By Rachel Bosworth
Barbecue is not just for the South. The East End has been a dining destination for years now, and this past summer several Manhattan chefs followed suit of fellow city dwellers to spend the high season out east with new full-time and pop-up restaurants. Chef Matthew Boudreau of Baron’s Cove has enlisted his own griller from the five boroughs — fellow barbecue champ and leader of Boudreau’s barbecue competition team, Rob Shawger. Together, the two are serving up their award-winning ribs and other southern comfort food dishes as part of the Championship Barbecue Series at the Sag Harbor restaurant.
Mr. Shawger, pit master and partner of Brooklyn’s Pig Beach, is the captain of the national barbecue competition team Salty Rinse. Together, Mr. Shawger, Chef Boudreau, and fellow team members have earned accolades on the national and regional level. “I have known Rob Shawger for years and he is the most dedicated aficionado of incredible ‘que,’” Chef Boudreau says. “He collaborates and works with the most well-known pit masters and chefs from all over the states.”
For this partnership at Baron’s Cove, the duo if offering their championship smoked and glazed ribs, Montauk beer can chicken, and a variety of fixings including corn on the cob, smoked barbecue beans, local collard greens, jalapeño and cheddar cornbread, and Baron’s Cove garden tomatoes with smoked pecorino. Chef Boudreau declares the ribs are the best ever made in Sag Harbor, if not New York, and is excited to offer them to the masses.
“We take all natural baby back pork ribs rub them with Pig Beach’s dry rub, and smoke them with a mixture of fruit and hardwood until tender and perfectly cooked,” explains Chef Boudreau. “Then we brush them with a glaze of Rob’s own Righteous Red BBQ Sauce.”
Eager to bring his own barbecue secrets to the East End, Mr. Shawger says the effort to create delicious barbecue is the same for a local event, such as this, as it is for a competition. “The Pig Beach team and Salty Rinse BBQ bring the same multi-stage, multi-flavor layering process to the Baron’s Cove barbecues as we would to a world championship event,” he explains. “All of our competitive rubs, sauces, and techniques are tried, true, and award-winning.”
Chef Boudreau shares that Mr. Shawger is always ready to try something new while also perfecting the recipes he is passionate about. When the pair get together, it’s a fun learning experience that lends itself to some of the different offerings at the Baron’s Cove barbecues. Something new the chef is trying out for himself is variations on local striped bass.
“We are rolling out a smoked fish, pickled ramps, and local tomato dish for the upcoming barbecue,” Chef Boudreau says, adding that many ingredients come from Satur Farms on the North Fork, Balsam Farm in Amagansett, and the restaurant’s own garden. “I pickled some ramps back in May and have been waiting to bring this dish together. It’s going to be awesome!”
Though he can’t give away the ingredients for the ribs, Chef Boudreau assures us there is a lot of love in every rack. Mr. Shawger adds, “Working with Matty is always exciting. He brings the fine dining/chef trained-experience versus my backyard barbecue brawler style, which combined, equals some damn good barbecue on the water in Sag Harbor.”
The championship barbecue at Baron’s Cove will take place on Saturday, September 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. on the outdoor terrace. Drink specials include Bedell Rosé, Montauk Brewery beer, and Diplimatico Rum specialty cocktails. Live music with the Tom and Lisa trio will begin at 2 p.m., and all dishes are served a la carte. Mr. Shawger will return to Baron’s Cove on Saturday, October 7 to join Chef Boudreau to serve up Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, and smoked Long Island duck. For more information, visit baronscove.com.