Silver Lake: Charcoal BBQ, Bourbon & Beer
Charcoal BBQ, Bourbon and Beer has taken over part of the Barbarella space in Silver Lake. The owners has split the popular bar up to include Kansas City style barbecue from Chef Jeremy Zimmerman. Being from KC, he’s pretty serious about his ‘cue. He brought in a smoker across the country himself and oversees the meats which are slow-smoked and then presented with tomato-molasses sauce.
Besides barbecue, Charcoal wants to be known for their whiskey selection. Currently boasting of 80 different bottlings, you could go with a shot and a beer or try some of their house cocktails.
One of the dramatic drinks I tried was the Backdraft which reminded me of a Dark and Stormy but with a beautiful lime shell full of bourbon set aflame.
Backdraft – rum, lime, ginger syrup, ginger beer, lime shell with flamed bourbon
I love BBQ, I really do. There’s so much to explore in LA; everything from Texas style to Carolinas. And now we have Kansas City which is really known more for a cooking technique than any particular type of meat (think ribs or burnt ends). So getting braised lamb shank is not actually as crazy as it seems. The super tender lamb was topped with veggies and it was all piled over mashed potatoes. This is a meal in itself.
One of my favorite drinks of the night turned out to be the mezcal drink in the would-be whiskey heaven. Despite its girly color, you should take the red as a warning it’s spicy– that is if the little chili pepper top and seeds didn’t give it away.
O’ Bloody Hell – mezcal, blood orange juice, lime, agave, fresno chile, club soda
I was told meat doesn’t photograph well. I beg to differ. That brisket could be eaten with a spoon. Although I’m not a sauce fiend, I could have used a touch more. Add in some farmers market friendly pickled veggies and you got a great meal.
I love trying side dishes and sometimes I spend more time on side dishes than the actual meal. The cole slaw which initially looked like an Asian papaya salad turned out to be unexpectedly fresh. I really loved the Mason Jar salad with arugla (not shown). Great dressing.
If you like old fashioned whiskey cocktails, go for the Brown Sugar, a great rift with demarara syrup (a rich simple syrup).
Brown Sugar – rye, demarara syrup, Angostura bitters
I admit it, my fave are ribs at any BBQ. We got the pork back ribs (generally known as baby back ribs). The smoked ribs were lean and had just the right amount of sauce.
Normally I skip potato salads finding them a little bit boring but Charcoal’s was great- tons of flavor and an ideal side for BBQ.
The True Mexican reminded me of a margarita though with a little mint in it. Which is really quite perfect with someone with the nickname, The Minty.
True Mexican – tequila, lime, simple syrup, mint, cucumber garnish
Charcoal does something fun with s’mores for dessert. You can get in on the DIY action by making them at your table.
Warm, gooey s’mores and BBQ in Silver Lake. I didn’t realize the area needed ‘cue but it’s great it’s there now.
To finish out the night, I also tried the Italian Stallion. The gin drink features a nice thick head from the egg white. There are two different amari; Nonino and Aperol to give it that Italian flair.
Italian Stallion – gin, lemon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, egg white
After meat, some great tasty sides and drinks, you can hop over to Barbarella to cozy up to the bar. It’s the shortest bar hop ever.