BBQ Restaurant Reviews
BOS BBQ Brazil From A Floridian’s Perspective
I love to share the BBQ Experiences of others, and this blog often gives me a chance to do just that. Recently, while judging the 2nd Annual Eagle Lake BBQ Festival, I had the good pleasure of finally meeting Mr. Neil Buchwalter who shared with me his story about traveling to Brazil and eating at the BOS BBQ Restaurant in São Paulo, Brazil that Rob “Rub” Bagby helped to set up and configure Southern BBQ Style.
Here’s Neil’s story, republished here by his permission:
Bos BBQ São Paulo, Brazil – A Southern Sojourn
I have one of those jobs that affords me the opportunity to travel – not just to visit local customer sites, but to places that people sometimes dream of. Throughout my career I’ve traveled all over North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific – and back again many times, and from Texas to six of the Canadian provinces.
I’ve been to three different continents as well. Not bad for someone that really doesn’t like to travel! I’ve even had the chance to travel to 2 additional continents but “politely” refused, allowing others to visit Hyderabad India (during their hot summer) and Johannesburg South Africa. Unfortunately, that dream trip to Hawaii still eludes me!
Most recently, I had the opportunity to visit Brazil. Customers in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo wanted to meet and interact with someone from the “home” office. Someone whose name they recognized (I’ve been associated with the CA ERwin Data Modeling products since 1995), has walked that proverbial mile in their shoes, can appreciate their perspective and then go make a difference. No matter how I might have wanted to ask someone else to go, this was just one trip I was going to make – and what a wonderful trip it was!
Despite my lack of language skills (some people tell me I have a hard time putting two sentences together to form a single coherent thought), most of the professionals I met in Brazil spoke very good English. Rather than having to rely on translators (a fear of mine before the trip) I was able to engage in very detailed and in-depth technical discussions. Many good ideas were exchanged and suggestions for future product improvements were brought back to the States.
Most people would consider this trip a success, but to my surprise, things were about to take an unexpected turn.
Brazilians Love Food… Especially Grills and BBQ’d Meats
Brazilians love food.Now that’s not a big shock, as most cultures do as well. However, to my surprise, Brazilians love barbecue and BBQ is a passion of mine.
I quickly discovered that Brazilian barbecue is not what I’m accustomed to.
BBQ to me is cooking “low and slow” over indirect heat with lots of smoke. This type of BBQ is commonly referred to as Southern style BBQ or just plain “Smoking”. Brazilian barbecue is what I generally refer to as “Grilling” although the official term in Brazil is “Churrasco”.
Traditional Style Table Service at a Churrascaria
In Brazil, they generally grill over charcoal, but sometimes (mostly in southern Brazil) wood is also used. If you look in any major city I’m sure you’ll find a churrascaria or a restaurant that serves Brazilian style grilled meat: beef, lamb, pork, sausage, chicken, fish and more. I definitely would not recommend this type of restaurant to a vegetarian.
My first official customer event in Rio de Janeiro was held at Fogo de Chão; a Brazilian churrascaria chain with locations across Brazil and in about 20 US cities. I thought that customers had come to hear what I had to say, but that may have been a bit of wishful thinking. I finished my presentation and it was time for lunch! If you’ve never been, let me be the first to tell you that having a meal at a churrascaria is an event.
Servers bring meat non-stop to your table and slice it to order.
When you’ve eaten enough, you place a “STOP” card near your plate and the server will move on without stopping. Being a BBQ fanatic, I skipped the bread and salad bar, ignored the vegetables that were brought to the table and concentrated on the meat extravaganza.
Now before I go any further, I want to say that I am a Certified FBA (Florida BBQ Association) and KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) BBQ Judge. Judges learn that when judging a BBQ competition it is possible to eat two pounds of meat or more. Well, the same holds true when eating at a Brazilian churrascaria if you’re not careful. Every bite of meat I had was tasty, cooked to perfection and left me wanting more!
Eating at a churrascaria naturally led me to discuss my favorite style of BBQ with my hosts and just about anyone else that would listen. Luckily, I had my iPhone with me so I was able to show everyone pictures from several competitions/events as well as more than 150 pictures of meats and other items (e.g., ABTs) I personally have smoked at home.
I found out that smoking meat is almost unheard of in Brazil. Most people I spoke with were amazed at the level of passion around BBQ here in the US. Some of the questions I heard repeatedly were: “Do you really have BBQ contests?”, “Why do teams compete?”, “How do you judge BBQ?” and “Does everyone in the US eat BBQ?”
The people I spoke with were stunned when I told them that smoking meats was not just something we did in the US, but represented a lifestyle that could be found worldwide. The more I talked with my hosts, sponsors and customers about BBQ the more their passion for churrasco became apparent. I must have eaten at least one half of all my meals at one churrascaria or another.
