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Phantom Gourmet Hidden Jewel: SlowBones Modern BBQ In Burlington

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BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who knows anything about barbecue knows that the key to making great barbecue is to cook it low and slow. And while low and slow usually doesn’t equate to getting your food fast, that’s all changing at SlowBones.

Brand new to Burlington, SlowBones Modern BBQ is a fast casual spot where the barbecue is the real deal.

From impossibly juicy brisket and tender St. Louis Ribs, to piled-high pulled pork and succulent smoked chicken.

“People love barbecue,” said founder Kip Kolow. “Barbecue is one of the oldest types of cooking known to man. Cooking with wood, fire, going back to basics.”

Kolow knows all about what people love to eat. He was a co-founder of the original Boston Chicken and now he’s hoping for similar success at SlowBones.

“These days it seems like everyone is trying to go vegetarian restaurant or go healthy, and the reality is people crave what they’re used to.”

And that’s exactly what they’ll get at SlowBones, with meats that are smoked for hours, sauces all made in house, and all kinds of sides – made from scratch.

“The best part of what we’re doing is we’re taking foods that take so long to cook, and so long to cook well, and we’re offering it up really quick at a reasonable price,” said Kolow.

Walk into SlowBones and right away you can see that this isn’t your typical down and dirty barbecue joint. It’s bright, modern, and comfortable. As you step up to the counter, there’s one important element of real-deal barbecue on full display: a wood-fired Southern Pride smoker.

“First thing you see is a big ass smoker, right in your face,” Kolow said. “These types of meats, when you cook them really slowly, they become really tender and they maintain their moisture. Cooking them in a carousel type smoker allows them to baste. They’re slowly cooking and they’re basting, so that they’re getting caramelized and the outsides are getting absolutely delicious.”

Of everything coming out of the smoker, nothing beats the hand carved, Texas-Style, Black Angus Brisket, best described by Kolow himself. “I personally think brisket is the sexiest meat of all. It takes so long to cook; the outside of it gets this big thick crust of yumminess. And by the time you cut it -you can see right as you cut it that the juices are just falling out of it, that have been encapsulated the whole time.”

For Ribs, SlowBones uses a lean St. Louis cut which are dry rubbed and smoked until tender, then finished on the grill.

“When you finish them on the grill, especially when it flames up, it caramelizes the sugars in the sauce on the outside of the rib, so you have different layers of textures when you’re eating it,” said Kolow. “You have the outside that has a slight crust to it, and then when you bite in, you’re getting a tender rib that just melts in your mouth.”

Considering Kip’s history with Boston Chicken, it might be wise to try the Chicken at SlowBones too, because the brined and slow-smoked beauties always exceed expectations.

“People are surprised. People come in here and notoriously when they go to barbecue places, the chicken is not usually the most popular thing. People are coming here not knowing anything about my background, and they’re going ‘oh my god, this chicken is unbelievable.’ Because it’s really tender, and really caramelized, and has flavor right to the bone.”

Out of everything on the menu, nothing is more popular than the Pulled Pork Sandwich. And instead of a plain old roll, it’s piled up on sweet brioche.

“The pulled pork is just delicious. We have a brioche that’s made for us that’s a little sweeter than a typical brioche; so the combination of the flavors in our sauces and the flavor in the pork, it pops when you take a bite.”

Since SlowBones is taking a modern approach to barbecue, they also serve some sandwiches and sauces that you’d never see at a standard smokehouse, like Kip’s favorite with sliced brisket, pickles and horseradish cream, on warm naan bread.

“So we take the naan bread and we put it on the grill for a minute so you have that slight grilled flavor from the grill, and then when you put our meat on it; it’s unbelievable.”

To round out any good barbecue platter, you need to have some solid sides, and SlowBones has plenty to choose from.

Like moist cornbread studded with sweet kernels…

Buttery mashed potatoes

Smokey barbecue beans

Housemade potato chips

Whipped sweet potatoes with a crumbled pecan crust…

And of course, outrageously good mac and cheese, made with a cavatappi pasta, a four cheese blend, and a crisp panko crumb topping.

“So you’ve got some smokiness from one of the cheeses, and then you’ve got this butter infused panko crust on the top which gives it really delicious texture and a warm overtone as you eat it,” Kolow describes.

What sets SlowBones apart is that they also offer all kinds of healthier sides too, from crisp cucumber salad, and tender black beans to grilled vegetables, and maple smacked quinoa. So whether you want to pig out, or keep it light, the choice is yours.

“We kind of built our menu in a way so that people feel comfortable feeding their families. Usually you go to a barbecue place and it’s the type of thing you can eat once every so often. Here at SlowBones, you can make choices that honor the way that you want to eat.

“We’re pretty transparent; you can see everything that’s going on. There’s sauté pans being used; the smoker is being used, and at the same time, the people move through the line quickly; the price point is reasonable; it’s not a killer on the wallet. So we’re offering foods that are house-made, quickly, at a reasonable price.”

You can fine SlowBones at 80 Mall Road in Burlington, or online at slowbonesbbq.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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