Colin Tooke and Ian McGrenaghan are obviously insane and more than a little bit evil. But they’re evil geniuses. How else to explain the twisted brilliance of the dudes who hooked Hogtown on Electric Mud’s crack rolls: crunchy, sesame-crusted dinner buns slathered in butter enhanced with barbecue drippings from their smoker. The mayor and I will take another round, please!
Electric Mud’s two-car-garage-size roadhouse – just around the corner from the duo’s Grand Electric taco bar, number seven on this list in 2012 – is a twisted hymn to the American South with its double- potato salad (tender cubes and crisp shoestring chips) and custardy banana cream pie. It feels like the work of a crazed set dresser from HBO’s True Blood: Witness the wall-mounted ostrich, wearing a crucifix necklace and bathed in blood-red light. And it’s a horribly fun world to inhabit for an hour on a Sunday night, sitting at an indoor picnic table and sucking down a Big Boi Root Beer: a plastic pint glass of local Agua Loca lager mixed with a syrup made from, and I quote the barman here directly, “sarsaparilla and twigs and stuff.”
Electric Mud is named for a Muddy Waters blues album, but as a cook throws the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet on the record player and you bite into a slow-cooked pork rib, topped with the unfamiliar combo of scallions and crushed peanuts, it all clicks. Just like the Stones’ “borrowed” rhythm and blues, Tooke and McGrenaghan have written a new tune for southern barbecue. Whoo whoooo!
- BUTTER PLUS: Adding fat to butter? Whether duck fat (Supply and Demand) or barbecue drippings (Electric Mud BBQ), we say the more, the merrier.
- FOOD-FRIENDLY REDS: Versatile, high-acid, low-tannin red grapes, like zweigelt, lacrima, frappato and gamay, have moved to the top of the sommelier’s speed-dial list. Don’t call us, cab sauv, we’ll call you.
- LAMB BELLY: The new pork belly.
- SMALL PLATES, SMALLER TABLES: If you’re going to ask us to order four dishes per person to share, you’d better have a plan for where to put them. Yes, we are still working on all of these.
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