Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 10-15-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 32 of 47

VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION | OCTOBER 15-21, 2020 ENTERTAINMENT 33 pop place" and other places. While the diner usually ends its barbecue season Labor Day weekend, it's extended through to the end of October. Rhonda said with a difficult March and April due to COVID-19, com- ing back was tough. They started by easing into takeout and are now open five days a week, offering both indoor and outdoor dining, and are acquiring four new heaters through the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and the state's Take It Outside cam- paign. At Goodstuff Smokehouse in Blackstone, co-owner David Forgit said, "It started as a hobby. Then I bit off more than I could chew – cooked a whole a pig and it snowballed." Moving from backyard parties, fairs and festivals to a food truck, Forgit and his brother, Kevin Miller, who both have culinary backgrounds, took over the lease in 2017 of their current building, which housed the former Paradise Café. Forgit said barbecue has gained significant popularity locally in recent years. "Everyone says Yankees can't make barbecue," he said, "but we've got hardwood and pigs, and we can cook 'em." Forgit said what makes Goodstuff's barbecue unique is "our two giant pits." Named Cheech and Chong, the smokers use hickory fire. The smokers were custom built, with Forgit bring- ing blueprints to General Welding in Woonsocket to have them made. And the recipes? "We borrow from everywhere, but our techniques are our own. The finished product is definitely our own. And some of the things we cook are not found every- where," Forgit said, mentioning the restaurant's pastrami offering. Forgit said the restaurant had switched to takeout at the beginning of the pandemic, adding that they already did a high amount of take- out before restaurant restrictions hit. Indoor dining opened back up at the beginning of July. Adam Batchelder, owner/execu- tive chef of Smoke & Squeal BBQ in Pawtucket, said that barbecue is definitely a growing trend in the area, thanks in part to TV and streaming services including Netflix, which recent- ly added three spe- cials about smoked barbecue. "If you look back seven to 10 years ago, there was almost nothing for barbecue (here)," he said, compared to down south where barbecue is like Dunkin' Donuts – it's on every corner. In this area there are more barbecue joints opening up all the time, he said, adding, "I think every barbecue place is unique." When Batchelder, who studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University, served in the military, he had the opportunity to travel around the South and West and sample a lot of great barbecue, flavors that he incorporates in Smoke & Squeal, which opened in 2017, he said. "What we try and do is bring differ- ent flavors from different regions," he said. He serves up Texas-style brisket, Kansas City-style ribs, and a Carolina vinegar-based pork. "We try to cherry- pick the best of each region." All of their meats are smoked with whole logs of oak wood with the bark taken off, he noted. Passion makes for the best BBQ, according to Batchelder. "You can't just throw it in the smoker," he said, adding that you have to have the right wood and seasoning and go by the look, feel, and smell of the meat. His favorite dish is their smoked chicken wings, which they smoke for two hours, pop in the fryer for a few seconds and serve with a jalapeño cream sauce. "It's just phenomenal." During the pandemic, Batchelder, who received the 2020 Rhode Island Veteran-owned Small Business of the Year award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, said he never closed; instead he's been running the place with one other employee and noted the location is more suited for takeout than sit down anyway. He's a part-coordinator on the new outdoor beer garden at the Providence pedes- trian bridge along with The Guild and Ocean State Concessions, he added. Mike Strout, owner of GottaQ in Cumberland, said "doing it low and slow" makes the best barbecue. Be patient, know how to control your pit, fire, and temperatures, and use rubs and marinades that you like, he said. "It's a personal thing." At GottaQ, they smoke everything with hickory hardwood, he said. Two items that sell out every time they're on the menu are tri-tip sirloin and St. Louis ribs, Strout said. Strout, a retired firefighter who lived in Florida before moving to Cumberland in 2001, said he learned from a lot of really good teachers about fire management and how to cook low and slow. He launched GottaQ in 2014 and said in the first few years they were one of about six barbecue places within 100 square miles. Then all of a sudden more and more places popped up. "The market is now so crowded," he said. GottaQ has a presence regionally and nationally and has received a number of accolades, including from competitions sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, said Strout, who's on the board of the Northeast BBQ Society. While Strout's business has been affected by the pandemic like every other establishment, he said they're used to doing a big takeout operation with the food trucks. JOHNNY HANAWAY, of Johnny's Victory Diner, working at his smoker. Brothers, from left, KEVIN MILLER and DAVID FORGIT are co-owners of Goodstuff Smokehouse in Blackstone. MIKE and JANICE STROUT, the owners of GottaQ in Cumberland. BATCHELDER BARBECUE From Page 31 Elise Vetri Keller Williams Leading Edge Cell: 401-651-1138 Elise Vetri Realtor WELCOME FALL! Come on down and see what we have to offer at Silver Pines Condominums We have great deals on newly listed inventory! 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