Low & Slow: Introducing genuine traditional American food @ Greater Copenhagen
By Patrick W. Ireland, Pitmaster / Chubby Boys Barbecue
Patrick Ireland, “Pitmaster” and the founder of Chubby Boys Barbeque has been in the business for many years in preparing traditional American meat.
He shares his story with Greater Copenhagen Post
The early years in America.
My story and first memories of real BBQ began in Chicago Illinois back in the mid 1980´s at the family reunion. We were drinking sodas in the shade and playing backgammon and dice, except for Grandma who was upset because someone forgot her root beer. My uncles were goofing around and laughing while preparing meat for the smoker that were slowly getting up to temperature. There were brown paper bags being passed around as the boom box where playing Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, as my drunk uncles were showing the kids “how to dance” the hip hop, using the old Motown moves they still remembered, All these early memories formed me as a pitmaster, because BBQ is not just the food, it is a meal shared with people you care about.
Living in Denmark
Living in Denmark as an adult I realized that the only way to get good or even real BBQ was to make it yourself. The few places that claimed to serve BBQ didn’t actually “BBQ” anything, they served boiled gas grilled loin back ribs with chili ketchup smeared all over it. If you asked to talk to the pitmaster you would get a line chef that was guaranteed to know nothing about BBQ and care even less about your questions that made him leave the kitchen. A real pitmaster will go on forever if you ask them about their meat or there BBQ technique because they are deeply passionate about what they do. It is said that the greatness of a pitmaster is directly proportional to the size of their ash pile, it’s a long dark and dirty road to perfection and no one does it just for the money.
At Chubby Boys Barbecue we don’t believe in that market strategy, we know that people, especially anyone that knows what real BBQ is, will pay more for the real deal. Real BBQ will never be the cheapest option out there because of the labor cost that goes into slow cooking meat in a smoker. It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right but once you had those smoked spareribs or that delicious fatty brisket from a real pitmaster, you will never settle for less again.
The Big Picture
It is often said, that “in order to know where you are going, you first have to know where you are coming from”, so I started researching the history of North American barbecue. What is now known as North American barbecue has an almost 500 year old history – it all started in the 1540´s with the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese naval vessels that also brought the pigs, along with other food and livestocks for their men to the American continent. Pigs were not native to America so the locals (native Americans) had never seen a pig before the arrival of the Europeans. The newcomers soon began meeting with the local natives and traded with them, so BBQ as we know it today came with the merger of imported European pigs and the curing process of meat, that was used by the natives called “barbacoa”. The natives they encountered all along the eastern coast of America, cured meats of all kinds using low heat time and smoke.
The first reports of ”barbacoa” came in December of 1540, where the Spanish knight Hernando De Soto, was trading with the Chiskasaw natives that lived in the area we know as Tupelo, Mississippi. De Soto was invited to a
party where the Chiskasaw had prepared Spanish pigs using their traditional way of preparing meat. De Soto later reported that the natives loved barbacoa pig so much that they often stole pigs from De Soto, the Spanish in return stole the natives cooking techniques and refined it.
An early lithograph showing American native’s making barbacoa. Any kind of meat from dogs to snakes were on the menu.
Some of the natives of South America were cannibals and they barbecued human flesh, as reported in 1547 by the German Hans Stade, who was working for the Portuguese navy and captured by natives in Brazil. He escaped in 1555 and returned to Europe. In 1557, he wrote the book “True history” in which he describes and illustrates the cooking technique used by those natives called barbacoa. As illustrated by this lithograph from 1557, there where human legs on the menu.
American barbecue in Europe
Over the last few years several authentic barbecue restaurants has popped up in Copenhagen and now it’s safe to say that we have an established marked for authentic American barbecue, not only in Denmark because American barbecue is growing big in all of Europe, as “backyard barbecue” like what we make at Chubby Boys Barbecue, but also on the competition scene we see Danish and European pitmasters are competing in the biggest competitions in America.
Chubby Boys Barbecue
Our mission statement has always been to promote authentic American barbecue in Denmark. In 2009 I bought my first Weber and started the slow process of perfecting my BBQ. I spend 3 years developing my technique and flavor profile, until 2012 where I found a company in Pennsylvania called Meadow Creek who makes the best mobile BBQ smokers on the market. My Meadow Creek BBQ smoker is an 1100 kilo iron beast sitting on a trailer, which allows us to go anywhere for any occasion.
In 2015 we opened a restaurant in Hellerup that turned out to be the wrong location for our business, so in 2016 we made the decision to close it down. Based on the experience we gained in Hellerup we are now adjusting our business model and making plans to open at new address in the Copenhagen area in the near future. We are introducing our meat of low and slow cooking techniques at the upcoming holiday’s for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2016 in Copenhagen at Richmond Hotel.
Like to know more about the event, menu and booking seat reservations for Thanksgiving dinner November 24th & the American Christmas julefrokost December 8th. From 6 pm to midnight. Visit http://www.chubbys.dk/christmas-menu/