Justin Swain of Rex has already proven to be a quick study and formidable whipper-upper of big-flavored Southern food, especially for a dude who grew up in Mayfair. "I can't say I've liked any other cuisine more than this, even before I got a job with Rex," says the competitive cyclist turned chef, whose pimento cheese grilled cheeses and andouille-tasso jambalaya could coax a little twang out of anyone.
Now, the smoke's got in Swain's eyes for his new venture, a weekly series that'll zig-zag eaters all across the American Barbecue Belt.
Armed with a round-domed Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker GM Heather Rodkey is fond of calling "Rex2D2," Swain's painstakingly preparing smoked-meat specials he hopes to offer every weekend. For today's launch, he's doing a duo of pork shoulder and pork belly, matched with two scratchmade Carolina-style BBQ sauces and sides of mac salad and baked beans, for $25.
The meat will switch up every week — pork's on now, so he'll follow it up with beef brisket, smoked-half chickens or maybe even duck, goat or lamb in the near future. The obsessive and time-consuming nature of the 'cue game — gotta get that smoke ring juuuuuust right — means there's a finite amount of meat for Swain to dole out every week. Test runs have seen him run out by Saturday dinner service, so jam in there early if you want a little south in your mouth.