Paul Kirk of R.U.B. Will Not Talk Trash About Kansas City BBQ Being the Best


Paul Kirk’s Chelsea barbecue palace is named R.U.B., which stands for Righteous Urban Barbecue. Amen. Now, Long Islanders have their own outpost, serving the same menu of ribs, wings, burnt ends, and other Kansas City goodness. Kirk, who earlier this week shared his recipe for Grilled Vegetables With Balsamic-Maple Dressing, shifts his attention back to meat with a primer on different barbecue traditions.

Are you excited about the new R.U.B. on Long Island?

Sure. It’s basically going to just like the original, except that it can seat, like, 125 instead of 70 or 80 here in the city. It’s going to be an exciting adventure.

Will you be doing anything different to cater to the Long Island scene?

No, we’re pretty much doing the same recipes. We are going to do a burger night that we started here. We were voted one of Time Out‘s Best Cheap Burgers in New York City for the second time this year. We’re going to do more with the burgers up there because we’re better set up for it, but other than that we’re pretty much going to do the same thing.

What’s the difference between Texas-, Memphis-, and Kansas City-style barbecue?

Well, it’s mostly the sauce as opposed to the actual cooking process. The cooking processes are very much the same. The seasonings are different in varying areas. Like, I grew up with salt and pepper and that’s basically what they use in Texas. As rubs keep evolving, people will try different spices and say, “Wow, this really turned out great.”

So, is Kansas City-style the best?

Basically, my recipe is what I developed in competition. I won seven world championships and that’s another long story. It used to be difficult for me to say that Kansas City was the barbecue capital of the world until a bunch of us started venturing out in the world and winning with our style of barbecue. What we serve at R.U.B. is completely different than normal, commercial barbecue … just the way we season it, the way we look after it.

Is there much trash talking between pit masters about the different types of barbecue?

No, not really. We each have our moments of “mine’s better than yours” and so forth. But there’s not really a whole lot of trash talking. Maybe when the BBQ Block Party comes out there may be some trash talking, but not so much as a general rule.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with R.U.B.’s Paul Kirk, tomorrow.