Slideshow: How the Publican makes barbacoa
At yesterday's Green City Market BBQ, One Off Hospitality (Blackbird, Avec, the Publican, etc) represented with barbacoa. Traditionally, barbacoa—Mexico's answer to barbecue—happens when you rub beef (or another protein) with chilies and spices, throw it into a huge, smoldering barbecue pit in the ground, and let it sit there for half a day. Almost no restaurant makes it like that anymore. But on Wednesday afternoon a group of chefs from Publican Quality Meats led by Erling Wu Bower started digging in the yard of a suburban home in Long Grove. When the pit was ready, they doused it with lighter fluid, lit a flame, waited for the flame to die and then tossed in about 400 pounds of marinated steer. Then they covered the entire thing with cattails, burlap and sheet trays to trap the heat; filled the pit with dirt; and crossed their fingers. It would be fourteen hours later until they knew if it was a success. Which, of course, it was. The shredded beef was served on house-made foccacia and covered in cherry-tomato salsa verde and was, according to one TOC employee who was lucky enough to try one, "the best the BBQ had to offer."