There isn’t much you can’t find in São Paulo. From the boutique shops and nightclubs of Itiam Bibi, to the lush landscape of Moema, the world’s third-largest city seemed to have something for everyone.
Unless you wanted good, smoked, Texas Barbeque.
In steps Blake Watkins, a true Texan and part owner of BOS BBQ, who just opened the doors of Brazil’s first-ever genuine American style barbeque restaurant in August of this year. São Paulo restaurants have plenty to offer, but until the addition of BOS BBQ, barbeque and bourbon enthusiasts alike had no place to hang their hat and enjoy some of the country’s freshest pork and most inventive bourbon infusions.
Because we had to know more about what it takes to be the first person ever to introduce barbeque to a country, we recently jumped on the opportunity to ask Blake a few questions about the origins of this maverick restaurant.
Oasis Collections: As an “American-style” barbecue joint in São Paulo, is the menu totally authentic Texas BBQ or have you incorporated local fare?
Blake Watkins: It’s a fusion of sorts. BOS BBQ follows the culinary tradition of Texas’s oldest Barbecue Houses, using wood as its only source for smoking Real Pit Barbecue. It offers some of the most traditional cuts, such as Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, Smoked Turkey and Chicken. But BOS is unique in that it offers traditional Brazilian cuts like Picanha and Bife de Chorizo, all smoked in Brazil’s First Barbecue Pit. The local fare also includes grilled meats like Fraldinha and Bife de Tira, a 700g Prime Rib and traditional Brazilian appetizers such as croquetes and pastels (with a Barbecue Twist).
OC: You brought the first BBQ pit ever to Brazil, do you think that when Brazilians look back 100 years from now, you’ll be revered as a pioneer of Texas Barbeque?
Blake Watkins: Indeed we designed and built Brazil’s first barbecue pit. Pioneers? Maybe. We are just happy to already be perceived as a genuine place with zero aspects of imitation.
OC: Can you tell us about your Tequila and Bourbon infusions? Are those the best spirits to pair with Barbeque?
Blake Watkins: All Cocktails at BOS BBQ Bourbon & Tequila Bar were created to pair with our culinary creations. Our bar focuses on artisanal cocktails from the mid-19th and early-20th centuries with flavors such as the Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Aviation, and Horse’s Neck, among others. House creations include the Diablo Margarita, prepared with a Habanero-Reposado Tequila infusion to give its distinctive spicy flavor and the Bacon Manhattan. It’s prepared from a unique infusion of Bacon and Bourbon, revamping the traditional Manhattan with a deep smoky flavor. Other house creations include our homemade bitters and even our own Ginger Ale.
OC: I’ve been told that one of the first desserts on the menu, chocolate cake, was actually a recipe from Mom. Are there any other home touches that made their way into the final BOS product?
Blake Watkins: Home touches are everywhere. After all, Barbecue is all about family and comfort food.
OC: For a first-time guest, what is the one dish they would regret not trying?
Blake Watkins: First time guests shouldn’t miss the Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork, the BOS Burger and the Picanha. Can’t miss appetizers are the Brisket and Smoked Cheese Pastels as well as the Chili com Carne.
OC: If you could invite anyone — living or dead — to BOS BBQ, who would you invite?
Blake Watkins: Our dream table would be Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger and Joey Ramone. Our hostess is working on that.
OC: Your meats are smoked for at least 12 hours – can you tell us more about that?
Blake Watkins: Our meats are smoked to perfection. Some of them take 13 hours, others just 3. Production finishes just when its time to start serving our guests. The food is always fresh. Freshness, by the way, is a fundamental principle to us. We operate only with fresh meats and ingredients and no freezers!
OC: Hypothetically, when you get tired of BBQ, what is your go-to restaurant in São Paulo? Hypothetically, of course.
Blake Watkins: We never get tired of Barbecue! We do however love other places in São Paulo with a similar laid back atmosphere and top-quality food. Those include: Bar da Dona Onça (in São Paulo Downtown for traditional Brazilian food with a contemporary twist), Mocotó (off the beaten track restaurant for traditional Northeastern food) and Izakaya Issa (a japanese style bar in Liberdade).
OC: BOS has been enjoying huge success, keeping you very busy. When you have time to relax, what does your ideal day in São Paulo include?
Blake Watkins: A great destination in São Paulo is the Ibirapuera Park, especially when there are outdoor concerts. São Paulo also has some of Latin America’s greatest museums. Our favorite is Pinacote Municipal (the building itself is already worth the trip). For a cozier artsy atmosphere we go to Grafitti Gallery Choque Cultural. The local and and international concert list is extensive all year round.
OC: You consistently get rave reviews on everything from the innovative cocktails to the homemade sauces. Aside from the menu, what sets you apart from other restaurants in the area?
Blake Watkins: Besides the food and cocktails, what sets us apart from other restaurants in the city is our atmosphere. We are probably the first restaurant in São Paulo to offer top quality food in a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. Some people may look at us from the street and think we are a bar…until the put their eyes on our menu and say, “WOW! These guys are serious about food.”Brazil, Sao Paulo