What is it about eating copious amounts of meat that makes you want to just lay back, rub your belly and sink into a post-protein coma? After our lunch at this Williamsburg institution I wanted to do just that, and anyone craving that glorious bbq flesh is bound to feel like a fette sau themselves after a hefty dose of the good stuff.
Had it not been for Billy telling me about his NY escapades during Masterchef I wouldn’t even be writing these words, unless of course we stumbled upon Fette Sau ourselves. Highly unlikely.
Williamsburg is one of those crusty neighbourhoods that’s clearly on the up and up. Delapidated houses, auto garages, corner shops, quirky small businesses and a Manhattan-view waterfront making way for high-density high-rise living. It’s big-time gentrification for what was once a very working-class neighbourhood.
The folk behind Fette Sau have a meaty gold-mine on their spice-rubbed and smoky hands. Located in a revived former car repair workshop, the space lends itself perfectly to the rustic/industrial set-up. A hand-painted mural at the entrance displays a variety of pork and beef cuts, wooden benches make for a cafeteria feel and the bar comes complete with an impressive selection of whiskeys and ten beers poured from taps levered by knives and other carving implements. Brewed exclusively for Fette Sau, our Sixpoint Vienna Pale Ale came in an ubiquitous pint-sized glass jar and lubed the lips beautifully for the meat-fest we were about to delve into.
Mention the word barbecue to anyone in Australia and they immediately think of a grill or hot-plate sitting over lapping flames or charcoal. The American barbecue is more akin to roasting the meats with indirect heat and smoke. Slowly. Very slowly, until the meat is so juicy and tender you’re bound to start purring.
The Fette Sau barbecue features organic pork, beef and lamb in various cuts and styles. Berkshire cheeks and belly, hand pulled lamb, boneless ribs, brisket, tongue pastrami, the list goes on. Of the sixteen meats listed in-house only six of them are available on any given day; rubbed with spices and smoked on the premises.
The procedure is quite simple; just choose your desired meat up at the cabinet, let the friendly staff know how much you want and they’ll weigh it onto your tray and throw in a potato roll as well.
What did we have? Well, how about some black angus beef brisket ($18/lb), tender and rich. Or the Duroc pulled pork shoulder ($18/lb) laced with slightly blackened skin and a little fat. Perfect in that billowy potato bread roll. My absolute favourite was the Berkshire bacon strips ($16/lb). Holy shit. The smell alone made my tongue quiver. Smoky pork, caramelised skin and flesh that tore off in glorious fibres.
With all that meaty goodness you just have to grab a side of the burnt ends baked beans, some of the best beans I’ve eaten. Dotted with small chunks of smoky meat, they’re sweet, salty and damn impressive. The less impressive collard greens acted like more of a vegetable filler that anything else and even with them being mixed with pork belly, they were overshadowed by the meats and beans.
I’m not quite sure who he is but Steve’s authentic key lime tart finished us off nicely with its unique lime zing and crumbly buttery base. Not sure about washing it down with beer, though, as I did. Maybe I should have tried one of their coffees.
Now, how can I pack this place into my luggage and take it back to Sydney?