Barbecue is Back: Firing Up Tin Rooster Again
Fire up the smoker and get those hand wipes ready: After a long hiatus, barbecue is back at Tin Rooster inside Exit 33.
BBQ returned earlier this month to a packed house of dining guests. The new menu features mouth-watering items such as barbecue ribs, pork shoulder, smoked chicken wings, and more. It is now available on Fridays and Saturdays.
For Chef and Pitmaster John Stotts, barbecue is both a passion and a labor of love—there’s nothing he’d rather be cooking.
“People have been asking about it non-stop,” he said. “I can’t wait to give them what they want.”
The process of bringing back barbecue isn’t something that happened overnight; John has been preparing for the return of smoked meats for the last few months. In designing the new menu, he wanted to emphasize the basics—sandwiches with buttermilk fried chicken and beer-battered haddock, poutine with brisket and smokehouse-stock gravy, and, of course, pulled pork.
All these meats will be cooked slowly on Turning Stone’s J&R smoker, which sits in its own prep area in the Tin Rooster kitchen. John said the smoker is big enough to cook 60 whole racks of ribs at a time, and that he has sourced local hickory, maple, oak, and cherry to fire it.
He added that he will likely smoke between 1,500 to 2,200 pounds of meat every weekend.
“A big focus for me is making sure everything is fresh that day,” he said. “If we run out of ribs, we run out of ribs. That’s a true signature of a barbecue restaurant, and we’re going to bring that here, too.”
John said Tin Rooster also brought back some of its signature sides. Among the fan favorites: lemon pepper coleslaw, barbecue beans, hush puppies, and one-pound baked potatoes loaded with brisket, cheese, and sour cream.
Then, of course, there’s dessert—banana cream pie, pineapple upside-down cake, to name a few.
For John, the key to good barbecue is patience—something he has learned over the course of many different restaurant jobs and, of course, time.
“Barbecue is more about waiting than anything else,” he said. “It’s not easy picking up pieces of meat all day and moving them around to make sure that each one gets heat, but after 10 or 12 hours and lots of good smoke, the flavor is delicious.”