Barbecue with Southern Pride at Pik Nik

Top-level barbecue has always been a rare find in the Westchester dining scene; perhaps we’re simply a bunch of Yankees who wouldn’t know a properly smoked piece of pork shoulder from a pork butt (FYI: They are the same thing).  

However, with the opening of Pik Nik, owned by husband-wife team Hassan and Alberta Jarane (he also owns the eclectic gourmet foods/full-service restaurant hybrid Mint Premium Foods up the street), the county may finally have a barbecue stop even a Southerner might approve of.   

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What makes Pik Nik’s barbecue standout?  

“We run our smoker six days a week [they’re closed Mondays] and serve it all fresh,” says Hassan. “Most other barbecue places smoke a couple times a week and refrigerate or freeze the meat.” 

Having someone in the kitchen who learned about barbecue while living in Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina adds to the barbecue cred. That’s Chef Malcom Sanz, who last owned Chop Chop Grub Shop in Brooklyn and studied culinary arts at George Brown College in Toronto. He looks at barbecue the same way he does French cuisine. “There are basics to build on, and as long as I have the basics, I can expand in nontraditional ways and build layers of flavor,” he says.

Bring friends to help finish off the sampler-platter at Pik Nik

House-made pecan pie with banana pudding ice cream

From the Southern Pride Smoker come slabs of pork shoulder (hormone/antibiotic-free and smoked for 14 hours), meaty St. Louis ribs (smoked for more than five hours), and smoky-sweet brisket. The fried chicken is a standout, perhaps a front-runner for the best in the county.  

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The house-made barbecue sauce—unique and delicious—is made with mango and quince (a fruit common in Turkey and Southeast Asia, in the apple-pear family). 

Among the long list of sides, all homemade, are silky baked beans, charred Brussels with bacon, and a refreshing and light cucumber and fennel salad. The
country cheddar biscuit is so exceptional it may have you whistling “Dixie.” 

“I did a barbecue restaurant because of a lack of them in our area but also because it’s food you can eat anytime,” says Hassan. “If you ask chefs what food they most want after their shifts, they’ll more often than not say barbecue.” 

To that end, Pik Nik will stay open until they run out of that day’s ’cue. 

The small, counter-service eatery (a handful of tables, plus 10 counter stools) has the same wide-ranging look as Mint; mid-century stools and chairs, a vintage Coca Cola refrigerator, and reclaimed light fixtures from piers and tugboats.

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“The key to authentic barbecue is not based on recipes,” adds Sanz. “From state to state, barbecue is different. There are key points to having authenticity, including wood, smoke, good sauce, quality meat, and, lastly, passion—you have to love it.” 

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