Boys Meet, Grill: When The Guys Behind Win Son Got Together, It Was Love At First Bite


The relationship between Win Son’s Trigg Brown and Josh Ku sparked just where you’d hope two young food dudes might join forces — over a backyard grill. It was 2012, and Brown was paying his dues in the kitchens of Craft and Upland while living in a Bed-Stuy apartment right below one of Ku’s buddies. “They’d always meet up and have a cookout in the back with other similarly aged people in the neighborhood, just hanging out, with a little fire,” says Ku, 29, who was working in property management at the time. Gradually these sessions took on a life of their own, with friends from the restaurant biz packing the backyard and Brown running the grill on rare days off from the kitchen. “We did a soft-shell sandwich fry with eight dozen crabs, cooked forty pounds of mussels, a suckling pig, a lot of tacos, a lot of burgers,” says Brown, 28. “We had some epic times.”

Ku and Brown soon discovered a shared love of motorcycles, weed, and Taiwanese food, and by May of 2016 they’d opened up Win Son in East Williamsburg. The restaurant features a modern spin on the cuisine Ku grew up with on childhood trips to Taiwan, and which Brown first discovered working for his mentor, a Chinese-American with family in Taiwan who settled in Brown’s home state of Virginia. That’s where Brown first developed his taste for cooking: “I really got serious about open-fire grilling while on Boy Scout hikes,” he says. “I like the solitude of nature, so cooking and camping away from the troop was my way of enjoying it.”

These days Brown favors his backyard Weber, though he’s grilled on many an urban fire escape and sidewalk, as well as in city parks. “We also grill a lot for the restaurant,” he says of Win Son, which the Voice named one of New York’s best of 2016. They’ve recently been using a konro grill, or ceramic-lined Japanese firebox, which chefs favor for its small footprint and ability to conduct heat extremely efficiently. Sometimes, though, it helps to go back to basics. “I live five minutes away by car,” says Brown, “so if I want to get something really smoky, I’ll grill in my backyard, cool it down, bring it to Win Son, and put it on the menu.”

For Trigg Brown’s guide to grilling for a group, click here