Raising the bar
The year was 2003 and I was tending the bar in a typically antique strewn BBQ restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. When one day between pouring craft beers and talking about the Cubs with a local, I saw a tall, lean, but somewhat stoop shouldered man walk in the antiquated lime green door with a rusty pipe for a handle.
He ambled (yes, he really ambled) and took a seat at the bar with the comfortable familiarity of one who has spent many hours in many bars both near and far. He ordered a Shiner Bock and proudly pronounced that he was from Texas, like people from Texas do, as if the accent hadn’t already made that evident.
After perusing the menu and ordering a brisket sandwich (of course, Texas) he ordered an Indian Brave. I informed him I had never heard of such a drink as I hastily retreated in search of the Bartender guide. I should’ve known better, he knew exactly how to make that drink, even down to finicky restaurant liquor portion standards. Here’s what he taught me, so you can make one too…
If you know how to make a white Russian, you know how to make this drink, just sub out the vodka with tequila. Otherwise…
Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice ALL THE WAY to the top, otherwise your ratios will be wrong and you’ll have too much cream. You’re going to want to build this in layers, so first add 1.5 ounces silver tequila, .5 oz Kahlua and top off with cream, stir. Drink, repeat.
Creamy and finishes with a slight bite of tequila, this is a little ballsier than a White Russian. Take note Big Lebowski, your drink is tame duder.
How to eat BBQ
Once he was comfortable with a beer and a cocktail (Texas) I went to retrieve his sandwich and dropped it off for him. I briefly stepped away to continue counseling the Cubs fan, an unavoidable and oft overlooked bartender responsibility in that part of the country…
Eventually I made it back to check on the Cowboy, he asked me if I knew how to stop BBQ sandwiches from falling apart. I had to admit I didn’t and as a bartender in a BBQ restaurant, I had to confess that nobody really does. You know how it is; the bottom bun gets macerated in BBQ sauce and grease, eventually falling apart, which makes you look like a bitch, because you’re suddenly eating BBQ with a fork.
The Cowboy proceeded to show me his BBQ secret; possibly it was the only thing to escape the Alamo and was jealously guarded by Texans through the generations. Until one day the Cowboy brought that secret North. I hope they let him live
The jealously hoarded BBQ sandwich secret to eating a BBQ sandwich is… Turn it upside down. The crown is usually quite a bit bigger and has more structural integrity than the tiny disk of a bottom bun. Therefore the added structural integrity allows you to freely pick up and put down your BBQ sandwich without the fear of it falling apart, which coincidentally leaves you with a free hand to pick up your drink. You’re welcome.
Coming soon: more food porn. New shoes and a trip to Daniel Boulud’s Miami Bistro. We’ll see ya’ there- Pot and Pan Handler