September’s First Bite
Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brew House
411 N. State St., Lizton, 317-994-6145
A former liquor store just off the highway exit to Lizton might seem like an odd location for a restaurant, especially when the owner is a classically trained chef. But Rob Ecker and his wife, Tina, saw the weathered-wood structure as the perfect shell for their tiny home-cooking outpost, Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brew House. “If you pull in the parking lot, you feel like you’re at an old Wild West jail,” Ecker says. Inside, refrigerated cases that once housed cold booze now display rows of prepped meats ready for a ride on the 30-ton custom-built rotisserie. This 5-foot-wide, 4-foot-deep pit, aka the “Ferris wheel of meat,” churns out fire-cooked brisket, ribs, pork butts, and free-range chickens from Orland, Indiana, that reflect Ecker’s barbecue purism. “We cook over seasoned hickory and cherry wood that is on fire,” he says, stressing the last two words. “Not charcoal. Not gas. I want you taste that chicken, not the smoke.” Even the sauce is but a side note, doled out in dabs alongside the meat and accompaniments like ranch beans, cheese grits, and in-season corn-and-cucumber salad. Eventually, Ecker wants to add his own microbrewed beer to the mix, truly bringing the bottles-to-barbecue spot full circle.
Pinch of Wisdom:
“That bag of store-brand sugar may be on sale, but you could end up with flat or dry cookies as a result. Flour, salt, and especially butter can vary so much from brand to brand, so rely on the quality that works.”—Amy Norcross, owner and baker at Beech Grove’s Victory Rolls and Baked Goods and the turn-of-the-century–themed City Deli, opening soon in downtown Martinsville
Tu Casa Latin Food
2989 W. 71st St., 317-295-2644
Peer into the kitchen of Tu Casa and you’ll see a quartet of smiling women working away on the day’s specials. At this pan–Latin American spot, where the dishes derive from the seemingly dissimilar traditions of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, count on rib-sticking staples like slow-roasted chicken, sautéed steak and peppers, and bacalao—all served with generous sides of beans, rice, and potato salad. Rich, well-stuffed Venezuelan arepas and beef and cheese empanadas make great light meals. Weekends bring slightly later hours and more elaborate fare, including delectable shredded beef with plantains and beans, plus more daring items such as tripe, goat, and pigeon with coconut. Don’t quibble with the printed menu. Just stop in and see what’s hot, fresh, and delicious.