In Good Taste: Randolph’s Smoke House
If you ever stop by Randolph’s Smoke House, it’s likely that you’ll find owner Stephen Randolph in front of the barbecue smoker cooking up the meat. That’s because he has a technique for smoking that ensures it’s cooked correctly.
“The meat doesn’t fall off the bone because we consider that to be backyard barbecue,” he points out. “But on a professional level, we want our ribs to pull away from the bone so you can bite into the side and see a teeth print. There is a difference between backyard barbecue and professional barbecuing.”
There’s one thing that this California native knows well, and that’s cooking. He got his start in cooking at Markham Junior High School’s chef’s club while growing up in nearby Nickerson Gardens Projects. Soon, he was cooking for family and eventually traveled the country working and eating at the best barbecue spots. Along the ways, he’s gained experience that has helped Randolph’s keep a steady stream of customers coming in.
“I do all the meat in our large smoker—a hickory smoker where you can cook up to 350 pounds of meat at one time. We cook our pork by itself, and the chicken by itself because we don’t want droppings from meat to the next,” he explains. “Some cookeries don’t take the time to clean off the fat like we do. My preparation is to take it out the box and remove as much fat as possible but leave some so the juices will blend in with the meat.”
He adds, “My fire never touches the meat. A lot of people grill, but I smoke—and there’s quite a difference. With grilling, there’s a chance of cancerous properties being transferred to the meat from the grill. With smoking that cannot happen. In grilling, the fat is sealed into the meat. In smoking, the fat drips off and caught in the bottom chamber. Smoking gives a different flavor and it’s healthier.”
Launched in 2010, Randolph started the eatery to provide a quality barbecue restaurant in the community, which he says was lacking. Fact is entrepreneurship runs in the family. Randolph took over Chambers Shine Parlor and Shoe Repair from his father-in-law and his only son Stephen Randolph now runs it.
“We see it as our social responsibility to give more jobs to our community,” Randolph says.