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Stickey Fingers offers barbecue
MARYSVILLE Having grown up with people who took their barbecuing very seriously, Kelly Jermyn probably is in a position to make the following statement with some degree of authority.
"I just decided there was no good barbecue around here," Jermyn said. "Most of the time, when I would go somewhere, I would walk away disappointed."
With that in mind, Jermyn gave up a sales career and launched Stickey Fingers Bar-B-Que on State Avenue just north of 88th Street.
The move has paid off, with the small restaurant attracting big crowds, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
When he started the restaurant in November, Jermyn said he was buying his specially made sauce in gallon jugs. He now gets it in 50-gallon drums. Jermyn figures initially he was going through maybe 200 pounds of meat a week. That figure currently sits at around 800 pounds.
"What we're trying to do is get competitive cooking flavor on a more massive scale," Jermyn said.
Again, he would seem to know of what he speaks. While Jermyn has never cooked competitively himself, his dad certainly did. In 2000, Wayne Jermyn was part of a team that won a world championship for hot wings at a competition in Ireland.
"It takes a lot of effort to get to that point," Kelly Jermyn said.
The win in Ireland is probably the high point in a career of competitive cooking that had Wayne Jermyn and his recipes traveling around the country and the world. While Wayne Jermyn has retired, Kelly's brother is still out wining ribbons. Not surprisingly, many of Wayne Jermyn's recipes, perhaps most importantly his rubs and sauces, are now staples at Stickey Fingers.
"We took our time and we experimented with our recipes until we got them to where we wanted them to be," Kelly Jermyn said.
His rub doesn't have any special ingredients, he added, just the usual salt, pepper, onion powder and so on.
"It's all about the proportion of the ingredients," Jermyn said.
As for his sauce, he said while it is prepared elsewhere, the recipe is certainly original. He described it as a Kansas-style sauce, tomato, not vinegar, based.
Besides tweaking his dad's recipes, Jermyn said finding the right cooker was key. His meats can spend a good deal of time in that cooker: briskets about 14 hours, pork butts between 10 and 12.
"They call it low and slow," Jermyn said of his low temperature, long time cooking method. "It breaks down the tissues of the meat so it becomes tender."
If he doesn't make his sauce from scratch, Jermyn said he insists everything else is made fresh, everyday, from the coleslaw to the chicken and ribs. Only the bigger cuts of meat, because of their long cooking times, get reheated. Because of the make-it-fresh approach, Jermyn said he has run out of food on busy nights.
Besides chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, Jermyn said some other popular Stickey Fingers menu items include burritos and a creation he dubbed the "spud bomb:" a huge baked potato with the works and more, including meat.
For now, even though he considers his still new enterprise a success, Jermyn has no plans to move or expand.
"We wanted a nice little cozy spot," he said. "There's something to be said about being known as that little place with the flames on the roof."
Jermyn was referring to the wooden flames, created by his brother, that decorate the outside of the Stickey Fingers restaurant.
Besides be willing to stay put on State for now, Jermyn has no plans to get into competitive cooking.
"It's very time consuming," he said, adding there is little financial motive for entering competitions.
"It's mostly for bragging rights," Jermyn said. "I don't have to compete with other people. I know my food is good."