September 3, 2018 | BITE: My Journal
Pigging Out on Grease and Salt at Morgans Brooklyn Barbecue
The chips disappear as I devour the spicy, smoked mozzarella queso with pcio de gallo.
Here’s how I came to be sipping bourbon on a rock and slicing into a chunk of rare and meaty smoked barbecued steak in a swarming Brooklyn joint. I rarely go to Brooklyn unless someone asks and picks me up. Tonight I got abducted and delivered to Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue by my dining buddies, Penny and Peter Glazier, who recently took over the place.
Morgan’s carnivorean fans fill the patio on a tropically torrid Brooklyn evening.
Morgan’s outdoor dining extends down St. Marks Avenue just blocks from Barclay’s Center.
Outside, the patio is crowded with youngish carnivores. Inside we are greeted by the Glaziers’ partner, scion Matthew, who’s bussing and fussing. In no time our bare wooden table is covered with what I’m assuming is Texas-inspired grub – smoked wings drizzled with buffalo sauce and irresistible Fritos pie smothered with chili, onions, cheddar and sour cream.
Texas red chile is made with cubed beef, cheddar, onions, sour cream and hot chili peppers.
What’ll we have? Everything, and chips to dip up smoked queso while we wait. I break off a chunk of cornbread and dip my spoon into the Texas Red Chili, capturing beef chunks, more cheddar and sour cream. No beans in this Texas chili, of course. My Detroit mom’s chili didn’t have beans either.
Frito pie is loaded with cheddar, onions, sour cream and a burst of chili heat.
I’ve been high and low with the Glaziers. We’ve hit Popeyes, New Jersey, and The Grill at the Seagram Building. When I took friends to Michael Jordan’s The Steak House, in their corner of Grand Central, I reserved anonymously. Summoned by the manager, they showed up soon enough to be sure we ordered the hash browns. It’s confusing to be friends with restaurateurs.
Some of the waiters wear bright pink T-shirts attesting to their fondness for pig butt.
Of course, I know a serious critic would not succumb to this seduction. When I heard the Glaziers had taken over an outer borough destination, I tried to get chums with a car to make the Brooklyn detour but then, sue me, confession, I not only joined them in the their commute, I let them pay for the pigout.
We’re sharing a pound order order of Morgan’s smoky and tender pork ribs.
I’ll admit that I’m not an ardent fan of smoked meat, which is the point here. I could skip the brisket in favor of pork belly and ribs. But I’d come back just for the chili, the Fritos pie and the marvelous strip steak.
If I can only have one meat, let it be the smoked prime strip steak and let it be rare.
I’d get the cole slaw, for its straightforward elegance, not too sweet, not too vinegary. I like to feel I had something healthy. The French fries are also excellent. Amazing to note chef Cenobio Canalizo’s kitchen can produce textbook fries along with everything else even when he’s off for the night.If I’d noticed the fully loaded baked potato on the menu under “Traditional Sides” I would have demanded it.
That’s Jamaican jerk Mac with grilled pineapple on the left and classic Old School Mac alongside.
But I’m discombobulated by macaroni and cheese in seven different guises. I manage to reign in my lust to choose two. The Old School Mac with cheddar and breadcrumbs was close to classic. The Jamaican Jerk Mac with scotch-bonnet marinated chicken, grilled pineapple and toasted coconut sounded interesting. Too interesting, actually.
The kitchen sends out three-hours smoked chicken with some last minute char. I’ll take leftovers home.
The Glazier team plans to consider pruning the menu after the summer. Till then, smoked meats – brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, pork belly and turkey – are available by the half pound or the pound to eat in or go. Smoked chicken comes whole, $25, or half, $14. Warning to unbridled appetites: “Ginormous beef rib, 8 hours smoked, served on the bone has limited availability after 5 pm.”
I’m not a big bourbon fan but I can’t resist Morgan’s impressive roster. I’ll have Benchmark on a rock.
Meanwhile, there are boutique beers and 48 bourbons, priced from $8 to $15, on the list next to our table. The first sip of my Benchmark blend has a pow that makes me blink. I like getting a little high on serious booze. After that I pretend I am Elizabeth Taylor in Giant.
Taste the house’s shareable berry pie? Don’t mind if I do.
Our posse isn’t having any tacos or catfish sliders or kale salad, or any salad for that matter – would you come all the way to Brooklyn for a wedge or a cobb? I don’t notice that anyone’s fork ever came near the collards.
Penny Glazier pays tribute to the woman who turns out the pastry in the kitchen below.
Dessert would be out of the question after such uninhibited excess, but Penny had already ordered two small pies, berry and pecan. “All our desserts are meant to be shared,” she notes with a tribute to “the woman below who bakes them.” The pecan is fine but I especially like the berry, juicy and not too sweet. I considered taking the pastry leftovers home for breakfast and then reconsider. I take a chicken leg and a thigh instead. Who knows how soon I’ll be back in Brooklyn again?
267 Flatbush Avenue on the corner of Saint Marks Avenue. Brooklyn. 718 622 224. Monday through Thursday 11:30 am to noon. Friday 11:30 to 1 am. Saturday brunch 11 am to 4 pm, regular menu to 1 am. Sunday brunch 11 am to 4 pm, regular menu till midnight. Open late after Barclays Center Events.
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