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Montreal smoked meat, anyone? Landmark adds international flavor: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

August 26, 2018

Montreal smoked meat, anyone? Landmark adds international flavor: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Constantine Katsaros and Jack Messer got their start competing in barbecue contests at festivals around the country and did a little catering on the side.

But they wanted more.

Creating top-notch BBQ on a small scale is nearly impossible, according to Katsaros, “and we wanted to take our meats to the ’enth degree,” so they opened Landmark in May in the old Clifton Diner location on the Cleveland-Lakewood border.

The smoker, which uses only real wood, was a challenge to get the city to approve as an open flame in a business district, but once it passed it didn’t take the BBQ joint long to gain a following.

Landmark is one of 20 finalists in Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest. Each establishment was nominated, and then voted into the finals, by our readers. We invite you to vote for your favorite BBQ joint once daily through Aug. 28. The poll resets each morning at 9 a.m.

We visited Landmark on Aug. 22. Scroll down to see our taste test review of its foods.

Landmark

Address: 11633 Clifton Blvd., Cleveland

Phone: 216-230-4040

Website: landmarkcleveland.com

Social media

Facebook: facebook.com/LandmarkCleveland/

Instagram: @landmark_cleveland

How many different kinds of BBQ are on the menu? Six: Turkey, Brisket, Pulled Pork, Smoked Bacon, Smoked Wings and Montreal Smoked Meat.

How many sauce options? Four: Memphis, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kansas City.

Most unique thing on the menu: Montreal smoked meat

Specials: Ribs offered on Thursdays only

Taste Test Review

Cleveland’s Best reporters Yadi Rodriguez, Brenda Cain and Kristen Davis, along with celebrity host/comedian Mike Polk, visited Landmark on Aug. 22.

At each of the finalist restaurants, we’re sampling all kinds of barbecue, including pulled pork, brisket and chicken -- as well as many sides and a dish the restaurant felt was its best or most unique offering.

Pulled Pork: “Very juicy meaty pieces of meat – not just shreds – with a great, crunchy crust on the outside,” said Rodriguez.

“Juicy, smoky, great char – just what you hope for when you order,” said Cain.

Turkey: “Truly a special piece of smoky and juicy meat. Well done and wonderful,” Polk said.

“What a great peppery crust on the outside of the meat,” said Rodriguez.

Brisket: “As beautiful and lifechanging as a rendezvous with a secret lover on a moonlit night. The fatty cut was like eating an angel’s kiss,” Polk said.

“They serve both the lean and the fatty ends of the brisket so you get a great flavor combo. Delicious,” said Rodriguez.

Montreal Smoked Meat (meat cured for 12 days then smoked for eight hours): “This is the most beautiful thing to come out of Canada since actress/model Elisha Cuthbert. Nice and salty and smooth,” Polk said.

“This tastes like a great corned beef. Unique to the barbecue world,” said Davis.

California Bowl: “What an amazing mix of gourmet ingredients,” said Davis.

“I don’t know who came up with this, but it is certainly one of the best things I have eaten in a long, long time. The flavors of the individual ingredients meld perfectly,” said Cain.

Sides:

Fries: “You’ll want to order a side of these if they don’t come with your dish,” Davis said.

“So good and fresh tasting. Loved that they use sea salt,” said Rodriguez.

Gouda Mac & Cheese: “Made with little shells so there are plenty of places for the cheese to linger. And the croutons add to it,” said Rodriguez.

“This has a nice spicy kick to it,” said Davis.

Cole Slaw: “Dressed in a vinegary sauce that is a great palette cleanser. It adds balance to the meal,” said Cain.

“I enjoyed that this slaw was not weighed down in mayo; the vinegar base was just right,” said Rodriguez.

Dessert:

Chocolate Chip Cookies: “Don’t even act like these cookies are not the best thing you have ever, ever eaten,” said Polk.

“Serving these cookies warm created ooey-gooey goodness that cannot be denied,” Rodriguez said.

Sauces:

Memphis: “A lot of spice, hearty and smoky,” Davis said.

“This one was great, with a pepper bite at the end,” Cain said.

North Carolina: “I really dig these vinegar-based sauces and this one really shined. I love the kick it offers to the meat,” Polk said.

“Great enhancement to the meats,” said Davis.

South Carolina: “This was a nice, solid mustard sauce that couldn’t have been more well-suited for the brisket,” Polk said.

“I thought this one was very, very sweet,” said Rodriguez.

Kansas City: “My favorite because it doesn’t have a lot of bite,” said Davis.

“Very sweet compared to the others, but a great depth to it,” said Cain.

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