COURTESY OF DIXON'S SMOKE CO
Joe Dixon and his all-wood smoker, Rasputia.
There's a new girl cooking up smoked meats at Dixon's Smoke Company (3674 Forest Park Avenue, 314-833-4161)
. Her name is Rasputia, and owner Joe Dixon had to go all the way to Texas to find her.
Named after the amorous villainess from the Eddie Murphy film Norbit,
Rasputia is Dixon's brand-new, custom-built A.N. Bewley all-wood smoker. According to the pitmaster, it's the only all wood smoker in the entire state, and he's confident that the city's 'que connoisseurs will appreciate the difference.
"I grew up cooking on all-wood smokers, so this is what I am used to," Dixon explains. "The gas-assist smokers that most people use still put out really good barbecue, but I'm really big into Texas-style barbecue, and in Texas, this is gospel."
Though wood is the backbone of barbecue, providing the smoke that infuses meat with characteristic flavor, most of today's smokehouses actually use a hybrid-style smoker that use gas or electric to provide a constant heat source while burning a small amount of wood for flavor. That's how Dixon's was doing its barbecue since opening in Midtown in 2015, but Dixon was in search of the all-wood flavor he craved from his early barbecue days. Plus, the hours he was keeping while using a gas-assist pit were simply unsustainable.
"I was getting up at 2 a.m and staying up until the smoking was done for the day," Dixon explains. "With a gas-assist smoker, you have to add wood about every 45 minutes, so I would have to stand there all night and watch the fire. For this, I just load it up at night and it holds the temperature."
The convenience and efficiency of the new smoker may be getting Dixon more sleep, but he explains that his decision to go the all-wood route was about more than that. "It makes an awesome product and gives the meat more of a distinct wood taste — more of a traditional barbecue taste," he explains. "There's no aftertaste. It's just wood and meat. There's no other stuff going on."
Dixon researched the A.N. Bewley smoker for years, enlisting the help of his friends in Texas who swear by the brand. Now that he's had her up and running, he couldn't be more pleased with the results.
"It just puts out amazing product," Dixon says. "I'm just overwhelmed with how much easier it makes life. Now, I can focus on the food rather than just watching the fire all day."
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Edward McFarlane (left) with Dixon Smoke Company co-owners Aaron McFarland and Joe Dixon.