[Note: Follow this link-Rosen BBQ&A-for an easier to read, .pdf version of the interview.]
Riddle me this: What do you get when you mix four New York Jews, Ubon’s competitive cooking team from Mississippi and the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party?
The answer: Jubon’s.
David Rosen, the central force behind Jubon’s, was kind enough to fill us in on the crew’s backstory, the barbecue competition experience and NYCQ.
BBQ Jew: What’s the full story on how Jubon’s came to exist and can you explain the name thing for those who don’t know?
David Rosen: I had just finished standing in a very long line for a plate of Memphis style pulled pork from Ubon’s Barbeque at the 2007 Big Apple Barbeque Block Party in Madison Square Park. As I was eating I commented to one of the guys pulling pork, “This is terrific.” Allen Campbell, member of the Ubon’s cooking team, replied, “You know, you’re eating that all wrong….” I responded “Then I’ll get back in line and do it the right way.” Instead Allen brought me up onto the trailer, within arm’s length of Ubon’s smokers, and taught me – everything on the plate, goes on the bun – especially the cole slaw. David and his family spent the next four hours visiting with Allen, Garry Roark, Leslie Roark Scott, and Brian Campbell.
Allen, Leslie and I stayed in touch and the Ubon’s family invited me to bring some friends to the Memphis in May World BBQ Championship in 2008. We booked hotels and got airfare; we were coming to Memphis. But, we didn’t know what to expect. The hospitality we received extended past a friendship and into the realm of family.
Gotta love that tagline
Three weeks after Memphis in May 2008, on a sunny, hot NYC June day, Me and my future teammates: Brian Jay, Adam Rosen and Bob-O Livingston, suited up in cotton and disposable gloves and joined Ubon’s on Madison Avenue for the 2008 Big Apple Barbeque Block Party. We found that our passing interest in the art of barbeque had turned into a passion for smoke.
Over the next year, plans were made for Jubon’s to enter Memphis In May’s 2009 “Patio Porkers Division” and cook ribs to be judged. We chose the name Jubon’s to honor our mentors (Ubon’s) and our heritage. First, t-shirts were made, then, the rub and ribs were developed and perfected. Ubon’s helped get a smoker, tent, tables, fence, Ubon’s BBQ Sauce and raw ribs to Memphis.
Jubon’s weathered rain, wind, mud, heat, humidity, and a new smoker, not to mention putting together a blind-box for the first time. They had great ribs, but didn’t make it to the Finals. They missed being in the top three by 0.3 of a point (which they would learn after the awards ceremony). Then, out of nowhere, a little bird brought great news for those four Jewish kids from NYC– Jubon’s would get up on stage. The boys from NYC received a 4th place trophy!
BBQJ: What are a bunch of nice Jewish boys like yourselves doing cooking pork–did you grow up digging on swine?
DR: It’s safe to say that none of us grew up with any dietary restrictions in our houses. We all grew up in Reformed Jewish households and ate pork. Continue reading
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