BARBEQUE NATION: The Return Of BBQ In Metro Detroit

Detroit, MI – When you think about Detroit what do you think about when it comes to food? If you are like most people you think about coney dogs, Greek food, and maybe Middle Eastern cuisine. That pretty much sums it up in the minds of most people. When it comes to Metro Detroit the basic premise has been some standards that have stood in place for decades. It becomes traditional and for some that is the end of the story. Nice and neat.

But there is more to the story…. A whole heck of a lot more.  Let me give you somewhat of a back story before I get too carried away. I was going through the Motown Museum a couple years back and checking out the clothes of some of R&B’s most famous acts. I was standing in front of the glittering suits of the Temptations and this is what I heard…. One day they were recording in the Motown office and were waiting around during the recording set up. Producer Barry Gordy told them not to leave and to stick around so they could record their new song. But the thing was Gordy didn’t give it to them right away and he made them wait for it. The Temptations wanted to split and find some BBQ because they were getting hungry. They leave the building and while they were gone Barry Gordy got the song handed to him from his writers and then gave it to another music act. That song became famous and the Temptations lost out. I often wondered where that BBQ place was and if it still stands to this day but I could never locate it. The other thing I thought about was why didn’t BBQ make it in the D. To me that sounds like a great food scene to have around. It would add character to the great city of Detroit and it would make for some serious bragging rights.

I am a big barbeque guy and I always wanted to Memphis and scope it out. I heard stories about KC Masterpiece, Corky’s and that famous joint that the Rolling Stones got thrown out of in the 1960’s. I was in Chicago and I made my way through late night Blues kitchens getting bowls of gumbo and spicy BBQ ribs doing the best I could. I found myself in Heaven on Seven on Rush street, (you know the place… you slip the chef $40 bucks and he picks out his top favs for you) and the amazing Kingston Mines Blues Club where you can live like a king… even til 4AM. In the back of my mind I think about one day having this amazing food come to a little closer.

Well, that day has arrived….. And it started a few years ago but the truth is barbeque is becoming HUGE in Metro Detroit. It has grown quietly at first and then from town to town new places have been popping up all over. Before you know it this has become a quiet sensation. It’s growing from beyond just simple word of mouth but has quickly spread to the web. People are talking and they are talking about barbeque and they are talking about Metro Detroit. This kind of revolution is a generational thing and it rarely happens. But now it is happening and it is all around us……

CHEF NOODLES BBQ AND CORNED BEEF – WIXOM, MI

 
     
CHEF NOODLES BBQ & CORNED BEEF - We go into the kitchen for a unique one on one interview with Wixom, Michigan's legendary chef. BBQ NATION: We go out to the barbeque grill and check out the cooking process that takes a full 12 hours. This is REAL Detroit barbeque.
 

I am going to start with the BEST – and that is Chef Noodles BBQ and Corned Beef in Wixom, Michigan. This place is not in Metro Detroit  per say but those lines of definition are a little grey. Wixom is Novi’s cousin and sits in its backyard so in my mind – technically – it counts as Metro Detroit. It’s familiar or should I say familia. I will make that extra drive over there to find out the real story.

But let me start at the beginning….. I was  nosing through Wixom when I first saw Chef Noodles cooking out of a big black open pit. He was cooking in a quick mart parking lot and I thought it was a special promotion. I had my video camera with me and I jumped out of my car and introduced myself. He was technically – our very first Hot Metro Find. Now days Chef Noodles is about a good three miles up Wixom Rd. and has his own restaurant with plenty of seating and he smokes his meats right on the premises. The big black smoker in the back is in full view of all the visitors and it’s there where most of the magic happens. This is the arena of the reigning champ of outdoor barbeque and here is the kicker – this is REAL DETROIT STYLE BBQ.

Chef Noodles uses a nice combination of charcoal and cherry and apple wood. He gets a slow smoke going and then thoroughly cooks his ribs, chicken, pork and corned beef. It has a real outdoors taste to it and it needs a little barbeque sauce to set it off. You don’t need a whole lot of sauce for this to be epic. The beauty is in its presentation and preparation. Those tastes start to work together. I was able to get a hold of Chef and shoot a couple of videos for this series… Barbeque Nation and get his thoughts on what makes a great quality product.

The answer is authenticity. Remember when I said that this was a real Detroit experience? Chef Noodles hails from the streets of Detroit and this is the way his family used to cook at home. He grew up around it and it runs in his family. He watched his elders cook this way and had picked it up and has been in the catering business for years. Chef knows how to control the fire, monitor the smoke process, and how to flavor his meats so that they have his distinctive signature taste that people have grown to love.

 
 
BBQ NATION: - Join us on YouTube and sign up for our newsletter to find out the BEST BBQ places in Metro Detroit. BBQ NATION: We go out to the barbeque grill and check out the cooking process that takes a full 12 hours. This is REAL Detroit barbeque.
 

 

Since we first shot his first video Chef Noodles has become something of an icon on the web. People will seek him out and look for him on Youtube.com and check in with other online searchers on his whereabouts. That is the sign of a popular business and the makings of a legend. We connected once again when I heard the word that he had opened up a restaurant in Wixom just down the street from where I first found him. It took a little searching but sure enough I found him alright. He has a snazzy little joint in a shopping plaza and there is even a spot for his signature smoker grill. I recognized that immediately and knew I had found this amazing chef.

