting-in-the-park-to-watch-the-flowers-bloom time. It’s unreasonable after that incorrigible winter. The reassuring news is that you need only 60 seconds to find out how to make Giada’s tongue- and mind-stimulating tiramisu. Drop a post-it note on the floor and watch this video while your boss bends down to pick it up. Then when she hands it back, write “I know how to make tiramisu” on it and wait for your promotion:
Continue Reading In 1 Minute, Learn How to Make Decadent Tiramisu
Shawarma, a Middle Eastern street food staple, makes a guest appearance in the recently released The Avengers movie. OK, it might not have a starring role, but Iron Man (a.k.a. Robert Downey Jr.) does crave some after a kick-ass battle scene.
“Have you ever tried shawarma?” Iron Man asks Captain America. “There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I want to try it.”
If you’re as mystified about the dish as he is, we’re here to fix that. We talked to the pros at Mina Restaurant in Chicago for the low-down on this must-try dish:
Continue Reading Shawarma Gets the “Avengers” Stamp-of-Approval
Three ingredients were the key to my survival in college: tortilla chips, shredded cheddar and chunky salsa. Armed with a Chevron card borrowed from my father, I would charge anything and everything under the sun, except actual gasoline. My starving-student diet consisted of Dr. Pepper, chocolate milk, hot dogs, bologna and, yes, even “homemade” nachos. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
I’ve come a long way since those junk-food days (well, depending on who you ask), yet those trashy nachos still remain firmly rooted in my culinary arsenal. It often humors my boyfriend when I return home ravenous from a late night at work and immediately pull the chips from the cabinet. Even with a fridge full of more civilized ingredients, sometimes all a girl wants is something fattening and familiar. But before you judge, just think about your favorite nostalgic treats. Come on, I know there has to be a dirty secret lurking somewhere in your refrigerator.
Fortunately, I’ll spare you the “recipe” for that ol’ heat-and-eat mess. I’ve decided to give nachos the old college try, and I think even the haters out there will approve of this Southern-style update. Imagine slow-cooked pulled pork drizzled with sweet-and-tangy barbecue sauce and ladled with creamy cheddar. It’s finished off with cilantro-sour cream, pickled jalapenos and a sprinkling of queso fresco. Each of the components is delicious in its own right, but paired together you get something truly sublime. The only way these nachos could get any better is if they’re washed down with an ice-cold beer. And that, my friends, is how to earn a culinary diploma!
Continue Reading Pulled Pork Nachos
Inspired (and envious) of Roberto’s lobster roll claw-off, where he tasted 18 of the country’s top lobster rolls, I decided to do a taste test of my own. Would Luke’s Lobster be the winner for this lobster lover as well? While I wasn’t able to drive to 18 eateries, I did hit up four of what are considered to be the best lobster roll establishments within a 120 mile drive of NYC: Luke’s Lobster, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Lobster Landing and Abbott’s Lobsters. And what better way to do a tasting comparison than jam pack it all into one incredible road trip? One (rainy) Sunday, two states and a whole heck of a lot of lobster.
Continue Reading Road Trip: Lobster Rolls
Kyotofu's Soft Serve
Craving a taste of the desserts you’ve seen on Unique Sweets? Here’s your chance to satisfy your sweet tooth: Gilt City and Cooking Channel have paired up to bring the show to life with the Unique Sweets Crawl in New York City hosted by pastry chef and Unique Sweets contributor Zac Young.
Continue Reading Unique Sweets, The Gilt City Tour!
Bring on the biscuits.
This weekend, we’re heading down to the International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville, TN. This celebration of home-cooking centers on “the most perfect of foods,” the biscuit. It will truly be a biscuit lover’s heaven, with a biscuit breakfast, biscuit cook-off, biscuit boulevard and more. Here are just a few of the highlights:
Continue Reading International Biscuit Festival, Here We Come!
Often carrot cake can seem like a throw back to the ’70s, when they were dense and tasted ultimately too good for you. This updated version is moist, sweet and has a rich combination of spices that makes it one of the tastiest cakes ever. Adding a bit of orange and lemon zest to the smooth cream cheese icing brings out those bright flavors in the cake. I have served these cupcakes at every occasion, from picnics to weddings; it is even a terrific breakfast treat.
Continue Reading Carrot Cupcakes