Dan’s GrillHampton Countdown: Hill Country Barbecue Market’s Ash Fulk

Ash Fulk of Hill Country BBQ tending a grill full of tri-tip
Ash Fulk of Hill Country BBQ tending a grill full of tri-tip, Photo: Daniel Gonzalez

Ash Fulk is the Director of Culinary Operations for Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York. But as he says, “most people just call me Chef!” Ash, in addition to sporting the ideal name for a barbecue chef, has some advantages over this year’s GrillHampton competition. He has family ties to North Carolina, “hill country,” a revered barbecue hotbed. He says that the phrase “taste of summer” takes his mind to “the smell of charcoal smoke and grass.”

Meet Fulk and try his delicious work at Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef on July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox, as he competes with Team NYC. He promises that his succulent barbecue will “make your mouth scream for more.”

Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in northern California, but my father was originally from North Carolina. I spent time in the South and fell in love with its food, especially barbecue. There were always a lot people at my house and growing up we would all cook together as friends. At Hill Country we create a similar place, where you can stuff your face with delicious food and enjoy good times with friends and family.

What’s your earliest food memory?
I’m not sure if I remember this or if it has been told to me so many times it has become memory. When I was a kid I had completely impacted sinuses to the point that I couldn’t hear, and I couldn’t taste. I had to have several surgeries to sort it all out. Shortly after getting back from the hospital my mom gave me pepperoni pizza. I took one bite of the pizza and exclaimed, “This tastes!”

How does cooking on the East End inform your culinary creativity?
It’s great out here. I had probably one of the best chickens of my life from Iacono’s chicken farm. Amazing!

What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of chefs?
This job is hard, keep your head down and ears up.

What Long Island wine are you drinking these days?
Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s Summer in a Bottle Rosé, of course!

What’s the most unusual substitution you’ve ever been asked to make?
BLT: hold the bacon.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?
It might be obvious but…brisket. To cook great brisket you really have to go on a bit of a journey with it. You get to know each other, sitting there for hours and hours. It takes a long time and it has great rewards, and if you make a mistake you don’t find out until the end, so there’s a sense of adventure to it.

What’s the most dangerous dining experience you’ve ever survived?
I was in Texas and ate at 19 different restaurants in two days. I think it took several years off my life…but it was worth it.

What makes a cocktail a “craft cocktail?”
Every step is made with precision, control and love.

What’s your favorite thing about Dan’s Taste of Summer events?
Meeting all the amazing chefs from all over NYC!

Dan’s GrillHampton presented by New York Prime Beef Friday, July 20 at Fairview Farm at Mecox tickets & info at DansTasteofSummer.com. GA tickets $99 for 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. to see East End chefs pitted against NYC chefs in a one-of-a-kind cooking competition and tasting event. Enjoy an epic live performance by Long Island’s Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot – Celebrating The Music of Billy Joel! VIP tickets are $175 and include early access beginning at 7 p.m.; admission to the Waterfront VIP Lounge with special treats and more! Must be 21.

Read more about more about Dan’s Taste of Summer and GrillHampton.

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