Alcohol Food Festivals News

Ardbeg Scotch Whisky’s Bizarre BQ Tour is Headed to a City Near You

Islay single malts are most often associated with its smoky profile, so the smokiness of Ardbeg Scotch whisky and barbeque are a match made in heaven. This summer Ardbeg’s Bizarre BQ Tour will land at some of the country’s most popular festivals to bring the whisky’s smokiness to the smokiest of meats.

Care for some Grilled Alligator Sausage with a side of dehydrated edible insects, slathered in Ardbeg Barbecue Sauce? Then take note that the tour has hit festivals in Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, Asheville, NC, and Snowmass Village, CO.

Guests who visit the Live Fire activation also get to enjoy cocktails that went into a special chamber where they emerged with an extra hint of smoke, accentuating the already peated nuances of Ardbeg.

Ardbeg’s Bizarre BQ next hits Chicago (Aug. 19-21) and New York (Sept. 30 – Oct. 1).

Feel Good News

Kingsford Honors Black Barbecue With Fellowships and Business Grants

Black History Month may be over but Kingsford Charcoal continues to celebrate the contributions that Black people have made to barbecue culture by launching its second year of the Preserve the Pit fellowship. 

Last year, the grilling brand received more than 1,500 applications and awarded three barbecue entrepreneurs with an industry fellowship. Due to the outpouring of interest and inspiring stories, the program was expanded to also include 10 small business grants. The Fellows received training and one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders who share Kingsford’s commitment to honoring the history of Black barbecue.  

“We were overwhelmed by the response to Preserve the Pit last year and the incredible work done by our Mentor Network and Fellows,” said Ram Gopalakrishnan, marketing director at Kingsford. “While the first year of the fellowship was a success, we know that many of the same systemic issues in the barbecue industry exist today which is why we’re doubling our investment in the Black barbecue community.” 

Kingsford aims to name six aspiring barbecue professionals as Preserve the Pit Fellows. Ten deserving applicants will also be provided with grants to kick start their small businesses. Additionally, Restaurateur Pat Neely will be joining the effort as a new mentor alongside Dr. Howard Conyers, pitmaster and educator on the history of Southern barbecue, and the returning Mentor Network including Chef Kevin Bludso, FoodLab Detroit Executive Director Devita Davison, Chef Bryan Furman, “barbecue nerd” Rashad Jones and “barbecue heiress” Amy Mills.

“Working with the first class of Fellows and mentors last year was incredibly inspiring and rewarding,” said Dr. Howard Conyers. “I remain confident that through our shared passion, Kingsford, the Mentor Network and I can continue to provide resources and business opportunities to help future generations thrive in the barbecue industry and keep them connected to the culture and history of the craft.” 

Kingsford and its Mentor Network will select the 2022 class of fellows based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, their connection to barbecue, contributions to the legacy of the Black barbecue community and commitments to fueling its future.

To further honor the Black community’s contributions to barbecue, Kingsford teamed up with artist-activist Brandan “BMike” Odums to create a special-edition Preserve the Pit bag, which is available for purchase at Walmart. The bag, titled “Pass it On,” is inspired by the Black barbecue traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation.

A portion of the sales* from the “Pass it On” bag will be reinvested into Preserve the Pit to continue to pave the way for future generations of Black barbecue enthusiasts. The piece has also been memorialized as a mural at the historic Black-owned Payne’s BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee (seen above). 

The second class of fellows will be announced next month. 

Fast Food What's New

Arby’s Debuts New Real Country Style Rib Sandwich

Arby’s is saying it with their whole chest: “Forget sandwiches made with restructured boneless pork patty.” The obvious shots are volleyed in the direction of one popular fast food ‘rib’ sandwich. In response to said rib sandwich, Arby’s is setting the bar high with their new Real Country Style Rib Sandwich.

Arby’s has true BBQ lovers in mind for this new sandwich, as it is made with real, quality pork rib meat smoked low and slow for over eight hours over real hickory wood. It’s then topped with melted Gouda, crispy onions, and smoky BBQ sauce, making for one true BBQ sandwich.

The Real Country Style Rib Sandwich is available now, though for a limited time only, so act quick to get your fast BBQ fix.


Viet-Tex And California BBQ Combine For A Special Pitmaster Collab

Photos courtesy of Khoi Barbecue.

