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Big W’s slow chicken feast
1475 Rte. 22, Wingdale
The deal: Slow Chicken
Slow chicken is not a reflection on the mental capacity of the chickens themselves,” says Big W (aka Warren Norstein), in a variation on his joke that the slow ones are easier to catch. Get him started, and he’ll launch into a brief dissertation on what happens to the protein, albumin, fat, and collagen in meat when it’s heated, and how you wind up with “wonderful liquids” if you cook in water, and “wonderful things still in the meat” with the slow-smoke method he uses.
Norstein, who cooked for 16 years in posh restaurants like Bouley and Chanterelle, became a barbecue wizard in 2003, after he and his brother fabricated a smoker out of a steel drum. “I’d never even eaten barbecue, except ribs that had been thrown on the grill,” he says. “We made two smokers and it worked. I said, ‘Let’s try and sell this stuff!’ I found a guy in Georgia who built me a mobile smoker.”