Show 284, August 4, 2018: Executive Chef Mike Minor, Border Grill Las Vegas, BBQ Mexicana

Mike Minor of Truck U Barbecue in Las VegasWhen we last spoke with Chef Mike Minor last December, the Executive Chef for Mary Sue Milliken’s and Susan Feniger’s Border Grill in Las Vegas, he teased us with news that a BBQ concept was in the works. That has now launched as BBQ Mexicana, a quick service eatery located across the corridor from Border Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The menu was created by Mary Sue and Susan in collaboration with Chef Mike, a passionate BBQ master.

Inspired by Mary Sue and Susan’s travels to Mexico, where they fell in love with delicious barbacoa and smoked meats, the menu at BBQ Mexicana offers a variety of burritos, bowls, and salads filled with mesquite smoked chicken, pulled pork, slow smoked Texas-style brisket, and smoked tofu in addition to aguas frescas, beers and margaritas to go. BBQ Mexicana is ideal for convention attendees and those seeking a good meal on the go before continuing on to the casino, pool, convention center, or exploring Las Vegas.

Not to be missed is the Slow Smoked Brisket Burnt Ends Burrito with chipotle coleslaw, crispy potatoes, Manchego cheese and BBQ mole sauce.

Current hours are Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with select mornings and weekends.

We pull Chef Mike away from the smoker for a meaty chat.


Show 258, January 27, 2018: Chef Derrick Foster, Ember BBQ, Santa Ana

Derrick FosterReal-deal Kansas City-style barbecue has arrived in Orange County with the launch of Ember BBQ in Santa Ana under the watchful direction of Chefs Derrick Foster and Kylie Gordon. Chef Derrick was born and raised in Kansas City.

Ember BBQ is located within Native Son Alehouse. Ember BBQ serves a limited “Snack Menu” on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a full “Smokehouse Menu” Thursday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

With an on-site smoker, Chef Derrick stays true to Kansas City-style barbecue tradition and history by featuring a variety of meats rubbed with a blend of spices and slow-smoked over hickory wood. His “Smokehouse Menu” features sliced-to-order 1855 Certified Angus Beef Brisket from Colorado, St. Louis Ribs, Smoked Chicken, and Pulled Pork.

He showcases creativity in dishes such as Hogchos, his take on traditional nachos, using chicharron in place of tortilla chips, topped with pulled pork, smoked cheese sauce, pork jerky, pickled onion, sour cream, jalapenos and his housemade BBQ sauce.

Traditional sides are prepared with the utmost attention, including his Rancho Gordo BBQ Beans, which are peppered with brisket burnt ends; Cheesy Corn, which features a Mornay sauce and fresh-off-the-cobb corn; and made-from-scratch traditional banana pudding.

“Kansas City has more than 100 barbecue joints and many have national recognition – I’m trying to bring some of that excitement to Orange County,” explains Chef Derrick, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park who has worked in the kitchens of Corton, The Musket Room, The Rieger and Le Bernardin. “This is definitely food that requires patience and passion, and I’m excited to share my love for it with local diners.”

Kansas City-style barbecue refers to the specific regional style of slowly smoked meats that originated in the early 1900s in Kansas City, Missouri. Chef Derrick’s menu showcases a wide variety of meats, from pork and sausage, to chicken and beef, including Burnt Ends, which are distinctive to Kansas City.

We’re getting fired up with Chef Derrick.