Central Texas style BK’s Barbecue coming to Tacoma’s 6th Ave
Longtime local chef Kyle Campisi is opening BK’s Barbecue, a Central Texas barbecue takeout spot, this spring in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood.
BK’s Barbecue will specialize in prime brisket rubbed with salt and pepper and smoked over mesquite and/or post oak – Central Texas style (to date, the only other Central Texas style barbecue restaurant in Pierce County is BBQ2U in Gig Harbor).
“This is a project born out of my dad’s love for barbecue,” said Campisi. He’s the K in the name of the restaurant and his dad Bob is the B.
“My dad’s been smoking meats for 20 years,” Campisi said. “He’s done side catering with his barbecue for the last 15 years. He’s definitely got a lot of experience with meat, but he’s never done it in a restaurant format. He’s never felt comfortable running a restaurant and that’s where I come in with my executive chef management experience.”
Getting the right hardwood for Central Texas style barbecue is always a challenge here. Mesquite can be easy enough to find, but post oak is the wood preferred by Central Texas barbecue restaurants and that wood usually isn’t as readily available. It also can be very expensive to import from Texas. Campisi this week secured a source for post oak and he’s hopeful he and his dad can get a consistent supply. If they’re not smoking over post oak, their default will be mesquite.
SECOND DINING WINDOW IN A SINGLE BUILDING
Campisi’s take-out-window will operate on the back side of the Pine Room Events Center building at 2811 Sixth Ave.
This is the second dining window to open in that building that, years ago, was home to Masa and more recently, the events center.
On the front side of the building, The Cat & Rabbitt Cakeshop opened a take-out cake-by-the-slice window in November. If you have not stopped by yet, you must fix that.
BK’s Barbecue will offer sandwiches and combo plates anchored by Central Texas style brisket, pulled pork or smoked chicken thighs. Campisi also has plans to serve hot links. He’ll rotate weekly specials, such as smoked beef ribs and baby back ribs on weekends. And someday? Possibly barbecue breakfast.
Diners will walk up to the window up the ramp on the back side of the building. Seating will be available outdoors, adjacent to the window, in the paved lot. Just across the parking lot is Engine House No. 9, from X Group, the same owners as the building where Campisi will operate.
And speaking of X Group, Campisi is an alum of X Group’s catering operation, as are Julia Brown and Terryn Abbitt, who own The Cat & Rabbitt Cakeshop in the same building. More recently, Campisi has been executive chef at Table 47, but he’ll give up that job to open his barbecue restaurant.
ON THE MENU AT BK’S BARBECUE
The mesquite-smoked brisket and pulled pork are Bob Campisi’s recipes. Kyle Campisi is developing the barbecue sides.
“We’re going to keep it simple, but really well done. We’re going to have the best sides in barbecue around here. Barbecue sides can really suck. I’ve been eating a lot of it recently. I get it, the focus is on the meat at these restaurants, but I think that people will come back for the sides if they’re done right.”
His side menu will include two kinds of macaroni and cheese – sharp white cheddar and white cheddar-jalapeno – both made with chef spins. He uses a fancy kitchen trick – swapping sodium citrate for regular salt – to achieve a perfectly emulsified sauce that’s creamy. “It’s a super smooth and creamy sauce with a great mouthfeel,” he said.
His baked beans are made with a sauce sweetened by molasses and brown sugar. “I’ll be using pinto and great Northern beans,” he said. “We’ll cook them down in tomato and chicken stock, and reduce it down until it’s really rich. We’ll balance that out with molasses and brown sugar to give them a barbecue feel. I wanted these beans to be different,” he said. They’ll be made with bacon, he said.
His coleslaw will come with a nice crunch and likely will be dressed to order with a lime and cilantro dressing. “I’m going for a balanced coleslaw with a lot of snap to balance out the fat on the meats. All my sides, I’m going for balance,” he said.
His Yukon gold potato salad will be made with pickled onions, red peppers and a vinegar-tweaked dressing, also spiked with cilantro.
He’ll also have something hard to find around here: Texas Caviar. “It’s delicious. It’s my favorite side. It’s blackeyed peas, black beans, jalapenos, grape tomatoes, fresh roasted corn and cilantro.” His version will be more tangy than sweet.
The menu also will include beer, cider and dessert. He said he’ll stay away from offering cake. “I don’t want to compete with Julia because I know I’d lose,” said Campisi, who worked alongside Julia Brown and Terry Abbitt of The Cat & Rabbitt Cakeshop while at X Group. He knows their pastry super powers.
Instead, he thinks he’ll serve pie, which is a great choice considering how few places in that neighborhood serve slices of pie.
“I thought I’d do three or four rotating pies. I want to always have pecan, but rotating pies like key lime and seasonal pies,” he said.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BK’S BARBECUE
Kyle and Bob have applied for a liquor license and next up is working on getting their two custom smokers installed. Check back for more details as they get closer to opening.
Where: 2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
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