So March 19th, 2013 was the 6th Pitmaster’s Dinner at Lockhart’s BBQ in Royal Oak, Michigan. It was my third Pitmaster’s dinner and I was accompanied by my good friend John who introduced me to this delightful event. This particular soirée was paired with Arbor Brewing Company and the theme was beef dinner. Every dish had some element of beef in it.
It was pretty awesome to go and be remembered by Bubba and the staff at Lockhart’s. The first thing Bubba asked me was “you blogging?” and I said “of course!” I was not quite sure whether to put pictures before or after the text, but I think I’m going to go with before.
When we arrived, we were greeted by some great Arbor Brewing Company swag. We found out we didn’t have our own table this time, and met our dinner buddies for the night. They were delightful to compare the food and beers with, and for the beers they didn’t like we got to have them! What more could you ask for. Before the first course was brought out, we all had a Sacred Cow IPA which is one of ABC’s flagship beers. Chef Scott was noticeably absent but we had Pitmaster Bubba! It was great to be able to talk to him more this time around and he welcomed everyone to the dinner before the first course started coming out. This time I had brought a small notebook to take tasting notes, instead of taking them on the menu itself – I’m learning!
The first course was burnt end potstickers and asian smoked sirloin egg rolls. The beer that was chosen as the pairing was Sacred Cow IPA. I’ve had this beer before while in Ann Arbor and it is probably one of my favorites. It is particularly hoppy (which I love in a beer), but it was still very light. I enjoyed it very much. The food that came out with it had great presentation as well as great flavor. The veggies in the egg roll kept it from being a very heavy dish from the sirloin but the sirloin flavor was present throughout. I expected that with a beef-centric dinner the food would be very strong and well heavy. I can’t really come up with a synonym to otherwise describe my expectation. The egg roll by itself was delicious, but when combined with the mustard sauce that adorned the plate the contrast between the sweet and savory was amazing. The skin was very light and flaky unlike a lot of egg rolls that I’ve eaten and that just helped to lighten the dish up. The potstickers were made with burnt ends and were saturated in the burnt end flavors. They tasted delicious but were decidedly heavier than the egg rolls. They contained less veggies and were saucier but the burnt end flavor really shines through. When eaten with the beer, it did seem to lighten it all up. The course almost made the beer sweeter.
The Belgian Tripel was served next. I like my belgians and this one had a pretty sweet aftertaste. It had an apple aftertaste that was just delightful. The beef sausage was really great. I even asked Bubba how to make it. He said it was a pain to make, and that he’d show me if I’d make it haha. It was spicy. Like a front kick, and a lingering spiciness. It was awesome. I wish it had more heat but that’s cause I like spicy food and most people probably couldn’t deal with it. The sour cream and refried beans were there solely to help reduce the heat for the jokers that couldn’t take it. The more of the sausage you ate, the hotter it got. It was great. The beer when paired with the sausage didn’t really enhance the food, but the food did bring out the sweetness of the Tripel.
So I gotta be honest. I totally forgot about the beer as soon as the rib came out. But so did everyone else, including the ABC reps. All I wrote down about it was “Hint of bourbon. Can taste the wood barrel.” Now this should tell you something about the beef rib. Number one, it was huge. Every rib was between 1 and 1.5 lbs. If you got an end, you got closer to 1.5 lbs. I got an end. I was ecstatic. It smelled delicious, but god the taste. THE TASTE! Probably one of the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life. We discussed it at our table and we talked about how to recreate it. Bubba even stopped by and asked what we thought of it, and we pleaded with him to tell us how he made it. Now I need to buy a smoker. I literally have no tasting notes for this rib. I was too busy enjoying it. It had very simple spices on it, and was smoked for 5 hours, and it just came out amazing. It melted in your mouth, it fell off the rib, and it was amazing. The crust was a little salty, but the beer cut the saltiness. That’s the only other tasting note I have. We all ended up taking a souvenir home, I’m going to try to make a soup with mine. If you ever see this served at Lockhart’s again. Go. Just leave the computer now, and go.
Dessert was a candied piece of beef bacon on top of a gooey s’mores. This was served with an Irish Stout that was almost coffee-like but was mostly reminiscent of dark chocolate throughout. The bacon was very much like beef jerky, but with brown sugar tones throughout. It tasted mostly of pepper that contrasted well in both texture and taste with the gooey sweetness of the marshmallow s’mores. I could get used to eating it. I’ll have to figure out some kind of substitute to eat with my next s’mores endeavor that is less time-intensive. Because planning 14 days in advance of eating a s’mores is not going to happen.
Until next Pitmaster’s, I hope to see you all there! Come by and take a picture with me and I’ll put ya in the blog.