By Tarik Moody Special to Published Nov 23, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Barbecue is an art form.

It’s not just lighting up your backyard gas or charcoal grill and throwing on brats or chicken. It can take years and sometimes decades to master.  

According to the barbeque website, "Barbecue embodies history and tradition. Since its obscure beginnings, it has been cooked with heat and smoke from wood or wood coals. Wood smoke defines real barbecue. Without it, one has merely roast meat – 'faux 'cue.'"

Barbecue is also more than just a cuisine. It communicates a sense of place.

Author John Shelton Reed once said, "Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes."   

In South Carolina, whole-hog barbecue reigns supreme with either a mustard sauce or tomato-vinegar sauce (depending where you are in South Carolina). In North Carolina, pork shoulder dominates in the west and whole-hog in the east. Kentucky gravitates to mutton, usually served with a stew called burgoo. Kansas City is known for burnt ends and heavy sauce, usually thick and sweet. In Alabama, it’s chicken with a unique white sauce made with mayonnaise and vinegar.

But what about Milwaukee? Barbecue joints in Milwaukee usually imitate other styles from the south. Until now.

A new barbecue joint, Iron Grate BBQ Co., is aiming to define a style of barbecue for Milwaukee. Iron Grate will be a "meat and three" style restaurant.

Chef and owner Aaron Patin (former sous chef at Ardent, who also worked at SURG's Charro) has developed a cut of rib called the Milwaukee-style rib. It’s a special cut with part of the belly still attached. Patin has also built his own smokers. One is portable, named Roxanne after The Police song. The other is Edna – the main smoker for Iron Grate. In addition to the Milwaukee-style ribs, Patin will serve brisket, pork shoulder and house-made hot links. There will be only one style of sauce: tomato-based with vinegar and spices. Patin also developed his own sides, including smoked grits.  

Iron Grate BBQ Co. will open later in November at 4177 S. Howell Ave. It will share a space with Hawthorne Coffee.

Watch the video below to learn more about the making of Milwaukee-style Barbecue.

Tarik Moody Special to
Originally from Atlanta, Tarik Moody graduated in 1996 from Howard University's School Of Architecture in Washington D.C. He practiced architecture in Detroit and Minneapolis.

While working full­-time in the architecture industry in Minneapolis, he became a volunteer for community radio station KFAI. Eventually he co­-hosted the station's long­running "Groove Garden" show. That led to other shows, including "Rhythm Lab Radio" on Minnesota Public Radio's music station called The Current. In 2006, he was approached by 88Nine RadioMilwaukee.

Tarik made the leap from architecture to radio, and now works as the evening music host, and digital and online community manager for 88Nine RadioMilwaukee. He still hosts the award-­winning "Rhythm Lab Radio" on 88Nine RadioMilwaukee and still has a passion for architecture and design.

Tarik served for 14 years in the Army Reserves. His last position was as a captain in a Public Affairs unit outside of Chicago.