New York’s favorite go-to barbecue chain is revealing its best-kept secrets.
“Brother Jimmy’s BBQ,” the cookbook named after the restaurants, is out now, with recipes from executive chef Eva Pesantez and owner Josh Lebowitz.
“When I began working for Jimmy [Goldman] in 1996, it was a cathartic moment: I realized that my passion for barbecue could forever become my profession,” says Lebowitz, who bought the brand in 2000. Previously, he had taken road trips throughout the South to further his barbecue education.
“The most important tenet I strived to adhere to was the fact that proper barbecue isn’t just about food. It’s an affair that encompasses everything good in life: family, friends, food, and fun....It’s the same essence I found in the Southern culture I’d seen years earlier, during tailgates, backyard barbecues, and some of the eateries I’d visited.”
Twelve years and seven locations later, Brother Jimmy’s has come to be known for its North Carolina style ’cue (which has more focus on the meat, less on the sauce) and convivial (sometimes downright rowdy) crowds. The restaurant’s slogan is “Put Some South in Your Mouth.”
“In short, this book is all you’ll need to bring a little Brother Jimmy’s home to your rooftop cocktails, afternoon beach party, backyard barbecue, Sunday tailgate, or any other event you can imagine,” says Lebowitz.
The book is broken up onto sections like “Condiments, Pickles, and Slaws,” and “Core Rubs, Spices, and Sauces.” Recipes include smoked beef short ribs, fried okra, peach cobbler.
“My belief is that barbecue is supposed to be fun, and this book will outline many of the ways Brother Jimmy’s has been making it fun for New Yorkers for more than 20 years,” says Lebowitz.
Recipe: Pecan Pie
Sweet, sticky, nutty, pecan pie is the all-time iconic Southern dessert. Substitute bourbon for the vanilla if there are no kids around. Or just tell them this pie is for the adults only.
FOR THE PIE DOUGH:
Makes one 10-inch pie crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1 large egg yolk
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
½ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1 ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup corn syrup
¾ cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves
1. To make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed until it resembles coarse crumbs.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with three tablespoons of the water and add to the flour mixture. Add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to form a crumbly dough.
3. Turn the dough out and mix in any flour remaining at the bottom of the bowl with a few quick kneading motions to bring it together into a ball-don't overwork the dough or it will not be tender.
4. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
5. To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 375?F.
6. Roll out the pie dough and lay it in a 10-inch pie plate. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the extra dough under so it covers the rim of the plate, forming a decorative edge. Refrigerate or freeze the dough for 30 minutes.
7. Line the pie shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill with baking weights, dry beans, or rice. Bake the shell for about 15 minutes, until it sets up. Remove the paper or foil and weights.
8. While the pie shell is baking, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, salt, vanilla in a large bowl, and mix until well incorporated. Add the pecans.
9. Pour the filling into the pie shell, place in the oven, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the edges are slightly puffed. If the edges start to brown, wrap aluminum foil around the edges of the crust to prevent burning.
10. Cool completely before cutting.
Recipe: Garlic, Jalapeño & Lime-Brined Chicken
Brining keeps the chicken moist and succulent, and the flavor of the jalapeno comes through without a burning heat finish.
FOR THE BRINE:
6 cups cold water
¼ cup salt
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup garlic cloves
Zest of 3 limes
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed a little with the back of pan
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded to even them out
1. Combine 2 cups of water, the salt, sugar, garlic, lime zest, jalapeños, and peppercorns, in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the remaining 4 cups of water, cover, and refrigerate until cold.
2. Add the chicken to the cold brine, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to overnight.
3. Preheat your grill to medium heat and, about 15 minutes before you’re ready to grill, pull the chicken out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.
4. Oil the hot grate and grill the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes per side, until cooked through. Brined foods tend to cook more quickly, so be careful not to overcook.
5. Slice and serve on platter.
Recipe: Hush Puppies with Maple Butter
The cayenne gives these puppies a little kick, which the creamy sweetness of the maple butter mellows. Hush puppies are put on the table straight away, much like a Southern version of a bread basket, so you can give your guests a treat right when they arrive. Serve hot with maple butter. By the way, this sweetened maple butter goes great on everything from pancakes to cornbread, so don’t worry if you have any left over — you can freeze it, too.
FOR THE MAPLE BUTTER:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup maple syrup
FOR THE HUSH PUPPIES:
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup diced Spanish onion
2 cups cornmeal
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons granulated onion
About 5 cups canola oil for deep-frying
1. Make the maple butter: In a large bowl, beat together the butter and maple syrup until incorporated. Set aside at room temperature. (If you make the maple butter ahead and have stored it in the fridge, bring it to room temperature before serving.)
2. Make the hush puppies: Heat 6 inches of oil to 325?F in a deep-fryer or heavy-bottomed stockpot. While the oil is heating, lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the baking powder. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Add the oil and onion.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, cayenne, and granulated onion. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients; mix to incorporate, but don't overmix. Refrigerate until ready for use.
4. Carefully drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. (In the restaurant we use a ¾-ounce scoop). Don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Using the deep-fryer’s wire basket, a slotted spoon, or a spider, remove the hush puppies to paper towels to absorb extra oil or drain on a wire rack. Serve with the maple butter.
Recipe: Palmetto Punch
A Carolina version of a Rum Runner made with spiced rum, coconut rum, fruit juice, and a Myers’s float, this drink is perfect for those looking for a sweet tropical taste with a kick.
2 ounces spiced rum
¾ ounce coconut rum
Splash of pineapple juice
Splash of grenadine
Orange juice for topping
Dark rum, such as Myers’s, for floating on top
1 orange wedge for garnish
Combine the rums, pineapple juice, and grenadine in an iced 16-ounce mason jar. Top with orange juice. Place a shaker over the jar and shake well. Float the dark rum on top. Garnish with the orange wedge.