Ari White of Wandering Que describes his pandemic mentality as “radical flexibility.” He’s changed his operation from a full service food truck to local and long distance delivery. We talked with the 2016 Brisket King winner about how he has adapted in the last year and what his business will look like in the future. You can order delivery from Wandering Que throughout the east coast and midwest here. As told to Sarah Strong, this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Lawrence La Pianta is the owner and pitmaster of Cherry Street Bar-B-Que in Toronto, which specializes in Southern-style smoked meats with multi-culturally influenced flavors. As a guest of Hometown Barbecue, where he parked his smoker, Lawrence also took home the top prize at Brisket King NYC 2018 for his traditional brisket platter served with white bread and pickles. He spoke to us about how Cherry Street and his New York style deli Elm Street Italian Deli are faring, how the Canadian government has helped small businesses stay afloat and what he’s looking forward to post pandemic. If you’re in Toronto, you can order barbecue for pickup or delivery. As told to Sarah Strong, this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
This week we talked to Marc Glosserman, Founder and CEO of Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York City and Washington, DC. Hill Country, a multi-year and award winning participant at Brisket King, has stayed open for takeout and delivery throughout the pandemic, and has expanded their retail offerings nationwide since March. Marc talks about the issues they’ve faced with dine-in service, their mail order delivery business and why he’s hopeful for the future of the restaurant industry. You can support Hill Country by ordering takeout or delivery, eating at the restaurant when allowed, ordering home delivery from Goldbely or ordering meal kits through Baldor. As told to Sarah Strong, this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Pig Farmer Tank Jackson of Holy City Hogs near Charleston, South Carolina has been a standout competitor at Pig Island for many years and a true friend to Food Karma projects for just as long. Not only was he the top heritage breed pig farmer at the past two Pig Island events, but also he won best pig with his team both years. During the pandemic, he has begun processing more of his pigs, which are normally sold directly to restaurants, into bacon and hams. We chatted with him about how business is going, what he’s looking forward to and how you can get your hands on one of his hams (hint: by being the fastest fingers on Instagram). As told to Sarah Strong, this interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Pitmaster Izzy Eidelman opened his kosher barbecue joint Izzy’s Smokehouse in 2015 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and has been a beloved participant at Brisket King for many years, including a win in 2017. While sister restaurant Izzy’s Taqueria has been shut down during the pandemic, the smokehouse menu has incorporated nachos and tacos alongside the usual barbecue sandwiches and ribs. You can support Izzy’s Smokehouse by visiting in person, ordering online and spreading the word about their traveling food truck. This interview has been edited and condensed.