ASHEVILLE – A new food and beer partnership is bringing Filipino flavor to the banks of the French Broad River.
On Feb. 8, the Master BBQ food truck officially opened at Zillicoah Beer Co., on 870 Riverside Dr. in Woodfin.
Led by co-owner and chef Paul Pike and his wife, Julia, Master BBQ offers traditional Filipino comfort food with recipes passed down and inspired by Pike’s family, including barbecued pork and chicken skewers.
“The skewers are handy and the lumpia is finger food so you can grab your beer and a skewer in one hand. … you can’t go wrong with that,” Pike said.
Master BBQ’s partnership comes after Zillicoah Beer Co. parted ways with Mexican restaurant Taqueria Muñoz last June after more than five years. In the months following, the brewery welcomed a series of area food vendors and trucks to pull up to the patio to serve taproom guests.
Master BBQ will regularly service guests during the brewery’s operational hours, 2-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 12-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12-8 p.m. Sunday.
“Through the last year of pop-ups, we’ve formed a great relationship with Paul, Julia, and their whole family,” Jeremy Chassner, co-owner of Zillicoah, said in an email. “I can honestly say that they are among the nicest, most genuine folks we’ve had the pleasure of dealing with. For us, that goes a million miles. Add that to the fact that they’re making some of the best food around, it was a no brainer for us to try to recruit them as our partners before someone else did. We’re lucky to have them.”
From the Philippines to Asheville
Pike is carrying on his family’s legacy of Filipino cooking and feeding communities.
In 1941, Pike’s great-grandmother, Lola Rosa, opened Three Sisters Restaurant in Pasig City, Manila, Philippines.
Pike said she became famous for her pork barbecue skewers, pancit ― a stir-fried noodle dish ― and lumpia ― fried spring rolls stuffed with pork and vegetables.
In 2021, Pike, a fourth-generation chef who began cooking when he was about 10 years old, and his wife launched the Master BBQ food truck in Los Angeles, a city he said has a large Filipino community, many of whom became regular customers.
“All my mother’s side, all the grandmas, they all cook so I’m always in the kitchen,” he said. “I’m there, I eat, I watch them cook until I got the courage to fire up the stove and experiment on some things or imitate some things that they do.”
In 2022, they moved to Asheville, where his in-laws reside, and introduced the business as a pop-up.
“I was scared because North Carolina, it’s a barbecue country and I’m a Filipino barbecuing, and it’s different,” he said.
Master BBQ has gained a loyal following, including within Asheville’s Asian community, he said. The business’s reputation and popularity grew through word of mouth from catering services and pop-ups at local breweries, he said.
Zillicoah was the first local business to open its doors to Master BBQ by welcoming them to host a pop-up at the taproom, Pike said.
Chassner said Master BBQ offers variety, a wide spread of flavor profiles, gluten-free and vegetarian options, as well as dishes that complement Zillicoah’s craft beers.
“Our beer menu consists of primarily rotational one-offs, so at some point, we’re going to have a beer that matches beautifully with an order of Lumpia, another that pairs with the Chicken Inasal, and perhaps even one that goes side by side with the Banana Turon dessert,” Chassner said.
Master BBQ’s menu
The pork barbecue skewers, made using Pike’s family recipe, are the focal point of the menu, with many more dishes to showcase his heritage.
“I’m going to go with my traditional menu because that’s what I want to introduce Americans to ― traditional Filipino food,” Pike said, “that is my dream.”
Pike’s barbecue method involves marinating the pork or chicken for 24 hours, then the skewered meat is cooked quickly on the grill.
“By slicing them really thin, that makes it tender and flavorful,” he said.
Traditionally, he’s cooked over charcoal but will be using a propane grill at the brewery for added convenience and safety reasons.
“Everyone loves the lumpia, and the national dish of the Philippines, which is the adobo,” Pike said. “People here order chicken adobo and they love it.”
Adobo is prepared by marinating the meat in soy sauce, vinegar and a lot of garlic.
Dishes may include sides of Jasmine rice or annatto rice — fried rice cooked in annatto oil and spices like salt, turmeric and garlic powder.
“It makes me feel good, especially when someone comes up and say, ‘Paul, your food’s good. You made something good today,’” Pike said. “It makes me feel happy and I’m not tired anymore. I’m just happy.”
Where: 870 Riverside Dr., Zillicoah Beer Co., Woodfin.
Hours: 2-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
12-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
12-8 p.m. Sunday.
Info: For more, visit masterbbqusa.com and facebook.com/sinongmastermo/ and follow on Instagram at @masterbbqavl.
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Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Master BBQ, Zillicoah partner to offer Filipino cuisine at brewery