Since learning the art of barbecue from a young age, pitmaster Richard (Ric) Tilghman Brice V has been practicing and refining his barbecue skills and serving barbecue to the public since 1998. His love for barbecue led him to start a catering business and then opening Hot Off the Coals in 2014.
The smoky, sweet scents of Brice’s barbecue are apparent even before the sign comes into view on U.S. Route 50. Lucky diners will arrive when Brice or his head chef, Matthew Provencher, are pulling meat off the smoker (which is located in front of the business) in time for the meal.
In the tradition of barbecue, a staple of large, outdoor get-togethers, Hot Off the Coals provides dishes that are perfect to share with a group.
Served on a fresh bun, the brisket is a mouth-watering pile of meat slathered in a special barbecue sauce.
The Slaughterhouse Brisket is close to Brice’s heart. The rub was a gift from the late Richard Slaughter, a friend of Brice’s and resident of Oxford. When Brice was beginning his business, he asked Slaughter for his rub recipe, and after much thought, Slaughter gave it to him on the condition that Brice name it after him. The Slaughterhouse Brisket is still served in honor of Slaughter and his friendship.
The beef brisket is covered in Slaughter’s rub and then set for 24 hours. After eight hours in the smoker, it rests for a while before it is ready to be cut. Brice emphasizes the importance of the cut – he cuts the brisket across the grain, in one-eighth-inch thickness.
This is his art, and his methods are ever-changing.
“The art of food is all about doing better – finding something that makes it better than it already is,” Brice said.
The masterpiece brisket is best served with the unique smoked baked beans and sweet, cake-like hushpuppies. The smoked baked beans are a “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that,” said Brice, and they complement the smokiness of the brisket. For a sweet balance, pop a hushpuppy into your mouth. Instead of the usual onion flavor, Hot Off the Coals’ hushpuppies are sweeter and served with honey butter.
To bring the whole meal together, serve it with a pint of Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager — a classic craft beer.
Other pairings are available, of course. Guests will be blown away by Brice’s grandfather’s coleslaw recipe or the seven-cheese macaroni-and-cheese. Or choose from stewed tomatoes, red potato salad, green beans, or collard greens.