Every dark cloud has a silver lining, no? Cliché, I know, but when I heard that Bitter Bob’s in New Hope closed in December 2016, I was sad as I often am when I see a local place shut its doors.
But here’s the good news. Barbecue has returned to New Hope in the same location. And not just any barbecue; Marty Hadicke’s ‘que.
You may remember Marty when he had the Old Tyme BBQ stand in the Stockton Market six or seven years ago. Marty had been doing barbecue as part of his catering business and market manager Dawn McBeth encouraged him to serve a wider audience by coming to the market.
Although Marty left Stockton some time ago (replaced by Mighty Quinn BBQ, then More Than Q), he has kept busy with his catering business. Now he’s ready to settle down in a brick-and-mortar. With the help of partner Louis Zanias , owner of Nina’s Waffles, they have brought barbecue back to South Main Street.
Let’s talk meat
Marty looks like someone you’d expect to see at a barbecue competition – grizzled beard, rosy cheeks, and some heft topped by a baseball cap. He’s a sweet man, who talks soft and low, with a natural shyness and modesty.
When I asked him how he got into barbecue, he shrugs. “It’s not rocket science. You cook it slow and low,” he says, repeating the old mantra.
The menu has pretty much every kind of meat to make a BBQ fan happy: ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pastrami, Texas pit beef, smoked chicken wings and pulled chicken. All the meats are smoked in-house, in the kitchen.
“Ribs are a big seller,” says Marty, describing his version of St Louis style. “We’ve found that people like a meaty rib so if you were to buy a St Louis rib in the grocery store it might be really trimmed down to where it looks very rectangular. Ours is a little more meatier.”
Special too is Marty’s brisket, using a method referred to as Texas-style.
“There are some people who keep the brisket in the smoker the whole time, open,” Marty explains.
“I do what’s called—some purists don’t like it—but it’s called a Texas Crutch.” After being in the smoker six hours, the brisket is wrapped in foil so that it braises, instead of getting hard on the outside.
“I kind of came up with that on my own,” he smiles. “And then I read in books that it’s called the Texas Crutch. It makes it more tender and juicy, which is similar to when they steam pastrami.”
“My pastrami is a little different too. I call it double-smoked pastrami. I do a brisket pastrami then I smoke it, then wrap it.”
I notice that brisket and pastrami are only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I think I know why but I ask anyway.
“It isn’t something you want to reheat. You need the weekend volume to do it right,” Marty explains (Yes! That was the right answer.). “We slice it right from the roast and put it on a sandwich.”
Let’s talk sauces
On the table, you’ll find at least four different sauces, all with a different take on your traditional barbecue topping.
“They are all mine…well, more or less my own,” he admits, adding that his recipe for the “Back to Memphis” sauce owes a little to Bob Gibson’s Memphis sauce.
But all his is the Ancho-mima, made from the mild ancho pepper and maple syrup; a “Holy Mole,” which is a barbecue adaptation of a Mexican mole; and a chipotle sauce. For the brisket, Marty developed the “Trail Boss,” which has some of the attributes of his Memphis sauce but more flavors of cumin, coriander and ancho peppers.
And this is…?
The menu ranges from smoked barbecue meats, to burgers and sandwiches, to traditional Southern favorites like fried catfish, country fried pork steak, fried chicken and jambalaya. Only two salads (sorry, my vegetarian friends) but barbecue people don’t really care about vegetables anyway.
Several dishes intrigued me so I asked Marty to explain. This should make you happy.
Frizzled Onion Loaf?
“Sliced onions soaked in milk and dredged in seasoned flour, and then fried in a small basket. When it comes out it looks like a loaf. It also comes with a chipotle aioli.”
“We collect the juices from the smoker and use that with other stock and make a gravy.”
Fabulous Feast for Two?
“It’s a big meal. Half a rack of Memphis ribs, two chicken thighs, smoked wings, smoked sausage, pulled pork, pork belly and sliced brisket. And cole slaw and cornbread. Two of me couldn’t finish that!”
How about the names of the burgers, like the “604,” the “110,” the “523”?
“My partner in this is Louis Zanias from Nina’s Waffles. I did some barbecue at the Nina’s in Sergeantsville last summer, so I took the name of the nearby streets and routes — 604, 523, 32. ‘110’ is the address here.”
What style is the pulled pork? (e.g., North Carolina, Memphis, etc.)
“We pull it to order and then you can put whatever sauce you want on it. That came from when I was at the (Stockton) market, easier for people to make it the way they want.”
What are some of your favorites on the menu?
“I like the ribs, I like the pulled pork – I’d have to say those are my favorites.”
And after partaking of a lovely sampling of Marty’s Smoke Shack meats, I’ll agree on the pulled pork. It’s served “naked” so you can choose the sauce you’d like. The Texas Pit Beef was also a winner.
Marty’s is open for lunch and dinner, and breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays (see the website for menus). Take-out is also available, and Marty’s caters large events as well.
Starters: $6 – $10
Sandwiches & Burgers: $9 – $14
The restaurant seats 40 inside and 60 outside on the patio.
Marty’s Smoke Shack
110 South Main Street
New Hope, PA 18938