Food

Plaza’s BBQ Feast Can Give Their Legendary Ham a Run for Its Money

What used to be exclusive to the US Embassy’s Fourth of July shindig is now available to anyone with a craving for grilled and smoked meats.
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Back in 2009, the US Embassy in Manila wanted to throw a classic American barbecue to celebrate their Independence Day. They called on legendary caterer The Plaza to put it together for them.

“We didn’t really have a barbecue menu for our catered events,” The Plaza’s hard-working heiress Karla Reyes admits, “so we quickly had to come up with one.”

Luckily, The Plaza’s CFO (Karla’s uncle) and resident cool guy Ray “Ski-Ray” Reyes was up to the task. “I have always enjoyed barbecuing,” the super-chill elder Reyes drawls, who admits to having developed an obsession with grills and smokers.

He happily does the research and development for the barbecue menu, testing his recipes on family and friends. After years of servicing the US Embassy for their barbecue events, their menu has grown enough to finally be offered as an option to the rest of The Plaza’s clients.

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Ski-Ray is most proud of his beer-can chickens. They are literally whole, dry-rubbed chickens sitting on beer cans as they are grilled, allowing the beer to flavor and keep the meat moist. It's a healthy choice alongside the plank grilled salmon.

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However, The Plaza regulars would know that one can never go wrong with their beef dishes. The smoked beef ribs are massive and impressive in terms of both size and flavor. It comes accompanied by a rich brown gravy which is good, but smothering it with the Jack Daniel barbecue sauce is highly recommended. The spicy stuff is actually good on everything. 

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Sides play a huge part in barbecue culture, and The Plaza made sure their classics are well-executed. Corn on the cob, creamy mashed potatoes, and coleslaw are reliable mainstays. The mac and cheese is prepared ala minute and is a gooey blend of imported cheeses, topped with bacon if desired. Elote or Mexican-Style corn is served shredded for less complicated munching.

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Karla left no stone unturned and developed the most American dessert she can conjure—a s’mores cheesecake brownie. “I literally had to bake it before leaving for another catering event last night,” she snickered. “I really had no idea how it would turn out. While setting up this morning, I tried it for the first time and was like ‘OMG.’” It had the perfect fudgy texture enhanced by the creamy cheesecake center, plus the smoky sweetness of torched mallows. 

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While it’s customary to cool down at an outdoor barbecue with a cold beer or soda, Karla’s side business Swizzle Mobile Bar offers a slushie machine which can churn out anything from frozen iced teas to strawberry margaritas. Quite a brilliant match, really, especially in this humid tropical weather.

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For inquiries, contact The Plaza at 7290001-03 or email at [email protected]. Follow @theplazainc on Instagram. 

For Swizzle Mobile Bar, call or text 09257949953 or email at [email protected]. Follow @swizzlemobilebar on Instagram.

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About The Author
Jaclyn Clemente Koppe
Chinkee writes and eats for a living. By living, she means cake. Or steak. When she's not eating, she's running her own blog-shop, OneBigBite.com.
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