Finally, My Chance To Eat At BOS BBQ Had Come
My final night in Brazil was spent in São Paulo. While discussing dinner plans with my Brazilian colleagues, I recall reading on one of the BBQ sites I regularly visit that Rob Bagby of team “Swamp Boys” out of Winter Haven, FL had consulted with the owner of the BOS BBQ restaurant to bring authentic US barbecue to Brazil.
A quick internet search turned up the name of the restaurant and its location in São Paulo. My dinner plans were now written in stone!
Several of us arrived at BOS BBQ around 7:00 pm. As soon as our waitress came over to our table to take our drink orders, one of my colleagues proudly stated that I was from the US, was a certified BBQ judge and that I also knew Rob.
A few minutes later the owner of BOS BBQ, Blake Watkins, was standing at our table wanting to know more about me and how I knew Rob. (BTW, Blake is originally from Texas and was the first and only American I met during my week-long trip.)
Out came my iPhone with pictures of my judge’s credentials and a short discussion about living in Florida and judging many of the FBA competitions that Swamp Boys compete in, convinced Blake I was legit.
Tweaking BOS BBQ’s Flavor to Match the Brazilian Palate
As my colleagues had never eaten American style BBQ before, I asked Blake to “fix us up” with a sampling of his restaurant’s different offerings. We were tempted with meat after meat and with several side dishes (mac ‘n cheese, Brazilian style barbecue beans and cream corn). The food was not quite what I was accustomed to back home and Blake explained that based on the taste testing performed at the restaurant, he found it necessary to “tweak” the recipes to better appeal to a Brazilian palate.
Tweaking produced a “fusion” of American and Brazilian flavors which tasted quite good. I really loved the lamb spareribs, the homemade smoked sausage (made with rib meats) and unique BBQ sauces that were offered.
BOS BBQ Chef’s Sampler – Photo Courtesy of Neil Buchwalter
Every single person at my table (all São Paulo locals) stated that they enjoyed the atmosphere at BOS BBQ, the live music and especially the food – and would return again with others. When we finally got up to leave the restaurant it was about 10:45 pm and the place was standing room only; not bad for a Thursday night.
If you’re ever in São Paulo, make sure you stop by BOS BBQ for a meal – you won’t be disappointed!
Two days later I was judging at “VikingFest” in Ft. Myers FL (an FBA sanctioned event). It was a good event – nice weather, about 30 BBQ teams, lots of crafts, music and even a silent auction.
After my judging duties were finished, I stopped by the Swamp Boys trailer to chat with Rob (the soon to be announced VikingFest Grand Champion). I told him that I had just returned from visiting the restaurant that he helped get started in Brazil. A big smile came over his face as we talked about my BBQ adventure down south. Before parting ways, Rob suggested that it would really be “something else” if we could have some US teams visit São Paulo for an authentic BBQ competition. Wow, what a thought. I’d definitely sign up to judge that one!
Original source here.
For more on BOS BBQ Brazil, check out this interview with owner Blake Watkins
Slows BBQ is A Mecca of Good BBQ
So I ‘ve been reading up a good bit about famous BBQ joints around the country and Slows BBQ keeps popping up as a conistent favorite. Now, being a Florida Boy and never being anywhere near Detroit except for when we went around the city on the way up to Canada a few years back, I didn’t know much about Slows BBQ or its history.
So, I did some digging and here is what I found out…
Slows BBQ From Around the Web
Steve Siciliano of Siciliano’s Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan wrote a great piece on Slows BBQ for his shop’s blog. You can tell from the introduction of the part I put in this post that Steve is a funny dude as well as a lover of great BBQ.
Check out Steve’s article on Slows BBQ…
It has always been my opinion that an urban brew pub can be located in one of the seedier sections of a city and still be successful. Unless there exists a real and persistent danger of being mugged or coming back to a parked vehicle that has been stripped of its tires, and if the pub is consistently producing quality products, people will come. Slow’s Bar-B-Q, located in a section of Detroit that has been hit especially hard by urban blight, is concrete proof that the same can be true for restaurants.
Image by farlane via Flickr
Image by ifmuth via Flickr
Slows occupies a renovated corner building on Michigan Avenue about five blocks west of the massive vacant lot that once was the site of Tiger Stadium. Situated in the Corktown Neighborhood, the restaurant is within sight of the old Michigan Central train station, also massive, also vacant, but also slated for renovation by community minded entrepreneurs looking to revitalize this long decaying section of the city. During a recent weekend visit to Detroit, Barb and I along with friends Pat and Marcie MacAuley took the ten minute cab ride to Slow’s from the Motor City Hotel on a blistering hot Saturday morning.
Slow’s has garnered national attention since it opened in 2005 and despite our arrival at the restaurant twenty minutes before its eleven a.m. opening, folks were already queued up outside on the sidewalk.
When the doors opened we were seated at one of the sixteen inside tables (there is also patio seating which, because of the heat, we decided against). Our waitress quickly appeared and we each ordered a craft beer from among the twenty draught offerings listed on a chalkboard. There is also an extensive bottle list and a shorter but well thought out selection of wine by the bottle or glass.