We shot some video together recently as part of this article and video series. I asked Chef where he got his name from and he said it came from the kids in his neighborhood. Everyone had a nickname and his was Noodles and that name stuck even in the year of 2014. As he told me the stories of his youth he also pointed out that the style of BBQ he does is true to the city of Detroit. I can vouch for this personally as I drive around by the old train station looking for a place called Slow’s BBQ. On the corner of just about every neighborhood I passed was this charcoal wood like aroma that can only mean one thing – barbeque. It is the kind of aroma that invites nostalgia, good times, laughter and  a warm smile. And it’s the area of Corktown where you can find this type of cooking done right out in the open --- and just a stones throw from the old Tiger Baseball park.

Everything in Chef Noodle’s place is the real deal. I was able to sample his BBQ chicken and it is fall off the bone delicious and perfect. The slow wood smoking process gives it dimensions of flavor that cannot be surpassed by anybody else. The portions are generous and the homemade BBQ sauce compliments it just enough where you don’t need to use a lot of it… unless you want to that is. The BBQ ribs are thoughtfully prepared and given special treatment in the grilling process by giving them just enough heat and time. They are sporadically cooled down with water and a kiss of vinegar during the cooking process so that you get a succulent juicy bite. The meat here is never dried out and there are many years of knowledge and know how that goes into the production of the menu. Being Mister Curious I had to try out everything including the corned beef because….well after all, it’s part of the name of the establishment. This is not your typical Kosher corned beef… or your Sy Ginsberg corned beef…. Oh no… this has a slow roasted smoky taste to it and you can tell it was prepared out on the grill and with love.

I had my corned beef on a big onion roll with a coleslaw topper and real Russian dressing. It is a new spin on a familiar dish… and now it’s a new American classic. This has an original Motor City spin on it. And that is the absolute truth about this corned beef. It actually reinvents the idea of what a good corned beef sandwich can actually be. Add some fresh cut fries and a Coca Cola and you are in barbecue Heaven ladies and gentlemen…..

Let me address the sides for a minute because they truly are a wonder to behold. I am a big time cole slaw aficionado and I gotta saw Chef Noodles delivers. This has a light dressing and it compliment’s the BBQ perfectly. They really do go hand in hand. The cabbage is cut just at the right length but it is not cut too thin and is not the crunchy cube kind. There is a lot of thought and consideration that went into this side dish. The dressing is not too sweet and it doesn’t over power the rest of the food items no matter whether you are eating ribs, chicken or corned beef.

The baked beans alone are worth the drive. They have a barbecue taste to them but are not too sweet. They have a smoky tangy taste and they really add character and dimension to the meal. These are not an afterthought….. a lot of time and consideration goes into making these baked beans. They are fantastic and well prepared.

MORE THAN JUST A RESTAURANT....

The best thing about going to Chef Noodles is that he actually caters parties, family parties, corporate get togethers, events…. And there is a lot of love that goes along with each presentation. If you want a full spread and to really impress your guests then this is the man you need to talk to. When it comes to a stress free summer that is full of taste, ease and full flavor you need to get this phone number…. Chef Noodles is only a phone call away. Now if I were mom….. I would call and make dinner easy during these hot summer days. And to be quite frank I would do the same thing if I were dad so I could make it easy on mom…. And myself !!  Hehe….  I’ll be honest with you, I am a big fan of barbeque but I have no idea what I am doing out there on that grill.

Check out Chef Noodles – you’ll be glad you did. He is worth the drive. We will have maps on our site and contact information.

CHEF NOODLES BBQ AND CORNED BEEF
2051 WIXOM RD.
WIXOM, MICHIGAN 48393


CALL 248-660-7475

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“A VISUAL ASSAULT: REM Dissected Scene By Scene

The bottom video was shot in 1989 and is the closest thing I could find to what the original show opener was like in 1987. This was a departure for REM as much as it was for the audience. Just when you thought you knew the band they changed on you in a new and exciting way. It would take some time to recognize them once again. In the case of, “Document” the album had to grow on me. I noticed this sort of thing happening with the Smiths too.

There was one sequence in the video, not shown in this edition, when the words – “Want” and “Need” come on screen. The words flipped interchangeably and morphed into a strobe that said, “Need Weed” and I remember the crowd going a bit wild over that. This was Ann Arbor after all. There is some talk about the set list being accurate. I do not believe, “Orange Crush” or “Pop Song 89” was performed in 1987. Those songs were released after REM went to Warner Brothers. “Document” was the last album created under the I.R.S. Records label.

There is another version of, “The One I Love” done on the live tour. Stipe starts out with a slow intro and for a minute I thought the whole song would be done slow. It then kicks into the tempo we all know. The stage was also bathed in an eerie red light. How this song got perceived as a love song I’ll never know. It was about a sick love obsession.

Over the years I hear the young kids go, “Oh who cares about that stuff, REM was long before my time.” Trust me, you wish you were there. This show was nothing but historic.

 
 
 
   
REM in 1987 and the Birth of Alternative Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Crisler Arena >>>>

BBQ NATION: Looking at barbeque restaurants, Chef Noodles BBQ & Corned Beef in Wixom, Michigan

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