by Steven Doyle
Last evening pitmaster Doug Pickering invited a group of guests into his Highland Park home for his very first bbq class. You recall Pickering from his stint at WORK. He appeared to be an overnight sensation, but has worked years at his craft perfecting his delicious take on ‘cue. Last evening Doug was joined by his long time friend and chef Scott Townend, formerly at Village Kitchen, but has a glorious resume working with some of the best chefs this country has to offer. What a delight to work hands on with these two talents. The pair have been collaborating on catering as of late, and have been invited into some pretty amazing homes recently to perform their duties in a big way.
It was a joy to watch Pickering explain how he had staged the events for the evening, which allowed us a peak at how he perfects brisket and ribs, both using the Big Green Egg. He walked us through the procurement and preparation of the meats he used, then chatted about how to make a special spice rub, where guests were invited to lay hands on the meat and actually get their gloved hands dirty. When it was time to trim the brisket a few volunteers stepped forward to lend a hand.
While Pickering was doing the behind the scenes work outside, Townend jumped in to show the group how he makes his amazing (and spicy) bbq beans and potato salad. The most interesting technique I personally took away from the class was how the chef rendered down cubes of the trimmed brisket fat, then later used the crisp pieces to flavor both the beans and potatoes. He even used the rendered fat to saute his aromatics that went into the beans. Nothing was wasted, and everything was flavored immaculately.
Soon it was time to enjoy the feast created by all, and there was a sudden hush across the room as we devoured the slices of brisket and fall-off-the-bone ribs.
It was a large consensus, even among the young ladies in the group, that they will soon be at the grill themselves showing off their new found techniques to their friends. Or they may just call on Townend and Pickering to cater their party.
To schedule your class, send Doug Pickering an email at dwp@