Parisians Embrace American Barbecue

Angela Almeida

Paris as a destination for American-style barbecue sounds like an oxymoron. But although the Texas-sized nature of brisket and ribs served with hunks of white bread is a far cry from the traditional French palate, that doesn’t mean Parisians aren’t cozying up to the ultimate comfort cuisine—sides included.

At The Beast—aptly named after its custom smoker—dry-rubbed meats are cooked over an oak pit and served naked, in homage to the Lone Star State. “‘Melt in your mouth’ and ‘falling off the bone’ were missing concepts here in Paris. We tried to fix that,” says Thomas Abramowicz, a Frenchman who learned his meat-wielding craft by apprenticing with pitmasters in central Texas. “We were the first ones to offer 15-hour smoked briskets, low and slow-cooking—wood only. No gas. No charcoal.”

Frog Revolution is a pub chain offering barbecue staples citywide: pulled beef sliders, fried chicken and homemade coleslaw are just a few of the options on the “Big Barbecue Plate for Two” menu. For Kansas City-style ribs, Floyd’s Bar & Grill in the Saint-Denis neighborhood is a safer bet, especially when washed down with one of the restaurant’s bourbon cocktails.

At Flesh, a restaurant in the north of Paris, meats are smoked over charcoal on American kamado-style barbecue grills. Simon Lewis says the quality of the meat is key when it comes to showing Parisians the true spirit of the American South. “People here grow up all their lives eating beef bourguignon and steak frîtes,” he notes. “But when you offer them something that literally melts in your mouth, with fat melting on the plate, it’s an entirely different experience.”

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