New York Times acclaimed barbecue restaurant, Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, opened its doors today in Mega Fashion Hall, bringing to Manila, the rich, dark flavors of New York-style classic slow-smoked barbecue.
“My mission was to make make “slow-smoked (barbecue) goodness served quickly,” says Hugh Mangum, Mighty Quinn’s owner, founder and resident barbecue pitmaster, who came to Manila just for the opening.
Mangum earlier in life had been a musician, before turning to culinary schools, working in various hallowed restaurant kitchens (think Jean-Georges Vongerichten) and finding his calling, in the slow, careful process of dry-rubbing, marinading and smoke-roasting meat for 18-20 hours.
Then one day in late 2013, he decided to gamble the last week’s paycheck on a stall in Brooklyn’s famed Smorgasburg food market. Drawing on his dad’s old Texan barbecue recipes, and the experience of grilling when he could, where he could—“I used to do it on my driveway,” he quipped—Mangum had brought his brisket and ribs to the Smorgasburg Market. He sold everything in 90 minutes.
It’s easy to see why. Just like in New York and the restaurant’s six other branches in the US, a compact menu greets those who queue, canteen-style to get their order. There are only four main items to choose from: pulled pork, pork spare ribs, beef brisket, and their signature Brontosaurus rib, which is a massive cut of beef short rib).
Even the “burnt sides”—the crispy meaty bits with the most intense amounts of flavor—are offered. Sliced before you and laid attractively on dark kraft paper and sprinkled with coarse Maldon salt, the meat evokes rich contrasts of flavor in the merging of sweet, salty, sour, and mildly spicy notes.
Except for the addition of dirty rice, which is mildly cuminy and flavored with calamnsi, which Mangum discovered upon visiting the Philippines, the menu is identical to what’s offered in Mighty Quinn’s six branches around the US.
The other side dishes that accompany the meat continue the interesting interplay of flavors, such as broccoli and bacon, spiced pumpkin squash, and slow-cooked beans with bits of pork.
But it is the slow-smoking process which is at the core of the meat’s preparation, that spells the difference. No meat is ever boiled, and real barbecue ribs aren’t supposed to fall off the bone, Mangum says. “It should have a snap,” he says. “And please, please, eat it with your hands!”
A pro-tip: those coming specifically for the huge cuts of beef short rib should come earlier in the day to make sure they get some, as it is made in limited quantities.
Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue, 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
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