FIRST LOOK: Mighty Quinn's Barbeque at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong
On the menu: Brontosaurus Rib.
Mighty Quinn's Barbeque
3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City
Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) There’s no question that pit master Hugh Mangum loves barbecue. The passion is evident as he speaks to us about his meat-smoking methods, a lot of which he learned from his father, who hails from Houston, Texas. But what results is a style that is truly his own: from the wood (which toes a delicate line between too dry and too green) and the smoker (shipped all the way from the home of true barbecue—Texas, of course), to the way he handles the meats.
Hugh Mangum in action
Hugh calls it the “New York Flair,” and it’s something he brings to every iteration of Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque, from the East Village to the newest branch, in SM Megamall. His real test, he shares, is tasting the barbecue with his eyes closed—it should taste exactly like the ones served in New York.
Of course there’s room for variation; Hugh likes to have fun with local flavors, playing around with the acidity of calamansi and the extra heat from local chilis. But the goal here is to get local diners well acquainted with real American barbecue.
The portions, for one, are definitely hefty. Come with a hungry stomach and banish all thoughts of diets because a single serving of meat could very well feed two people. It's easy to be transfixed by the cafeteria-style assembly line as they prepare your choice of protein and sides, as well as the satisfying thud you hear as the ribs are placed on the chopping board.
Tray of Brisket, Burnt Ends, Brontosaurus Rib, and Pulled Pork
Carvers slice through the Brisket (P495/single serving, P1295/by the pound) as if it were butter, the beef giving way with the slight prodding of a fork. The generous layer of fat is charred to peak caramelization, adding flavorful succulence.
Go for the Burnt Ends (P495/single serving, P1295/by the pound) if you like your barbecue, well, burnt, but it doesn’t get charred to the point of being overwhelming. Instead you get tender meat with slightly crisp smoky ends.
But the real showstopper is the Brontosaurus Rib (P1450/single serving)—you won’t be able to keep your eyes away from this giant from the moment it’s placed on the chopping board till you bring it on a tray to your table. It’s amazingly easy to carve but it’s better to just dig in with your hands—we're pretty sure everyone would totally get you.
While not as theatrical as the ribs, the Pulled Pork (P485/single serving, P1290/by the pound) also deserves the spotlight. The hand-pulled meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a distinct smokiness shining through the sweet glaze.
Few tend to pay attention to anything else that isn’t barbecue in a smokehouse, but the Chicken Wings (P405/six wings, P685/10 wings) are not to be overlooked—Hugh shares that this is actually his must-have from the menu. One bite and you'll immediately get why. Each piece is flavored with a dry rub of lime, garlic, and a special chili sauce, which is then smoked then deep-fried. The result is flavor-packed chicken with refreshing tanginess and heat from the chili that warms without burning the palate.
Sides (P165/small, P325/medium, P645/large)
With the amount of effort required in perfecting the barbecue, we’d easily forgive unremarkable sides, but really, that’s not the case at Mighty Quinn’s. Hugh had fun incorporating Filipino flavors into his classic Potato Salad, with a spiciness that cuts through the cold creaminess, or the Slaw, made with vinegar instead of mayonnaise, for a zesty flavor that will cool your palate. You won’t be able to go back to plain ol’ mashed potato once you’ve had the Sweet Potato Casserole, with a nice nutty flavor. Another classic is the Burnt End Baked Beans, with the distinct smokey flavor of the burnt end bits rounding out the tasty stew.
Mighty Quinn's adds their own fun flair to the Filipino staple with the Dirty Rice (P89/small, P175/medium, P265/large). Hugh is a huge fan of calamansi and he tops the rice generously with a sauce made with the fruit, resulting in a side that has the right amount of acidity to counter and complement the strong flavors of his barbecue.
They've already got future specials up their sleeves, but for now, dig enthusiastically into your tray of perfectly smoked, perfectly tender barbecue—bet you'll be planning your next visit after the first bite.
Mighty Quinn's Barbeque will open on December 13, Tuesday. (Original opening date posted was moved at owner's discretion.)