By Rachel Bosworth
When you think of authentic southern-style barbecue, you typically don’t think of Hamptons beach towns or seafood restaurants. Luckily for us East Enders, there is one place that encompasses everything we love – breathtaking water views, that laidback community vibe, and a menu bursting with local flavor and mouthwatering dishes you can’t wait to try, plus a little something to spice it up. That place is Baron’s Cove in the seafaring village of Sag Harbor, where all of these things come together in a uniquely southern twist.
As part of a series that runs from June to October, this seaside eatery hosts monthly barbecue cookouts featuring smoked meats, fish, and even some vegan goodies, with all of the comforting fixings to match. What makes this foodie experience unique is Executive Chef Matthew Boudreau and his pack of guest pit masters from around the country that grill up all of these smoky favorites. “Barbecue is a lot about camaraderie,” says Chef Boudreau. “To have these people come to the Hamptons and cook brings an authenticity of barbecue to the area. It’s the real deal.”
So how did all of these beloved barbecue pit masters come together? An unexpected, yet deliciously pleasant, surprise is Chef Bourdreau is actually part of a national barbecue competition barbecue team. Fellow griller and longtime friend of Chef Boudreau is Rob Shawger of Pig Beach in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and he is the captain of the team called Salty Rinse. Not only does Salty Rinse compete on the regional and national level, but they receive top marks at the famed World Championship Barbecue Competition at the annual Memphis in May festival. Joined by other pit masters including Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis and Pork Mafia, the 2017 competition will be Chef Boudreau’s fifth.
While Baron’s Cove prides itself on its seafood offerings, they cook up some great meat dishes as well. The pig roasts in particular are Chef Boudreau’s way of showcasing a menu that appeals to any palate. Joined by the likes of pit masters from Pig Beach in Brooklyn, Hogapalooza in Arkansas, and Natural Born Grillers in Texas, the Baron’s Cove pig roasts invite friends and families to enjoy authentic barbecue in their indoor and outdoor spaces. The picnic tables with views of the bay offer that added authentic feeling as you spread all of your finger licking barbecue goodness out on a table with family and friends.
The first and last barbecue of the fall season will be held on Saturday, October 8, and is expected be an all-out bash. “This is our launch to show what we do in the winter,” says Chef Boudreau. “We are a year-round place and part of the community in both the on and off seasons.”
Standout dishes on this particular menu include hot smoked and dry rubbed whole local striped bass by Chef Boudreau. “Two of my favorite things are fish and smoke,” he says of this dish.
Another surprising menu choice is the vegan smoked barbecue beans. “Barbecue isn’t something you normally experience as a vegan,” Chef Boudreau says of his inspiration to create a bean dish even the most serious barbecue diner would enjoy.
Guests can also expect to enjoy a whole roasted pig, a variety of smoked meats, Montauk Brewing Company beer can chicken, fresh local tomato salad, homemade jalapeño cheddar corn bread, and a shellfish fest with Shinnecock day boat scallops, Montauk Pearl oysters, clams, and a variety of other raw and cooked shellfish. Making use of the local bounty the East End has to offer, coupled with his fellow pit master pals’ varying expertise, Baron’s Cove and Chef Boudreau’s pig roasts make for a cool and casual dining experience you normally wouldn’t get on the South Fork.
The barbecue is first come first served, and all dishes are a la carte. Hamptons Film Festival goers are invited to bring their ticket or pass for a free glass of Salty Rinse’s own Albaraiño wine or Montauk Brewing Company beer. Diplomatico Rum will also be available for the last pig roast of the season, which is accompanied by local musicians gathering for an all-afternoon jam session. While the pig roast begins at 1 p.m., guests are encouraged to come early and setup camp around noon. If you can’t make it to “Memphis in May,” the Baron’s Cove pig roast is surely a delicious alternative.