If you’re in the Houston area, chances are you’ve heard of the Viet-Tex barbecue creations being spun by Khói Barbecue. Items like Brisket Phở and Bánh Xèo filled with smoked beef cheeks have made the pop-up a popular one in the area, with pitmasters/owners Don and Theo Nguyen drawing inspiration from their Vietnamese roots and imbuing it into central Texas-style barbecue.

They’re not the only pitmasters in the country that use their roots to give barbecue a twist, as Danny Castillo gives a California spin to his Central Texas-style meats over at Heritage Barbecue. The Southern California barbecue icon is known for high-quality meats, as well as spins that include fresh takes on their sides.

Castillo has mentioned that he would love to bring pitmasters from all over to come and collaborate at his spot, and the Nguyen brothers will be some of the first to do just that. On June 13th, they’ll be making the trek over from Houston and popping up at Heritage Barbecue for the day.

Expect to see items like the Brisket Phở and Bánh Xèo, along with Bò Lá Lốt Links, inspired by the Vietnamese dish consisting of spiced ground beef wrapped in lolot leaves (otherwise known as betel leaves).

Heritage and Khoi won’t be the only two barbecue joints represented at this collab, as Convenience West BBQ, run by pitmaster Mark Scott, will also join in on the fun. Located in Marfa, Texas, Convenience West is a spot that’s continually experimenting with new flavors. Their meat, however, is rooted in what they describe as “Far West Tex” style barbecue.

Scott’s style is a little more eclectic, so he’ll be bringing unique dishes to the party like Boudin Wraps and barbecue tacos.

The entire event isn’t ticketed, so you can just show up to Heritage, hop in line, and order any of the special collab items. It starts at 11 am on Sunday, June 13th, and will run until everything sells out.


Heritage Barbecue Blends LEGIT Texas Barbecue With A California Twist

If you don’t live in Texas, it’s damn near impossible to find a legitimate Central Texas-style Barbecue.

Southern Californians, however, need look no further than Daniel Castillo’s own Heritage Barbecue based in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Heritage Barbecue began as a pop-up at local breweries in SoCal, accruing a cult following over the years. Once a kitchen manager at Whole Foods, Castillo would smoke meats in his yard and bring them to the breweries.

After years of hosting pop-ups, Castilla finally opened, Castillo finally opened a brick-and-mortar location for Heritage.

Offering the classic staples of Texas barbecue, such as brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and sausages, Castillo also brings a bit of a California twist into his menu.

Items like clubs, burritos, and dips are featured on his menu pretty regularly.

Castillo also takes advantage of the rich ingredients the land has to offer, sourcing locations vegetables from local farms.

Still, what’s been drawing the crowds is what brings folks to any barbecue spot: the meat. Heritage boasts smoked beef that melts in your mouth like an ice cube on a hot skillet. Castillo has become a veritable master of his craft.

While the lines are long, it goes without saying how worthwhile a trip to Heritage could be—especially for Californians craving that Texas-style meat.


Fogo De Chão Brings The Full Brazilian Steakhouse Experience Straight To Your Home


fogo de chao picanha

If there’s one thing that I’m a fiend for, it’s all you can eat meat. Whether it be devouring thinly sliced brisket by the plateful at a Korean BBQ joint or gulping down whole pieces of picanha at a Brazilian churrascaria, just know that I like to have my protein quotient fulfilled to its max.

But ever since the whole quarantine situation we’re all going through right now, fulfilling such dreams have been damn near impossible — that is until lauded all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão made their offerings available for takeout.

Dubbed Fogo To-Go, it is a new menu from the mansion of meat that lets folks indulge on two ready-to-grill feasts and one read-to-eat bundle to help enhance your next family meal. Here’s all the juicy details for the three meals bundles:

