Philly’s barbecue scene — particularly its Texas-style brisket — just got a boost from Zig Zag BBQ, which opened last week in a low-slung building next to Martha at 2111 E. York St. in Kensington.
Owner Matt Lang’s career path has zig-zagged along the East Coast: He was born in Baltimore and raised in Howard County, Md., and started cooking at Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village in Manhattan.
His life-changing Q moment was meeting Joe Carroll, who was opening Fette Sau in Brooklyn in 2007. He was opening chef, picking up accolades, and spent six years there on and off. Then he headed to Hill Country in Washington, D.C., followed by the opening of Texas Jack’s in Arlington, Va.
From there, he headed to Philadelphia. He had worked at Martha’s in Kensington for three years before joining Martha’s partners Cary Borish and Mike and Lena Parsell on Zig Zag, designed as a complement to the neighborhood bar. (Borish and the Parsells, doing business as A Frame Constructs, right now are deep into development for their next project: Sally, a natural-wine bar on Fitler Square.)
At Zig Zag, Lang smokes on a gas-fired Ole Hickory, turning out brisket, pork, turkey, and pork spare ribs, which he sells by the pound and in sandwiches with a rotating assortment of sides such as queso mac, esquites, and vegan potato salad and coleslaw.
He expects to expand the menu to include a vegan tempeh sloppy Joe.