The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Jase Franklyn Runs The Track and The BBQ Grill


Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the proper spell of Tobago and Franklyn’s identity as a Trinbagonian New Yorker.

Jase’s BBQ is one way to draw attention away from a Poly Prep sports game and to a 30 minute line wrapped around the track for spicy meat delights. Propped beside the bleachers, at a direct angle of the right football guard post, sits Jase’s BBQ stand. The murmur of crowds cheering for Poly Prep’s touchdown is hard to decipher from the long talkative line of hungry students, faculty, family, and alumni narrowing down what side dish they want for their BBQ meat. 

Award-winning New York City Jase’s BBQ cooks Caribbean BBQ that is “smoked and seasoned to perfection,” just like its chef and founder’s T-shirt says.

Traditional BBQ just did not cut it for Jase Franklyn, a Trinbagonian New Yorker and a Poly coach with a desire to expand the palate of New Yorkers through Caribbean cuisine. . As it approaches its seventh year in business, Jase’s BBQ has “a bigger role now than before” said Franklyn. 

Around 20 years ago, Franklyn made a big move from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States in pursuit of a college education. Franklyn attended Lehman College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems in 2009. According to Poly Prep’s Track and Field Overview, before coming to Poly Prep, Franklyn was Eastern College Athletic champion in the shot put and the hammer throw at Lehman College, and coached at Division I LIU Brooklyn. 

Prior to creating his own barbecue, Franklyn ran an electronic business from 2014 to 2019, where he would repair cell phones, tablets and computers  – something he was not nearly as passionate about as his current occupations. 

In December 2018, Franklyn became a part of the athletics department at Poly, honing in on track and field throwing events as an assistant coach.  

Franklyn’s hobby-turned-side-hustle started out simply because of what Franklyn described as his “ sheer love” for barbecue. Franklyn said “I could bring my flavor to life,” by sharing his BBQ specialties on a broader scale. “I don’t try to make it all ‘business, business,’” said Franklyn, who prioritizes his Poly Prep athletic endeavors. “I think that’s where you lose the fun in it.” 

The different flavors from the Caribbean infused into Franklyn’s dishes travel all around New York City, as Jase’s BBQ does not have a fixed location. Instead, Franklyn mostly does pop-ups and caters for events. Most of the pop-ups are located in East Flatbush and Downtown Brooklyn. Franklyn said he has perfected his strategy: “I go out and advocate for myself.”

Jase’s BBQ is in highest demand during the spring and summer months. Franklyn spends his summers popping up to grill near and far. He is occupied almost every weekend at events as far  as four to five hours from NYC. Franklyn has perfected his marketing strategies through efficient planning, organization and help from friends and family.

Even withstanding the fact that New York City is a hub for food culture, provoking a lot of potential opponents, Franklyn said “I think New York City is big enough to handle all the different barbecue businesses we have here. To me, there’s never competition.” 

Trinidadian BBQ is characterized by its spicy and bold flavors. Peppers, allspice, thyme and garlic are the key ingredients that promise heat and depth in the wings, pork, brisket, BBQ pigtails, and ribs that Franklyn grills for his customers. 

Franklyn often shares his craft with the Poly community by popping up at home sports events and having his athletes and friends help him dish the meals out. He is very successful in his efforts to cater to the school community, as he has received almost only positive feedback from students and faculty about his dishes. Franklyn served his specialties to the Poly community for the first time two years ago, with the help of Kyle Graham, associate head of school and William McNally, director of sports information, at a school sporting event. “It was definitely better than I anticipated,” said Franklyn. 

Following his first time hosting at Poly, Franklyn said “It was a great feeling; especially knowing that the Poly community supported me fully.” His pop-up success prompted him to grill at almost every large Poly sporting event ever since. 

He said that “It is kind of tough balancing being here at Poly and also doing that stuff because my name is getting out there and people are seeking food.” However, he said “Poly is number one and I can work the barbecue around it.”

Franklyn’s goal in grilling as a side job is to educate the palettes of the United States. “I always say that I’ve tried a lot of food in this country and I feel like we are missing good, flavorful food,” said Franklyn.

“Anywhere you go in the world, they have a different style and flavor of BBQ and I think that people should be open to all different types of flavors, not just one thing,” said Franklyn.

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