In 2014, I wrote a story for the Vice website Munchies titled “Why is Brooklyn BBQ taking over the world?” It was about how a pretty reliable BBQ restaurant in Brooklyn, New York named Fette Sau was the source of influence for a string of BBQ restaurants that I had encountered around the world, from Barcelona to Bogota to Panama. Everything from the very NY aesthetic – Edison bulbs, subway tiles, knife handle beer taps, etc – to the style of the food was straight out of Brooklyn rather than somewhere with storied regional BBQ traditions like Texas. I wasn’t insinuating anything other that this was weird. I was just reporting what I saw. I even went to Fette Sau and took a beautiful photo of their bar area to show the aesthetic. Some one social media took it that I was trying to say the Brooklyn style BBQ, which wasn’t really even a thing, was superior to any other style of BBQ in the world. For the most part though, no one really took notice of the story.
In 2018, Munchies shared the story on Twitter, but this time with an image attached of my sad lunch plate that was supposed to be used more as a comp for the other BBQ restaurants. It went viral. The tweet was commented on ten thousand times. I received death threats DMs on Facebook. There were reports about it in the Washington Post, USA Today, Buzz Feed, and dozens of other publications. I can’t even count how many morning news shows from around the United States and the world contacted me for an interview. Texas Senator Ted Cruz even mocked it. There were hilarious memes of people recreating Brooklyn BBQ with crayfish or things like Oklahoma sushi with Goldfish crackers. Here’s a link to an interview I did with Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ editor at Texas Monthly – yes, they have a full time BBQ editor – that probably explains it best. Strange side note: In 2021, Vaughn and his family went to Peru right when the Covid lockdown happened and because of this Brooklyn BBQ story, I was able to use my connections to evacuate to Texas so he could help save Texas BBQ when it needed his help the most.
The image below of my lunch is by far the most infamous image in the world of BBQ. Now it is the first major food world NFT. You can own a piece of BBQ history and be reminded every day of your own BBQ superiority.