It can be tricky to find great BBQ in South Jersey. There are a handful of spots that do a respectable job, but in truth much of what passes for BBQ in our neck of the woods would be laughed at by folks from real BBQ strongholds like North Carolina, Memphis and Kansas City. And, of course, anyone who knows their barbecue can be really picky about what is authentic and what isn’t.
But if there is one chef we think will be able to pull off some great Jersey-based barbecue, it’s Charles Soreth. Soreth is best known as the man behind the awesome gastropub menu at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, and with their new smoker fired up, he will attempt to silence any and all doubts when he brings “Taste of Chucktown” - a pop-up version of his upcoming Orange Loop BBQ restaurant concept, Chucktown BBQ - to the Beer Hall all day starting at noon Saturday, Jan. 23.
“It’s going to be done the right way, using classic techniques,” Soreth says. “As far as the flavors go, I’m going to put my own spin on it, but I want to try and keep true to the traditions of BBQ. Depending on the region, someone’s always going to be offended, but we’re going to do our best to keep it as close as possible.”
In case the name didn’t clue you in, Chucktown’s BBQ style is going to be mostly based on the kind of smoked meats and sides you might find in South Carolina.
“Chucktown BBQ was inspired by my trip to Charleston,” Soreth says. “Charleston’s nickname is Chucktown. It has been said that BBQ originated in the Carolinas. My barbecue will focus on the flavors of South Carolina, with other regional styles sprinkled in.”
Those styles he sprinkles in will include classic American variants, but Soreth even has plans to put forth some flavors you might not see coming.
“I’m gonna change the menu every week. One week we might base it off of whole hog BBQ. The next week it might be beef. One week we might do a Kansas City style, and maybe once in a while I’ll throw a wrench in there and focus on Korean BBQ,” he says.
No official opening date has been set for the Chucktown BBQ restaurant, which will be located adjacent to the Beer Hall’s outside Beer Yard, but plans are to have it fully operational by summer.
In the meantime, this Saturday’s pop-up will give folks a chance to sample the goods, which will include ribs ($20) with a spicy vinegar mop, pulled pork ($14) with Carolina gold BBQ sauce, smoked kielbasa ($12) with mustard and A Taste of Chucktown, a sampler platter with all three meats, cole slaw and baked beans for $26.
There will even be a desserts including banana pudding ($5) and cornbread trifle ($8).
All items will be in limited supply, and once they run out they are gone. Ordering in advance is recommended, and those who do order in advance can choose to eat their reserved BBQ at the Beer Hall or take it home. Pre-orders can be made at TennAveAC.com.