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Arrive early if you want to enjoy Barabicu’s smoked meats: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

August 26, 2018

Arrive early if you want to enjoy Barabicu’s smoked meats: Cleveland’s Best Barbecue contest

PARMA, Ohio – The meats smoked on Barabicu Smokehouse’s 700-pound-capacity smoker invariably sell out each day just a few hours after owner Danny Cassano opens his doors.

He is pleased with the response to his menu and Parma restaurant, even though some customers are often frustrated with being shut out on any given day if they arrive after the fare is sold out.

Pro tip: Arrive early -- we’re talking lunch hour -- if you want to come away with food.

And in case you are wondering, Barabicu means “sacred fire pit” in the Taino language.

Cassano started cooking at age 14 and attended Johnson and Wales Culinary School before returning to some of the Cleveland food scene’s best-known kitchens.

“I am all about the food and I finally got myself into the financial position to try and use my concepts and my skills for myself,” Cassano said.

To answer the request for more opportunities to buy his smoked meats, Cassano is currently working to add a food truck and hopes to open a second location early next year.

Barabicu Smokehouse 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 Barabicu Smokehouse on Aug. 22. Scroll down to see our taste test review of its foods.

Barabicu

Address: 5767 Ridge Road, Parma

Phone: 440-481-3057  

Website: barabicubbq.wixsite.com/smokehouse

Social media

Facebook: facebook.com/BarabicuSmokehouse/

Instagram: @barabicusmokehouse/

How many different kinds of BBQ are on the menu? Nine: Pulled Pork, Cupcake Chicken, Corned Beef, Smoked Meatloaf, Bacon (Saturday only), Corned Beef, Brisket, Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage and Ribs

How many sauce options? Two: Carolina and KC BBQ.

Best sellers: Brisket and Ribs

Most unique thing on the menu: Cupcake Chicken

Taste Test Review

Cleveland’s Best reporters Yadi Rodriguez, Brenda Cain and Kristen Davis, along with celebrity host/comedian Mike Polk, visited Barabicu Smokehouse 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: “Sweet and spicy, moist and nicey,” said Polk.

“The spices in this dish are definitely unique to the Top 20 finanists,” Davis said.

Brisket: “Succulent with just the right amount of smoke,” said Davis.

“A nice cut of meat and not too fatty,” Cain said.

Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage: “You will definitely get a bite from this sausage. It’s a great combination of spice,” Cain said.

“Nice jalapeno taste and I love the snap,” Davis said.

Cupcake Chicken: “I like that they use thighs to get the best flavor. The chicken is wrapped around into a sausage-like shape for a cupcake effect. It is obvious how much effort went into each batch,” Polk said.

“A different take on chicken, nice and moist on the inside,” said Rodriguez.

Sides:

Potato Salad: “This guy goes the extra mile to smoke his potatoes before he makes the salad. Definitely adds another dimension of flavor,” Cain said.

“Oh yeah! Smoke those spuds! Added a really heavenly accent to an already heavenly dish,” said Polk.

Mac & Cheese: “Jalapenos in the cheese sauce really kicks up this traditional dish,” Cain said.

“Love the jalapenos and that they use spirals so you get a nice dose of cheese sauce in every bite,” said Davis.

Sauces:

Carolina BBQ: “Nice thick sauce, good flavor,” Rodriguez said.

“This is my favorite mustard-based sauce we have had. It is tangy without being overpowering,” Polk said.

Kansas City BBQ: “It’s sweet at first, but then the burn hits,” Davis said.

“I’m a fan! It has a bit of a garlicy edge that made me feel pretty,” said Polk.

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