Water of Life – Whisky and Meat
Now, whisky and food make for an interesting combination.
Interesting in that it has to be calibrated extremely well, specifically when it comes to pairing meat and whisky as the intense flavours of one can easily overpower the other.
Enter Smoky Sue’s.
Given that with their idiosyncratic approach to BBQing, i.e. pioneering the melange of slowly curing, cooking and barbecuing meats with a consistency that is achieved by employing the sous vide technique, which has not only been refined in the French cuisine but is a reliable technique employed by professional chefs.
While traditional BBQing demands surgical skill when it comes to taking the meat away from the heat at just the right time to avoid it being from either being over- or undercooked, the sous vide way is based on cooking with water, instead of an oven or a pan, so that the temperature can be raised precisely to hit the sweet spot every time to enjoy a perfectly prepared steak or pork chop.
Smoky Sue’s, the name being a clever pun on the sous vide food technique, and its meaty emissions are a class of its own on any given day, but things are taking a step further with their curated whisky and food events.
Now, we are all aware of omnipresent mainstream whisky infused marinades and BBQ sauces. The initiated might even familiar with smoking techniques fired on by whiskey barrel chips, but the pairing of barbecue dishes or more generally ones cooked on the grill with the tasting of whisky in purity is an art that takes expertise and consolidation to be mastered.
Teaming up with the man behind Gentleman’s Cabinet, man about town, liquor connoisseur and conferencier par excellence, Peter Stevens, Smoky Sue’s Whisky and Meat pairings exceed the confines of what is commonly held in high esteem when it comes to the combination of whisky and the DNA of what makes American Barbecue.
No matter if it is an austere robustly woody and spicy Tennessee whisky, characterized by an additional phase of filtration of maple coal before the passage in cask, countering with its sour acidity Smoky Sue’s dishes where caramelized fat plays an important role, such as Pork based meats, or Scotches, where oak and / or sherry barrel aged barley malts reign supreme, paired with Smoky Sue’s beef, which amplifies the characteristic flavours, or combining a rich yet soft and fruity Irish drop, whose sapidity on the finish makes it an ideal partner to the Smoky Sue’s desert pies; the tag team of Smoky Sue’s and Whiskey Pete have got you covered.
The fact that the ambience of Smoky Sue’s is enriched with subtle allusions and clever designs, think homages to Dr Dre “Smoke meat every day”, along with an overall lack of pretension and an ever growing quality offering of not only craft beers but a well-stocked liquor cabinet, makes it the perfect place to enjoy a barbeque with all its accoutrements.
There was a moment when something magical happened as the relationship between one of Peter Stevens’s specifically chosen drops and Smoky Sue’s brisket birthed a completely new flavour and brought out a smoky and oaky character that was fantastic and whose total brought more than the sum of the individual components with wildly flavourful, nuanced and layered flavours popping out, juxtaposing the mellowness of the meat with the melange that is encapsulated in a dram of Allt-a-Bhainne, i.e. fruity flavours of Speyside with soft peated Islay notes wafting throughout.
photos by @k.a.vv