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Mabel's is one of the restaurants of Cleveland-native chef, Michael Symon. You may have seen him on Iron Chef, Burgers, Brews & Que, or ABC's The Chew. Check out the recipe behind his signature Mabel's dish on Rachel Ray in the video below. What makes Symon stand out is his passionate but approachable style of cooking, which you'll see come to life at Mabel's. This style of cooking is a part of Symon's roots; his first job was the rib cook at Geppetto's.
Symon's "Cleveland Barbecue" can be considered a variation on the Carolina-style BBQ, which is mustard-based. At Mabel's, they use Bertman's Ballpark Mustard and Eastern European Spices to give the sauce its signature tang. The meat itself is smoked over cherry and sometimes apple wood. The final ingredient here is patience, up to 14 hours of smoking for the brisket here.
Mabel's is an homage to its hometown. Not only are the meats smoked on local fruitwood, but the Eastern European spices are a nod to the city's heritage, the rotating sides incorporate locally sourced ingredients, and the European-Style bread comes from the city's West Side Market.
Depending on your barbecue style, you can't go wrong with the brisket or the ribs. Mabel's serves up both classics with exceptional attention to detail. As for the rest of the menu, make sure to try the pig ears and the pork spare ribs. Finish your tray off with a side of the tomato salad if its in season or the glazed local carrots. It may be difficult, but if you save room for dessert, you won't be disappointed. Symon's refined version of the classic banana pudding is not to be missed.
As for drinks, you won't have trouble finding the perfect barbecue pairing. In fact, the challenge may be limiting your options down. The two-page whiskey menu at Mabel's includes Scotch, bourbon, rye, corn, wheat, Canadian, Irish, and Japanese whiskeys. But that's not all, the wine list is extensive and they always have a couple of dozen beers on draught.
Cover image by Edsel Little on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.