Jorge Guzman – Surly Brewing Company
Executive Chef Jorge Guzman is in charge of everything food related for Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Surly’s Destination Brewery allows its visitors to take in the full experience with the combination of fresh beer and perfect food pairings. Downstairs you can dine at the Beer Hall, which is a casual style restaurant that was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The events center offers space rental and on-site catering for weddings, meetings and parties. The Brewer’s Table is a fine dining option located upstairs and is the most recent addition. It was recently nominated one of the top 10 best new restaurants of 2016 by Food and Wine. Chef Guzman’s mission of creating dishes that taste great with beer hasn’t just been completed—he’s knocked it out of the park and gaining well deserved recognition. In February of 2016, The James Beard Foundation announced Guzman a semifinalist for Best Chef of the Midwest region.
BAR-BE-QUE & A:
What do you like about Southern Pride equipment? It’s an easy machine to maintain and it’s not finicky, which is great. One of the things that people get caught up on is the debate about if it’s real smoking; are you doing it the authentic way? There’s an argument for both sides but realistically speaking, there aren’t many states that allow open pits. For us, Southern Pride was the solution. We can get great quality smoked product and we’re not going to go broke paying three guys to work around the clock.
We noticed you have two SPX-300s. What’s the biggest benefit to having two units? You don’t have to have someone there 24 hours a day. You dial in your temperature, put your wood in, use your rub or cure, and you’re done. It’s a reliable machine. We use our smokers primarily in the Beer Hall because of the large barbecue component. We also use them to smoke and roast different items for the events center.
How was your experience with your Distributor? I dealt with Scott with Rockit Sales and they’re really good. We get our wood from them, they service our machines and they’re always willing to come down if we need anything. They’re just really great and having that relationship is a big plus.
What advice would you give to someone considering purchasing a Southern Pride? There are a lot of smokers out there but if you have a concept like us, which is volume, you can’t afford to have equipment that requires someone there all the time. You’re going to have a real difference in the consistency of your product and people are going to notice. With Southern Pride, that doesn’t happen. We’ve been doing our brisket for over two years and we smoke three tons a month. Each piece of brisket comes out like the first one and that’s really important for us. Consistency brings back customers. If they’re looking to do any kind of smoking or roasting, a Southern Pride is one of the best purchases they can make for their kitchen.