Nina In New York: A Trip To The Brooklyn Brisketlab
A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
By Nina Pajak
Some people have all the bright ideas. I’m constantly in awe of the creativity, inventiveness, and quirky resourcefulness of some of the fine people of my generation.
Of course, the awe is heightened tenfold when those efforts are focused on beef, and enhancing its delivery system to yours truly.
This weekend, I had the privilege of attending a Brisketlab event at the Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg. (I took the L train and everything! It was hot. There were many girls in rompers and too many ironic haircuts to count.)
It took me a little while to grasp the concept of Brisketlab beyond the vastly oversimplified pitch from my friends: “There’s this guy and he does a thing. Come to Brooklyn and eat some brisket.” That was obviously more than enough to get me there.
The longer story is this: A guy, Dan Delaney, drove a giant meat smoker roughly the size of an SUV from Texas to NYC. Friends and meatlovers throughout the city pre-ordered various poundages of brisket back in the spring, with the expectation of cashing in on their meat-share this summer at a series of events which are exclusive to “meat-holders” and their friends. If you are one of the lucky, you can RSVP to a Brisketlab event, let them know how many pounds you’d like to consume at that time, and then show up. According to his website, he pre-sold 2,500 pounds of beef in the first 48-hours. Vegetarians: stand back! We cannot be contained.
My friends purchased a collective twelve pounds, three of which we cashed in on this past Sunday. When we arrived, we were each given a little wooden token worth 1/2 lb of some of the most delicious and tender smoked brisket I’ve ever had.
Dan uses each event to tinker with his methods and recipes to some degree. Since this was my first (though I hope not only) trip to the Brisketlab, I have absolutely no idea how it compares to other preparations. But I will tell you that when our group sat down to eat, conversation went completely silent. With the exception of a non-cow-eating friend who tragically arrived thinking brisket came from a pig, our concentration was impenetrable, each of us silently chewing, eyes glazed, lost somewhere in the beautifully inscrutable depths of a beef-induced euphoria. Beeforia, if you will. It is a unique state which deserves its own fabricated word.
After we finished eating, we drank our wine and beer, listened to the charming live performance of a Baby Soda, an old-timey, jazzy, swingy, generally delightful band featuring a guy on a one string box bass, and joined the crowd in taking so many photos on Instagram, we may have crashed the system. Then I had to go home immediately and take a very long nap. All in a day’s work.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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