Bistro hosts Old World Barbecue every Wednesday in Avon
AVON – Take a look at Adam Roustom’s menu at Blue Plate Bistro and it’s obvious he knows ribs: buffalo, pork, lamb – they’re all there. What’s next? The whole animal, of course. The chef-owner of the Avon eatery has launched Old World Barbecue on Wednesday evenings.
People were cooking low and slow over a fire long before “barbecue” was even a word.
“In Syria, at any time, for any function – baptisms, weddings, bris, whatever you’re celebrating – they’d kill a lamb,” Roustom said. “If you live in the country, you just walk outside and slaughter a lamb yourself. But in the cities, there are butchers all over the place that specialize in one particular animal or other.”
He’s not slaughtering the animals himself, but he is spit-roasting the creature all day long. By the time the bistro opens for dinner, it’s done. The nightly special Wednesday evenings is a platter of that barbecued meat and all the Old World fixin’s you can manage.
He’s alternating between lamb and pork every week. The lamb is served with Syrian accoutrements, while the pig (tonight’s menu) is served Austrian style, down to the last dumpling.
Cooking on a spit isn’t the easiest method to choose.
“You have to consider the space, the timing and the temperature,” he said. “And the seasoning of course. But it’s most important to get a feel for it. It’s not a microwave, you can’t say, ‘Cook it for 4 hours and 23 minutes.’ You have to know when it’s done.”
Roustom grew up eating whole roasted lamb, though not always at home. Easter dinners at his own house meant roasted leg of lamb. Afterwards, he’d hightail it to his friend George’s house and help with the whole-roasted version.
“The taste is just incredible, when it’s been cooked on the bone like that,” he said.
The spit he’s got doesn’t just turn the animal ever-so-slowly over the smoky coals. It also allows him to control how close to the fire he puts it.
“You start high, then drop it lower,” Roustom explained. “You spread out the coals to be less toward the belly and more toward the rump.”
When it’s done, he picks the bones clean. He’ll serve a little bit of everything to everyone, and the Old World becomes new.