Bringing A Beer Garden With a BBQ Problem to Bushwick
Tyson Ho wishes to clear up a few misconceptions. First, while it’s true that the Queens native did work in finance, he insists that this doesn’t make him one of the finance bros that have taken over North Brooklyn. He’s not—as one rogue commenter on Eater and Grub Street says—“a rich douchebag.” Second, he never formally apprenticed at The Pit in Raleigh. He just made a connection with former pitmaster Ed Mitchell and spent time with the man, learning the tricks of the trade. Third, his new restaurant, Arrogant Swine, is not exactly a barbecue joint. Ho likes to think of it more like a beer garden with a barbecue problem. And finally? He has no interest in sopping up praise from foodies. Ho considers barbecue to be categorically lowbrow.
“There are some barbecue guys that are trying to be chefs, but I’m not. The pig is what it is.”
At Arrogant Swine, the pig is a whole hog cooked Eastern Carolina-style, which involves smoking and roasting nature’s “most efficient producer of protein” in a smoker imported from the Tar Heel State itself. After hours of rotating on the spit, while juices drip into the fire below, all the meat inside the hog is mixed together, doused in vinegar pepper sauce and served Carolina pig-picking style.
“We get a little bite of every single part of the whole animal,” says Ho, sharing pictures of the sizable smoker he used during his Hog Days of Summer series last year. “So, certain parts that are fatty and certain parts that are really lean are eaten together. They complement each other.”
When the beer hall/BBQ joint officially opens in July or August, it will be in a 5,000-square-foot space at 173 Morgan Avenue in Bushwick, where Ho and his team will cook in a sizable outdoor kitchen year-round. Patrons will be invited to choose from not only North Carolina-sourced pork in all its forms, but also chicken, brisket, ribs, and sausage. And to make it that much easier to swallow, there will be 20 beers on tap, ranging from the well-known to the obscure.
“We’re going to be very, very serious about our beer,” Ho says. “We’ll probably put a Bud Light on the menu, but we’ll charge $10,000 dollars so that you have an incentive not to order it.
Jokes aside, Ho hopes Arrogant Swine will be, above all, a place with a strong sense of community, a concept inherent in the eatery’s two biggest influences: North Carolina barbecue culture and German beer halls.
“A lot of other foods are very, very individual, [but] barbecue is not,” Ho says. “To be with your friends, to be with others like you, just drinking—I think BBQ fits in that perfectly.”