46-51_Feast BBQ_spr13_Copy of profile_sTEFAN_fall05.qxd 1/30/13 1:08 PM Page 46
people and places profiles
BY J. CHRISTIAN WALSH | PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAN DRY
right on’cue The masked man behind Feast BBQ and his modern take on the world’s oldest cuisine
It may be that Louisville, Kentucky’s finest barbecue is in New Albany, Indiana. That is, if we can classify the offerings at Feast BBQ as such. Purists might object to Chef Ryan Rogers’ approach to the science of smoke. With his talk of salinity points and cutting edge electronics, the founder of this New Albany barbecue joint may as well be wearing a lab coat. Trained at the French Culinary Institute, Rogers has a fondness for kitchen gadgets and relishes the chance to fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Take, for instance, the way he eschews the normally coveted “smoke ring” found in classic, slow-and-low barbecue. Despite making for an appealing presentation, Rogers says the much-ballyhooed pink circle of nitrosyl hemochrome tends to occur in drier meat, creating a dish that is, well, dry. Instead, Rogers employs modern, unconventional means in his quest for consistently cooked, drippingly moist meats that he and his team at Feast brine for days. This tender, juicy product finds its way into a pleasing array of packaging, from tacos with pickled onions, cabbage and Cotija cheese (starting at $3.50), to sliders ($5 and up). Half or full pound sandwiches ($6.50 to $10.50) are also available. These and other plates can be rounded out with an assortment of crafty, not overly fussy sides and sweets that hint at the Chef ’s culinary school background and stint in one legendary New York kitchen. Rogers’ preference for computerized smokers may leave some traditionalists looking askance. But the narcotic effect brought on by Feast’s buttery brioche, vinegar slaw and a brisket that spends seven days in the making will have most turning a blind eye to all the heresy here — like the kitchen’s partiality for thermal immersion circulators and the presence of tofu in what is otherwise a shrine to animal protein.
46 Spring 2013 www.foodanddine.com
(above) Chef/Owner Ryan Rogers (masked), and GM Chip Hartley. (right) Half rack of baby back ribs.
Feb - Mar - Apr 2013