Arrogant Swine in Brooklyn

Tyson Ho smoking

Pitmaster Tyson Ho smoking some hogs

While barbecue might be a traditionally southern style of cooking, in recent years pitmasters have started to stake out claims up north in Brooklyn: Fette Sau, Hometown Barbecue, Briskettown, just to name a few.  And this summer, East Williamsburg has added yet another name to that list: Arrogant Swine, a beer and barbecue hall set up by Tyson Ho.

Arrogant Swine’s format is designed to emulate the feeling of a communal pig picking, which Ho tested out during his Hog Days of Summer pop-up meals from last year.  He’ll be honoring the Carolina tradition he was trained on by serving west Carolina-style outside brown, and the menu will also include a selection of country hams from around the US, aimed at establishing the restaurant as what Ho calls a “church of pork”.

Ho has been searching for a place to start a restaurant since Hog Days last year in an effort to make a name for himself and feel out possible restaurant locations in Greenpoint and Long Island City.  Since he quit his financial technology job two weeks after his final event in September last year, Ho has devoted most of his time to finding a new space for his temple of swine.  Although both prospective neighborhoods supported his endeavors, Ho discovered a lower-rent East Williamsburg location that could be just what he was looking for.  For him, the experience from eating whole hog is part of the communal aspect around pig picking, which in North Carolina is a party, which people have to celebrate everything, from birthdays to weddings.  While replicating that party tradition in an urban setting proved challenging, Ho was able to find a wildly spacious yet relatively isolated space that’s allowed him to do just that.

Although Ho grew up Flushing’s Chinese community, he doesn’t identify too strongly with Chinese culture.  While he grew up with such flavors such as chili paste and soy sauce, it’s been barbecue that Ho really feels to be his own.  Ho doesn’t identify as Chinese, but rather as American, and for him, barbecue was a way to carve out what it means to be an American.