Surly constantly innovates and R&Ds new items and processes, and this is not limited to our brewery. The culinary team in the Beer Hall has spent these long, LONG winter months tweaking recipes, adding new menu items, and even traveling to a couple of America’s great food cities to learn, grow, and eat entirely too much food. We talked to Surly Executive Chef Ben Peine about it.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: The term “meat overload” came up more than once when discussing this American BBQ destination. All the landmarks were hit–Arthur Bryant’s (burnt ends), Jack Stack (loaded baked potato), Joe’s KC (literally all the sandwiches), and Q39 (triple threat sandwich). Apparently there’s even a place where you can eat chicken and play pickle ball at the same time.
One thing they didn’t have was a fast-food rib sandwich, but that guilty pleasure was in the back of Peine’s mind when he created the Pigpile, our newest Beer Hall sandwich.
“The sandwiches we ate in Kansas City, especially the Triple Threat at Q39, were basically pork-on-pork-on-pork,” says Peine. “They were amazing, and I wanted to do something like that, while still paying homage to that basic (FAST FOOD CHAIN NAME REDACTED) rib sandwich.”
The Pigpile starts by smoking spare ribs, pulling the meat off the bone, grinding it with pork shoulder and bbq sauce, forming it into an actual, honest-to-Ronald patty, and grilling it on a flattop.
But wait, there’s more.
Served on a milk bun toasted in butter, the Pigpile is dressed with smoked pork shoulder that’s pulled and tossed with Surly’s house Carolina and Sweet & Smoky BBQ sauce, pickles and onion for crunch, and one slice of white American cheese. That, friends, is a damn sandwich.
[Pork comes from 100% Berkshire All-Natural hogs, courtesy Berkwood Farms, Des Moines, IA.]
AUSTIN, TEXAS: “We stood in line for three hours at Franklin BBQ and grabbed food truck tacos at some ungodly hour,” says Peine. “Both experiences were worth it.”
He and Surly VP of Hospitality Dan DiNovis each had favorites on the visit (short list: Franklin BBQ brisket, Salt Lick sausage, Black’s beef rib, breakfast tacos at Papalote and Pueblo Viejo), and they were equally struck by the turkey at la Barbecue.
“Ribs, brisket, and sausage get all the love at BBQ joints, but when turkey makes you turn your head, that’s something else,” says Peine. “We wanted to capture something like that in our place.”
The turkey, new to Surly’s BBQ menu, is brined for two days, then air-dried in the cooler for two more to better absorb the smoke. It’s then seasoned, smoked on oak, rubbed in butter, wrapped in foil to keep it moist, and smoked a little longer. Once ready, it’s sliced thin, dredged in the buttery glory that’s in the pan for a final time, and served. (If you can’t choose between our turkey, brisket, or pork, we do have an “all the meats” option to placate your inner Ron Swanson.)
[Turkey provided by Ferndale Market, Cannon Falls, MN.]
RIGHT HERE: Other items worth your time the next time you’re in Prospect Park:
• Miso roasted squash—after all this meat talk, this sharable vegetarian plate is a nice change of pace and is delicious as all hell. It might also be the first time we’ve had yum yum sauce on the menu.
• Nashville hot chicken sandwich—our beloved chicken sandwich gets a Nashville twist. Warning: this is not Minnesota hot. This is Nashville hot. Tread lightly if ketchup is too spicy for you.
• Chilaquiles (pictured above)—this favorite from past Surly holiday brunches is now on our full-time menu. If you have a chilaquiles person in your life, and you don’t tell them about this, they will be mad at you.
Surly’s Beer Hall kitchen is open seven days a week. Stop in and see the magic that research and cabin fever can deliver. Find our menu at this link.