Last month saw a hungry troupe of restaurant professionals descend on Shoreditch for a pork butchery demonstration and a tour of four contemporary barbecue restaurants.
Organised in partnership with leading meat supplier Danish Crown, the event was designed to get chefs and restaurateurs better acquainted with less obvious cuts of the pig and additionally highlight the considerable innovation that’s going on in the barbecue space.
The restaurants included:
Hotbox: HotBox is serious about smoked meats. The US-barbecue inspired restaurant started out as a pop-up before moving to permanent digs in 2014. The menu is packed with global influences yet underpinned by solid US-barbecue technique. The group sampled mutton tacos with crispy shallots, feta and jalapeño vinaigrette; beef brisket poutine; Danish Crown Pork Tomahawk Steak with charred shallot, lemon sorrel and chimichurri; and finally the Hotbox selection, which comprised pork ribs, chicken thighs, pulled pork, sliced brisket and hotlink sausages.
Berber & Q: Founded by former Ottolenghi chef Josh Katz in 2015, Berber & Q fuses Middle Eastern and North African cuisine with US barbecue techniques. The group visited Katz’s recently launched Old Spitalfields market location and were served rolled shoulder of lamb shawarma, burnt chilli sauce, bread and butter pickles, laffa bread; slow-braised pit beans with beef neck, crispy shallots, blackened spring onion crème fraîche and harissa oil; and cauliflower shawarma, tahini, pomegranate and rose.
SMOKESTAK: David Carter, former restaurant manager at Gordon Ramsay Group, went permanent with Smokestak in 2016 following huge success in the street-food world. Featuring a two-metre-wide charcoal grill, the kitchen is renowned for its uncompromising approach to US barbecue. The already rather stuffed group were treated to a spread that included pork rib with pickled cucumber; beef ribs with molasses; and the restaurant’s famed beef brisket buns with pickled chilli.
Smoking Goat: Specialising in Thai barbecue and drinking foods, Smoking Goat was one of the biggest openings of last year. Head chef Ali Borer grills expertly sourced meats over tao charcoal burners and makes a mean goat curry. Expect powerful and authentic Thai flavours and great cocktails. The now dangerously satiated group tasted barbecued Tamwoth pork skewers; northern Thai-style beef sausage; northern duck laab; and barbecue goat turmeric massaman.