OSWEGO — Hungry for a new taste in downtown Oswego?
The Palladium-Times was recently invited to check out some signature dishes at The Cue Barbecue, newly operational inside the Litatro Building’s Southern Fare restaurant.
“It brings a new look to what take out and delivery can be while still staying within today’s themes,'' said Cue owner Patrick Mitchell.
Opened on Dec. 16, it is based in the kitchen of Mitchell’s highly anticipated restaurant, located at 189 W. First St.
While the two eateries share the same home, Mitchell said the two would not operate as one in the same.
“There will be items there that are similar, but it will be a different take,” he said.
The Cue Barbecue is the concept of Executive Chef Eric Balcom who, while working alongside Mitchell, introduced the idea of a barbeque food stop and Mitchell ate the idea up.
“We have so many ingredients that can lend themselves to a barbecue,” Balcom said. “He came back to me not long after that discussion and said, ‘I have an idea.’”
Balcom and Mitchell said the food on the menu has gone through a multitude of tests and adaptations to make sure the offerings are just right.
“We were really obsessed over every little detail,” Balcom said. “Testing rubs, times, different theories on everything until we get to a point where we go ‘This is how we are gonna do every protein we put in there.’”
Balcom has more than 20 years in the industry and his resume includes, but is not limited to, the 1812 Brewing Company in Sackets Harbor, and serving as chef de cuisine at LemonGrass in Syracuse.
While he’s worked in many locations, Balcom said, introducing the smoker to his array of tools was a new challenge for him.
“Smokers are really touchy. It doesn't take a lot to throw off the way it operates,” Balcom said. “Getting to know a smoker is a process in itself.”
Balcom said that all the rigorous testing led to an adaptive and changing menu.
“We want something that people can have regularly,” he said
According to Mitchell, the Cue’s menu will be evolving throughout the year. Take-out diners can expect a dynamic menu that will change with the weather but not too drastically.
“Those bowls and items will change seasonally, but a smoked brisket is a smoked brisket,” Mitchell said.
To make The Cue Barbecue accessible to those with dietary restrictions, Mitchell and Balcom said the menu accommodates everyone including community members that suffer from allergies.
“Our goal is to be a completely gluten-free environment,” Mitchell said. “My mother is gluten free, my father-in-law is gluten free, everyone knows someone who is gluten free.”
They explained on the entire menu only three items contain gluten: the buns for the sandwich, the pasta and the breadcrumbs on the mac and cheese.
Environmental consciousness is also important, they said, and the men have put their money where their mouths are to get their product to the mouths of excited customers. The Cue Barbecue’s food is served and packaged in 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable material. This material contributes, Mitchell said, to an innovative and interesting way consumers will be receiving their food.
“We went to 100 percent biodegradable, eco-friendly packaging which really maintains a lot of the textures the best because of how it handles moisture,” Mitchell said. “We broke food down so the meat has to go in its own packet and pouch to make sure it stays warm and the texture stays the same.”
In a taste test, the Pall-Time staff sampled The Cue’s chicken sandwich and jambalaya bowl, with sides of mac and cheese, charred broccoli salad and pit beans.
The chicken sandwich has a satisfying crunch and the broccoli carries a slight spice, while jambalaya bowl had a strong mixture of flavors from all the ingredients, which included long grain rice, andouille sausage, onions, peppers and celery stewed tomato and spiced creole.
To contact or order from The Cue Barbecue, call (315)216-6855 or use the DoorDash app.