While we sipped the beer we perused the menu which offers appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, sides and desserts.
We ordered two of the appetizers—the tempura fried catfish and the smoked barbecued wings—and also decided to share a side of macaroni and cheese with our sandwiches, “The Reason” (smoked, pulled pork butt topped with cole slaw and dill pickle slices) for Barb, Marcie and myself and “The Triple Threat Pork” (apple wood bacon, pulled pork and ham) for Pat. Slow’s serves its sandwiches on poppy seed Kaiser rolls or Texas Toast. The appetizers were good, the sandwiches even better, and the macaroni and cheese was a decadent, artery clogging treat.
Slow’s reputation as one of the best places in Michigan to get authentic Southern barbecue is well-deserved. The extensive craft beer offerings are added incentives to return to this restaurant that is helping breathe new life into an historic Detroit neighborhood….
See Steve’s awesome food photos from Slows BBQ The Tuesday Review: Slow’s BBQ – The Buzz: Siciliano’s Market …
And Then There’s Slows BBQ Yardbird Sandwich Getting a Nod From Adam Richman….
Oh yeah, check it out…
Travel Channel’s Adam Richman and the Yardbird sandwich from Slows BBQ. (Getty Images)
Detroit’s own Slows BBQ restaurant made a mouth-watering entry onto the Travel Channel’s “Best Sandwich in America,” but didn’t take the title.
This summer, host Adam Richman had sought the best sandwich from all over the country. The winner from 12 finalists was announced during Wednesday night’s episode.
Slows initially was the winner of the Great Lakes region with Yardbird, which boasts a chicken breast, mushrooms, cheddarcheese, apple wood bacon, mustard sauce and a poppy seed bun.
Richman early on dubbed the sandwich “the mighty Motown” selection and said it “is, was and always will be” one of his favorites for providing “an incredible balance.”
The Yardbird made the final three — fresh versions of which Richman chowed on thanks to representatives of the sandwich shops on hand — while fans back home cheered them on.
Hey, 2nd place ain’t bad, folks. Not sure about you but that photo of the Yardbird looks GOOOOOOD. The winner was DiNic’s Roast Pork of Philadelphia. You can read the full entry at Slows misses out on ‘Best Sandwich’ – The Detroit News
The Detroit Free Press also chimed in on the Slows BBQ Yardbird finish….
Although Slows didn’t win, Richman showed plenty of love for the Yardbird, which is made with smoked chicken breast topped with mustard sauce, mushrooms and cheddar cheese and piled high with crispy bacon.
“The Yardbird is, was and will always be one of my favorite sandwiches and favorite food items across this great country,” Richman said during the final moments of the competition to Slows executive chef and co-owner Brian Perrone. Perrone, 39, told the Free Press on Wednesday that he flew out to New York City to tape the final round in June.
“It’s a gigantic honor,” Perrone said. “Just to be involved in a show like this is great. To be ranked as one of the top 30 sandwiches in the country and to be featured on the show was awesome, but then (making it) into the top three is really incredible.”…More at Slows’ Yardbird misses top spot, ‘Best Sandwich’ honor goes to Philly – Detroit Free Press
I’d say it’s an honor! I know the guys from Team Unknown are in the running for Adam Richman’s World Food Championships in the BBQ Category. Man, how crazy would that be if they took home the big prize for that one?
Finally, Here are Some Tweets Testifying to Slows BBQ and Their Tasty Goodness
Slows BBQ puts Bad Brad’s BBQ to shame.
— TonyOlsen (Tony Olsen) (@TonyOlsen) Sun Aug 19 2012
— LisaGrasel (Lisa Grasel) (@LisaGrasel) Sat Aug 18 2012
Best part about working in Detroit is to grab Slows BBQ for lunch.
— TonyJonuzi90 (Tony Jonuzi) (@TonyJonuzi90) Fri Aug 17 2012
At Detroit’s famous Slows BBQ for 1st time trying out this Yardbird sandwich and mac & chees @ Slows Bar BQ http://t.co/JN36TMqQ
— evancgreen (Evan Green) (@evancgreen) Thu Aug 16 2012
@MHOWARDZONE gonna be in Detroit this weekend. I do believe a Slows BBQ Yardbird is in order
— hairmetalhenry (Henry S) (@hairmetalhenry) Thu Aug 16 2012
— MarWillyBakker (Marshall Bakker) (@MarWillyBakker) Thu Aug 16 2012
— MsCigarChic (MsCigarChic) (@MsCigarChic) Wed Aug 15 2012
— Leshiaa__ (Mrs. TIKI) (@Leshiaa__) Mon Aug 13 2012
Have You Tried the Food at Slows BBQ?
If so, comment below and let us know what you thought! Your words here below in the comments or Facebook area are most welcome!