The Place: The Burning Oak Slow & Low Wood Smoked BBQ. Open just over a year, this relative newcomer to the Broward barbecue scene is fast casual with an open kitchen in which employees hack up slabs of meat on wood boards near a massive Ole Hickory wood burning smoker. Made in Missouri, the smoker is so heavy it took eight men to roll it in, breaking floor tiles. It holds up to 450 pounds of meat. Splits of hickory and oak are fed into a furnace at one end, and once the doors are closed the smoke is trapped inside where tiers of racks hold dry rub-seasoned cuts of meat, turkey legs and whole and quartered chickens. The space is modern and simple with charts of butcher cuts on black silhouettes of a cow, pig and chicken on one wall, corrugated tin trim and oak tables. Blues and country music are on the soundtrack
The History: Owner Craig Young has turned his hobby into a business. He always enjoyed barbecuing, experimenting with rubs and sauces. From Plantation, he went to the University of Central Florida near Orlando, where he studied business and started working in restaurants, working every station including line cook. He traveled around Texas and the Carolinas checking out barbecue styles and tasting ’cue and then got his start with a food truck with a smoker, taking it around South Florida and catering events. When he opened Burning Oak, he hired Damaris Davis, a former traveling DJ from Denver, and trained him to use the big smoker. He is now head smoker with a team of five others who rotate shifts.
The Food: Meats and poultry are slow smoked at low temperatures between 215 and 225, taking hours to get tender and smoky. The hickory and oak come from Georgia, shipped in pallets by a company what sources wood from northern states when land is being cleared. Start with fried green tomato slices with Cajun mayo or smoked wings with sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. Sandwiches come on Texas toast or a Kaiser roll and include smoked turkey; mojo-infused pulled pork with coleslaw and mild pulled jerk chicken with Caribbean BBQ sauce. Plates are served with two sides and cornbread and include dry-rubbed St. Louis ribs; a combo meal with smoked chicken, pork and brisket; Texas-style brisket; a caveman-size turkey leg; meat stuffed baked potato (choice of pork, chicken or brisket) with sour cream, scallions and cheddar; and jerk chicken. There’s a house salad with mixed greens, pickled green tomato and cornbread croutons. Sides to order are candied bacon (rubbed in spices and brown sugar and smoked) also served as dessert; sweet potato fries with cinnamon; braised collards and mac ‘n’ cheese. End with peanut butter fudge pie and happy holiday!.
You Didn’t Know This: No one is really sure where the term barbecue originated. The conventional wisdom is that the Spanish, upon landing in the Caribbean, used the word barbacoa to refer to the natives’ method of slow-cooking meat over fire on a wood platform.
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