By Sarah Zorn
The greatest thing about Taste Talks' annual All-Star BBQ is that it unites celebrities with seemingly little in common — whether they're mismatched restaurant luminaries (such as Hard Time Sundaes' Andrew Zurica, and Insa's Sohui Kim), or entirely different entities — we're talking Snowday's maple syrup-centric food truck and Roy Wood Jr. from The Daily Show. Because when tasked with collaborating on a mutually representative dish, all that matters is how compatible they are when it comes to matters of taste. Which is why we checked in with teammates Matt Hyland (of Emily and Emmy Squared) and Billy Durney (from Hometown Bar-B-Que and the upcoming Hometown Fried Chicken), to see where they stand on a few potentially divisive topics.
The Dish: Grilled pizza with pulled pork, creamy ranch slaw, pickles and crispy onions.
Why did you decide to pair up for the All-Star BBQ?
Matt Hyland (Emily): I wanted to be at a cookout with a guy who makes some of the best BBQ in the city. Mostly to eat it.
Billy Durney (Hometown): Matt and I started our restaurant journeys around the same time and have watched each other have great accomplishments and successes. But mostly because Matt is a badass pizza maker.
Describe your ideal burger.
Matt: That's easy - 80/20 meat fat, dry aged, big patty, cheddar, and Korean special sauce or a double patty with american cheese, pickles, Indonesian special sauce. Burgers always on a pretzel bun.
Billy: Classic American smash burger. Burger blend is brisket and chuck. 75/25. American cheese, griddled butter and onions on a Martin's potato roll!
Describe your ideal pizza pie.
Matt: Also easy - Heavily charred American wood-fired with NO puffy crust and sloppy wet middle. I also love Detroit style pizza and a NY slice from Not Rays pizza or Best Pizza.
Billy: Wood-fired with a thin crispy crust...crushed San Marzano tomato sauce with burrata and basil topped with red chili flakes.
You're at a pig picking party. What part of the pig do you pick for yourself?
Matt: The face. First the cheeks and then the ears.
What do you consider to be the most overrated ingredients?
Matt: Ketchup, lobster, chocolate. Can't escape from any of them.
Billy: I hate kale
What do you consider to be the most underrated ingredients?
Matt: Fish sauce, duck, crabs.
Billy: Wundra flour.
What will you always find in your fridge (besides the basics like butter and eggs)?
Matt: Szechuan oil, Kewpie mayo, Finback and Other Half beer cans.
Billy: Hot cherry peppers and a selection of mustards.
What's your go-to takeout order?
Matt: Lots of dumplings and noodles, usually from Yaso Tangbao, M. Shanghai, or Kings County Imperial.
Billy: Chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce or beef mai fun.
What's your ultimate guilty pleasure food?
Matt: Mozzarella sticks.
Billy: Fried chicken.
What's your favorite high-end dining destination in NYC?
Matt: Daniel. It is where Emily and I go to for most of our special occasions.
Billy: Del Posto.
What about down and dirty dives?
Matt: So many to choose from. Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry, but they renovated it so it looks marginally nicer. I have been going to Kebab Shack and Blue Collar a lot lately because they are near Emmy Squared and really good.
Billy: Brennan & Carr.
What's your favorite food city (besides NYC)?
Matt: Nashville! I love the classic southern cooking and the modernization of it popping up down there. There are a lot of great chefs experimenting and having fun.
Can't wait to chow down on Grilled Pulled Pork Pizza (along with 12 other terrific collaborative creations?) Purchase your pass to Taste Talks Brooklyn's All Star BBQ today!