Peering into the kitchen, and mind, of Ryan Ostler
Ryan Ostler, standing at Hi Lo's woodpile (Photo: Nader Khouri)
Ryan Ostler, chef of Hi Lo, is not your average barbecue nerd.
Sure, the Texas-reared chef keeps a couple smokers of his own, and decided to go after the job after he heard owner Scott Youkilis had bought a room-size Oyler, the Cadillac of barbecue pits.
But when we spent an afternoon hanging out in his sunny Portola kitchen a few days before Hi Lo’s grand opening (yesterday), we also encountered fish sauce, gochujang and Calabrian chiles.
Ostler has been impressing us since his days at Broken Record, and his smoking skills later awed us at his pop-up at Bruno’s.
Although Hi Lo’s format is classic--meat sold by the pound, served on butcher paper, with plenty of sides--Ostler’s world travels come through in the flavors. Ribs share menu space with grilled kalbi and Thai-spiced duck wings.
When we stopped by the apartment, Ostler was testing broth recipes for his Pho 'Cue soup, made with smoked beef bones and Chiang Mai-style sausages.
The kitchen, as you can imagine, smelled amazing.
Hi Lo, 3416 19th St. (at San Carlos St.); 415-874-9921 or hilobbqsf.com
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