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Easton’s Andrew Evans Transforms Thai Ki Into The BBQ Joint

Bbq-logo-final Andrew Evans first made his local food reputation when he dazzled the late Johnny Apple (who lovingly wrote about the experience in the NYT) with his culinary creations at the Inn at Easton … but I first met Andrew in Iceland as he was a competing chef in the 2007 Food and Fun Festival in Reykjavik. So what did chef Evans and Roberto Donna talk about as we moved around the Iceland capital: barbecue … yes, the mysteries of smoking and barbecuing the pig, briskets and chicken. Each summer Andrew would hold a barbecue competition at the Inn when he would invite other chefs from the area to compete over a weekend.

Life happens and the Inn at Easton became a memory and Andrew opened the only Eastern Shore Thai restaurant. Thai Ki has been a refreshing beacon for the satisfying Asian cuisine executed with care by the CIA trained chef who spent his first career years in Australia. But I have to tip my hat to fellow traveler Judy Liberson who relayed to me the Easton food buzz: Thai Ki is closing December 19 and soon after The BBQPork Park 0409 Joint is going in. What she didn't know is that Evans is the BBQ dude. I talked to Andrew today and as soon as he serves his last Thai dinner, the three week transition into The BBQ Joint begins. If all goes to plan, the scheduled reopening is January 8 … but we'll keep you posted as the date approaches as we all know how opening promises can drive chefs and customers crazy.

Andrew has a blog (The Fat Chef) at Chesapeake Life where one post tells in his own words his initial fascination and then his six-year journey in the elusive quest for the perfect barbecue. He even has his own barbecue team Walk the Swine that travels the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) circuit as he attempts to master his new craft. Evans explains that this is a tougher assignment than even the most sophisticated kitchen … with barbecue you are faced with the infinite variables of heat, temperature, smoke, seasoning rubs, and time. Throw in sauce and the challenges are immense.

Pork Park 17 0409 Ribs are the Evans specialty but you will find the same variety as in the competitions: ribs, brisket, and chicken … and he'll be serving pulled pork with a vinegary sauce and he favors a glazed rib — but you will find a variety of styles. He made it clear that the recipes he's developed will not be shared — he has adapted to the secrecy code of the barbecue professionals.

I didn't know until today that one of the biggest KCBS events takes place in Salisbury in April. The 2010 Porkin' In the Park will take place April 16 – 18 with over 100 teams expected to smoke up a storm. I'll be there.

Stay tuned … you can count on it as I'll be counting the days before I can enjoy some personal piggin' out.

 

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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