  • The Full Churrasco Home Experience: Bring the Fogo experience home with this all-in-one assortment of ready-to-grill meats – including Picanha (top sirloin), Fraldinha (bottom sirloin), chicken legs, lamb steak, and Brazilian sausage – plus a variety of Brazilian sides, Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) and the steakhouse’s iconic red and green service coasters. Guests can add a Dry-Aged Tomahawk Ribeye or Wagyu New York Strip a la carte, as well. This complete package starts at $95 and feeds six or more people.
  • Date Night Grilling: A romantic meal for two, this date night package includes a choice of any two of Fogo’s ready-to-grill premium steaks or entrees – such as Ribeye, Filet Mignon or Atlantic Salmon – plus salads, fresh vegetables for cooking and Pao de Queijo to enjoy over a bottle of exclusive Fogo Tribute wine, as well as two signature desserts. This cook-at-home package starts at $98 and even includes heart-shaped red and green service coasters.
  • Celebration Pack: Perfect for any special occasion, this fully cooked and ready-to-eat meal for four brings the celebration home with an assortment of Fogo’s most popular cuts (Picanha, Fraldinha and marinated chicken breast), Brazilian sides, salads, Pao de Queijo and signature Chocolate Brigadeiro cake. This complete package starts at $75, feeds four and even includes a pack of candles for the cake.

But the fun doesn’t stop there, as the Fogo To-Go menu also features a variety of individual entrees, freshly butchered and ready-to-grill cuts of the restaurant’s signature meats, fresh produce, and even pantry staples. Fogo To-Go orders can be placed online at or by calling the restaurant directly for contactless, curbside pick-up at Fogo locations nationwide or delivery by a Fogo team member.


Come Get This Unbelievably Tender Wagyu Brisket At Upcoming Queen Mary Cook-Off

As a barbecue enthusiast, the quality of the meat you choose is essential to a proper beef brisket. If you’re using any kind of inferior meat, you better be a master of the smoke because you’re pretty much in an uphill battle. Now I’ve had briskets made with amazing cuts of beef before, but I’ve yet to see one that’s smoked with Wagyu meat.

For the unfamiliar, Wagyu beef is widely regarded as ultra-premium quality beef that’s of the utmost level of tender. And Wagyu beef brisket is exactly what The Q Joint BBQ is bringing to the world of barbecue.

Slicing up USDA Prime Wagyu Brisket, The Q Joint is an Irvine, California-based barbecue company that offers a plethora of smoked and grilled meats. This includes smoked, deboned chicken thighs, St. Louis-style ribs, and their 12-hour hickory-smoked brisket.

All their items come together in what they call The Judge’s Box which boasts: 1 chicken, 2 ribs, pulled pork, 2 slices of brisket, and 2 burnt ends.

This incredible platter of smoked delights can be found at The Queen Mary’s Waterfront Cook-Off. The annual event will be held on May 11 from 12PM to 5PM. There will be two competitions held during that day, one that pits BBQ masters together in a smokey cook-off. The other brings together some of the country’s best chili cooks to see who can craft the most delicious bowl of chili.

Sounds like heaven on earth.

#foodbeast Adventures Culture Features FOODBEAST Video

Is Kansas City The Barbecue Capital Of The World?

The regionality of barbecue in the U.S. is but another wrinkle in the textured history of the cuisine’s rich contribution to the canon of American cooking. You’ve got four distinct kingdoms of ‘cue that are fierce in their respective representation. Think of it as a friendly yet spirited feud between dynastic families or noble houses.

With House Carolinas you have a fine affinity for pork. Their whole hog obsessions and expertise make for a destined pairing with their trademark vinegar-based sauces. House Memphis flies the banner of pit-smoked, dry-rubbed ribs coated in a thin, tangy sauce. For House Texas, their juicy brisket cooked low and slow is their pride and joy. Fun fact: when folks use the term “Texas barbecue” it more than likely refers to the Central Texas-style. But no matter what, beef is their main course. Finally, you have House Kansas City, where slow-smoked meats rubbed in a complex formula of spices and slathered in their signature, gloriously gloppy, tomato-based sauces are their bastion for barbecue braggadocio. Oh and they also happen to be the loudest of the bunch to tout themselves as the barbecue capital of the world.

Bold claim, sure, but the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Barack Obama, and even (oddly enough) John Madden co-signing hold merit. As they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire — or in this case, succulent, soul-stirring ribs that put the concept of an otherworldly kind of goodness on a pedestal.

And it’s there where I trailed the lead, curious about this barbecue capital of the world and finding out whether such a crown is too heavy for Kansas City to wear or just the right fit. Along the way we put this assertion of barbecue dominance to the test, whether it be through conversations with a barbecue historian to attending the world’s largest barbecue competition to even finding out the preferred choice of pork brand for these lauded bbq pit-masters (pro-tip: it’s Smithfield).


Editor’s Note: Pitmaster Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke Barbecue