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CurEater Alex Graf: ZZQ’s Pitmistress

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Alex Graf with Tootsie Tomanetz at her place is Snow’s in Lexington, TX. This shot was taken on Tomanetz 50th anniversary of smoking meat.
“Barbecue is the glue that holds us together.”

Lone Star BBQ in the Old Dominion? Alex Graf of Richmond’s ZZQ says absolutely! While not as famous as the headline grabbing ‘cue style of the Carolinas and Tennessee, Virginia has a style of pulled pork all its own–a style that was beloved by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. But Graf, a Virginia native, and her husband, native Texan, Chris Fultz saw room in Richmond for something different, something tasty: Beef Brisket.  

VIDEO: BBQ Interview – Chris Fultz & Alex Graf

Graf (the pitmistress) and Fultz (the pitmaster) got their start through a series of pop-ups in Richmond around 2015. One of their pop-up customers, Lars, gave ZZQ the name “meat church”, which is a pretty accurate description.  In addition to brisket ZZQ offers spare ribs, pork shoulder, and sausage along with sides like jalapeno mac and cheese, blackstrap molasses collards, and Texas caviar (they also serve smoked seitan for the carnivorously agnostic). Based on the early success of their weekly BBQs, Richmond locals’ appetites were ready for a daily supply.

In March of 2018 they got their wish when ZZQ opened in a gorgeous space in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Graf was part of the architecture team that designed ZZQ, as she worked with Fultz & Singh Architects until she retired from the firm in December 2017. (Fun fact: Graf also designed Brittanny Anderson’s kitchen at Brenner Pass.) To compliment their classic meat and sides, they offer a full array of drinks, including an outstanding cocktail program by Derek Salerno (try the ZZQooler: Sotol, Green Chartreuse, Cucumber, and Pineapple Gomme). They have a rotating selection of desserts (be on the lookout for the Graf’s Rhubarb crumble). In true Texas style, they even have some pretty killer belt buckles.

VIDEO: FULL TOUR of ZZQ

If you’re in Richmond see what all the fuss is about at ZZQ. See what they’ve been smoking on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. To find out which restaurants light Alex Graf’s coals, follow her on CurEat.