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Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

Back when Sarah Lee and I were putting ideas together for our first pop-up restaurant, our friend Linus gave me a call.

“Joe, it’s interesting y’all are doing a pop-up because I’m working on a secret project myself. I’m doing barbecue.”

Over some drinks a while back, Linus and I got to talking about ideas for future restaurants, and I mentioned that I wanted to eventually bring Alabama style barbecue to Korea. Or at least I wanted someone to. It looks like Linus already had that plan.

He held his first small pop-up in early summer. He was cooking ribs. I liked them. The smoke flavors were there. The sauce was almost there but not quite. Linus was really critical of himself, but we all had a great time.

Then late last month, he held another pop-up restaurant in east Itaewon trying out his pulled pork sandwiches and his improved sauce. I didn’t have a chance to go, but I heard it was crowded, and there was a line.

Yesterday, though, I made sure to make it over there for his third pop-up. There was an assembly line going, butter toasting buns, laying on sauce, portioning pulled pork–oh, the aroma!

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

A plate with sandwich, beans, and slaw was W10,000. I bought two. Good thing napkins were free. One of my guidelines is the messier the food the better it tastes.

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

The pork itself was very much like North Alabama, specifically the Decatur style popularized by Big Bob Gibson. I spent my first thirteen years of life in Decatur, so I knew that. The sauce for pork in Decatur, if ever used, is just white vinegar and cayenne pepper. Linus instead used a thicker vinegar-tomato sauce that pretty much nailed the taste of the famous Dreamland Bar-B-Que in Tuscaloosa.

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

By the end of the evening, I’d eaten three whole sandwiches. Right before the “Sold Out” sign went up, I made sure to get one more for the road.

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

I had to get one more for my baby girl.

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the dayFood Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

And she downed all the meat and beans on her plate!

If you want to try Linus’ BBQ, he is getting a lot of requests. This weekend, he’ll be at Platoon in Gangnam, along with the cocktail stylings of Southern Sons.

Food Story: Linus' 'Bama BBQ--Back in the day

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