PROVIDENCE, RI – This is a story about what happens when authentic, slow smoked, Texas-style barbecue makes its way north to Providence. All it takes is a good cut of meat, wood, smoke, fire, a little seasoning, and a lot of patience. For some of the juiciest, smokiest, most tender, Texas-style barbecue you can find outside the Lone Star state, you should come and get it at Durk’s.
Durk’s Bar-B-Q on Thayer Street in Providence, Rhode Island might be a couple thousand miles away from Austin, but the ribs, brisket, and pulled pork taste straight from the South, according to Chef de Cuisine and expert pitmaster Brandon Teachout.
“Durk’s is very Texas inspired barbecue. Heavy smoke. We have somebody in at 4:30-5:00 in the morning. Just trying to get as much smoke, good clean white smoke as we can. Something goes in raw, with a little bit of salt and pepper and comes out looking burnt almost. And then you cut into it and it’s just heaven.”
Creating such heavenly barbecue takes time, and the right equipment. At Durk’s, they have an enormous, state of the art smoker they named Stella. It’s a wood-burning Ole Hickory pit, rotating multiple racks of up to 1,200 pounds of meat at a time.
When you come in to eat, you can see and smell the smoker, along with the cutting station. All you have to do is decide what kind of meat you want – from baby back ribs, double smoked sausage, and sweet and sassy pulled pork. Just check off what of you want right on the menu, hand it to your server, and it’s sauced, sliced, and served in half-pound increments along with a slew of downhome sides including mac and cheese, collard greens, creamy potato salad, and fresh-baked cornbread with brown butter and honey.
The star attraction at the Lone Star style joint is the signature slow-smoked beef brisket, whether you get a slab or a sandwich.
“Our brisket is a great product,” Brandon said. “It’s all natural, non GMO. Minimal ingredients. It’s salt, pepper, paprika, and smoke. You have that carbon-esque exterior. In the right light, it’s a nice mahogany. It does look beautiful. Then you slice into and you have that nice electric pink hue from the smoke. The first cut it just like a waterfall of brisket juice. It’s magic.”
If the sights, sounds, and smells are too tempting to wait for your tray of barbecue, there are some starters worth ordering as well.
Durk’s Buffalo Wings are brined overnight, smoked for over an hour, and fried to order so they’re crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The nachos are not your ordinary stack.
“We serve them in a 9 inch cake pan. We do a layer of chips, we have our house queso, our chopped brisket, another layer of chips, little more queso, barbecue sauce, more brisket and then from there we top it with our housemade sour cream, pico de gallo, scallions,” Brandon listed. “The way everything kind of plays together, it just becomes every bite is the perfect bite.”
Sandwiches are exceptional well. Just check out the Fried Chicken Sandwich, made with top quality chicken thighs sourced from Baffoni Farms in Johnston, Rhode Island. They are soaked for two days in buttermilk, garlic, thyme, and a blend of herbs and spices, fried to order, and stacked with lettuce, tomato, and onion on a potato roll.
Then there is the Sausage Sandwich, featuring a special custom recipe courtesy of Central Falls Provisions.
“They mix it, they case it, and send it to us raw and we smoke it in house,” Brandon said. “We do a seared bun, like a griddled New England style hoagie. Topped with our sausage, Cole slaw, red wine vinegar and barbecue rub. It’s great.”
To compliment your meal, Durk’s boasts over 100 American whiskeys, a full roster of craft cocktails, and more than a dozen rotating beers on draft. Desserts are ever changing as well, so you could find a slice of Pumpkin Pie, homemade Apple Crisp, and a creative spin on the traditional Tres Leches Cake.
“We take our Rice Krispies and caramelize them, and pulse them into a powder and mix them with a cake batter,” Brandon explained. “From there we top it with a hot buttered rum sauce that we spread on it, fleur de sel. Finish it with a fresh batch of whipped cream and cinnamon. It’s everything I want in a dessert. It’s sweet, it’s balanced, and then the cinnamon brings a nice almost savory finish to it.”
From dessert to drinks to delicious barbecue, Durk’s definitely checks all the boxes.
You can find Durk’s Bar-B-Q at 275 Thayer Street in Providence, Rhode Island and online at durksbbq.com.
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