They’re also free to play with different cuts and meats. Whereas North Carolina centers around pig, and Texas is the home of beef, New York’s pitmen draw from all over the place, much like that goat's neck it’s impossible to not keep coming back to. To wit: John Zervoulakos of The Strand -- who believes “there can be a NY-style BBQ, I think it’s starting to develop” -- is doing out-of-the-box cuts like sweetbreads and beef cheeks, while also incorporating his roots (and Astoria) with a smoked leg of lamb prepared with a smoked paprika mint yogurt sauce. “[Suddenly] you're cooking BBQ in a way that they never would have in Texas or Missouri,” says Fisher, “but you're doing it the same way they did, which is with local ingredients, with local wood, low and slow."
Daniel Delaney, of hardcore authentic Texas-styler BrisketTown/ Delaney BBQ, feels that bare minimum should be required. "It should be done primarily via smoke, and often with indirect heat." But after that, things get hazy. “Is Philip Glass classical music? There’re a lot of people that want to lump him into that category, but I’m sure there’s a much bigger and broader group of people that are just fine calling Tchaikovsky and Beethoven and Mozart classical musicians, and calling Philip Glass a contemporary, modern musician. And that’s ok. I just fall into a much more traditional camp."
While Neal Corman of Virgil’s is one of the ‘masters who doesn’t feel that NY BBQ is a real thing, he remembers "when Jean-Georges Vongerichten did French and Thai. So he stays true to it and he’s the first over the hill, so if anyone else does it, then it’s Jean-Georges style. And people were saying, you know, French-Thai is kind of East Coast New York." And obviously this city is capable of co-opting anything, pilfering it from its source and only sometimes caring to look back, when a new culinary trend calls for it. Just look at pizza: it obviously wasn’t invented in NYC, but a century or two later, if it’s not New York, then what the hell is?