Richard Coursey, proprietor at YinzBurgh BBQ, abides by three maxims: Barbeque is a cuisine; barbecue sauce is a condiment; and the love is in the rub. Judge for yourself at his Bloomfield venue, which opened in February. (It's mostly set up for take-out, with a couple of tables.) While your order is prepared, the affable Georgia native is eager to talk sauce, smoke and soda pop.
"Sauce goes on the side," Coursey emphasizes, dismissing pre-slathered meats. For first-timers, he keeps squeezy bottles of his five house-made sauces at the counter, and will talk customers through teaspoon samples. They include: a vinegar-based Carolina-style sauce, and lively and extra-spicy versions of a tomato-based sauce and a honey-mustard.
The menu offers a standard variety of smoked meats — ribs, pulled pork, chicken and brisket — but also tofu (available in a salad, wrap or in a "biggie"-sized block). The sides are also traditional Southern add-ons — mac-and-cheese, greens, black-eyed peas and coleslaw.
But contrary to the down-home impulse to flavor everything with some piece of the pig, the peas and greens are vegan. Fear not, meat-heads: Both were superb. The greens were brightened considerably with vinegar, and the creamy peas were juiced with tomatoes, bits of greens and pepper.
With my ribs and pulled pork, I used the vinegar sauce and the hot honey-mustard, with different but both pleasing results. But even after all the food was gone, I was still sampling the honey-mustard sauce. It's a winner.