We had the pleasure of visiting the new restaurant Sammy’s House of BBQ at 258 W. 44th St., in Manhattan. Sammy’s opened up on June 22, and the kitchen is run by pitmaster “Big” Lou Elrose. Big Lou is a retired New York City Police Officer who has always had a passion for cooking, and he specializes in BBQ. In the past, Big Lou has had the opportunity to cook with many famous chefs and pitmasters such as Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay. After concluding his career with the NYPD, a friend invited him to join his competition BBQ team and his BBQ passion was ignited. He never went to culinary school, he is self-taught. He spent several years perfecting his craft in the competition circuit and then began working as a pitmaster in New York City. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a meal prepared by Big Lou himself. The meal included BBQ Ribs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and homemade corn bread. Everything tasted incredible.

Big Lou went into great detail with us about why and how he chooses to make each of his dishes. He explained that he has developed these recipes over the years and takes great pride in sharing these meals with others. In addition to the delicious foods, Big Lou has developed four homemade barbecue sauces. They range from sweet to spicy, so there is surely one for everyone’s taste buds. Big Lou says he hopes to have these for sale to the public shortly.

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We asked him what happened when he goes to someone’s house for a barbeque. Do they expect him to barbecue? He told us, “Yeah. Most of the time when I go to people’s houses, I end up at the grill. Most people tend to overcook things.”

We asked him if Sammy’s is OK for vegetarians. Big Lou said, “I do have salads and veggie burgers and vegetarian options. In my restaurant I had a great vegetarian chili that I put on the menu for my cousin Bob. I put smoked tofu in for him. “

Big Lou joined us for our meal, telling us stories about his life before becoming a pitmaster, his passion for cooking, his kids and especially his 7-year-old grandson. A second location will be opening soon on 55th Street, but for now we can all enjoy a delicious meal specially seasoned and crafted by Chef Big Lou at Sammy’s House of BBQ! We give this restaurant a 5-smile rating.