If driving Lexington's Tates Creek corridor makes you a little hungrier these days, this might be why: Meats BBQ Mkt is opening in the Lansdowne Shoppes.
Meats — from the Bluegrass Hospitality Group behind sister restaurants Malone's, Sal's, OBC Kitchen, Drake's and Aqua Sushi — will begin serving to customers Oct. 19.
But the neighborhood probably already knows it's coming just from the delicious smells wafting from the new smokehouse out back where they have been creating menu items.
This is no ordinary barrel-shaped smoker. Inside the outbuilding are three hardwood-fired smokers that each can hold more than 2,000 pounds of hand-rubbed meat.
Pitmaster Roberto Alvarez will load them with slabs of brisket and pork, ribs, chicken, turkey, salmon and more, including jalapeno-cheddar sausages from The Chop Shop in Hazel Green and mutton from a Kentucky farmer.
What will distinguish Meats BBQ Mkt from the many other barbecue joints dotting Lexington's landscape?
For one thing, chef Alan Lamoureux said, there won't be any pulled pork.
"Often, pulled pork is dry," he said. His pork will be sliced or chopped. "This way it's very moist, more flavorful and eats better."
Pulling the muscle apart can result in a stringier, chewier texture, he said.
The restaurant, which is going into the former Harry's Patio space, will be fast-casual, with customers selecting meat, sauce and sides as they come through a cafeteria-style line.
For those who like sauce, there will be seven to choose from, covering the barbecue geography, including a Kentucky bourbon, a sweet Memphis style, a habanero Texas style, North Carolina vinegar style, South Carolina mustard style, the somewhat unusual Alabama white style and a horseradish dill.
"We want to represent every region," Lamoureux said.
BHG owners Brian McCarty and Bruce Drake scouted barbecue all over the country to decide what they wanted to serve.
Meats also wants to feature local produce in its sides, which include traditional favorites like mac and cheese; confetti slaw; potato salad; baked pork and beans with navy, pinto and great northern beans; Low Country green beans with pork; and seasonal items like cobblers, tomato and cucumber salad, shoepeg corn pudding and bourbon sweet potato mash.
There will be seating for 56, but Meats expects a lot of the business will be carry-out and catering. Meats will take orders online, too.
The place will cook a lot of meat but probably still will run out, Alvarez said, adding that he would load the smokers in the afternoon and evening, and pull out the cooked meat every morning.
"The meat will always be served fresh, never reheated," Lamoureux said. "Our goal is by the end of the day not to have anything left."