April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Lamb Bacon Debuts as a New Kosher Culinary Item

Now kosher consumers can bring home the bacon and eat it, too. Ari White, owner of the Westchester-based Wandering Que pop-up barbecue eatery, has created lamb bacon that looks, cooks and largely tastes like the other kind (some of us remember this from our pre-kosher days). Several dozen men and women sampled and learned how to use it at a cooking class White gave earlier this month sponsored by the Sisterhood of Congregation Ahavath Torah, at a private home in Englewood. White developed his lamb bacon, which is smoked and aged for nine months, after a year of experimentation. It is sold exclusively at Teaneck’s Glatt Express.

The cooking class was more a what-to-do than how-to-do-it event. White assembled several dishes and explained what goes into them, while passing around samples for tasting. First up was a skewer of passion fruit-infused compressed melon balls topped with lambcetta, a lamb version of pork pancetta that is only available for White’s catering clients. Created for the upcoming Kosher Food and Wine Expo at Chelsea Piers on February 29, the appetizer was a study in complementary contrasts: sweet and spicy, juicy and crispy. The next appetizer was a date wrapped in lamb bacon and plated with a handful of arugula and a few drops of sriracha sauce on the side. The sweet, chewy texture of the date paired with the crispy “bacon” was a satisfying combination.

White talked about the origins of The Wandering Que while assembling and serving three dishes made with his signature 12-spice rub. He began his career in the cooking world with a 6×16-foot restaurant in Washington Heights called Ari’s Gourmet Kosher Delicatessen that evolved into a company called Got Cholent. After his first child was born, White closed the restaurant and focused on catering, combining Got Cholent with the more upscale Gemstone Catering. Five years later, begged by friends and customers to open another restaurant, White declined as he thought the hours involved would not be compatible with raising his young family, but thought a pop-up restaurant would be more manageable. He saw a void in the kosher world for authentic barbecue and bought a 4700-pound smoker on eBay that took three weeks to kasher. For his first venture, he took over a lot in Riverdale for several days. He served 400 people the first day, 700 the second, 1,100 the third and 1,400 on the fourth day. The event was literally one big tent with biker gangs, black-hatted yeshiva bachurim and everything in between. Now The Wandering Que has a pop-up event almost every week at street fairs, schools and shuls in the tristate area.

Back to spices. The rub can be used on chicken, meat, even fruit—and White made all three for the class. Smoked chicken tacos were topped with mango Pico de Gallo salsa, another sweet-spicy combination that could be paired with meat as well. Pulled brisket, served at the class on mezonot slider rolls with pickled onions, was made from a second-cut brisket covered with spice rub, and cooked for 18 hours until fork tender. Spice-rubbed candied BBQ pineapple rounded out the trio.

Use the All-Purpose Texas BBQ Spice Rub at home to approximate that Wandering Que flavor. If you want the real thing, visit www.gotcholent.com and look for the next pop-up event. Or visit Glatt Express for Wandering Que’s packaged, ready-to-eat pulled brisket.

Wandering Que’s All-Purpose Texas BBQ Spice Rub

1 cup white sugar

2 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. mustard

2 Tbsp. chili flakes

2 Tbsp. paprika

4 Tbsp. coarse black pepper

2 Tbsp. instant coffee

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 Tbsp. onion powder

2 Tbsp. cumin

2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt

Wandering Que’s Mango Pico De Gallo Salsa

3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced

½ mango, diced

½ medium red onion, diced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeño minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

¼ tsp. salt

Ari White suggests serving over brisket or barbecue chicken on soft corn or flour tortillas; great for the Super Bowl!

By Bracha Schwartz

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