There are very few gastronomical experiences that exceed the deliciousness of tucking into a perfectly barbecued piece of meat. The smokiness only heightens the taste of your protein of choice, and such exuberance can only be achieved by expertise.
Oak and Smoke’s founder, Mubarak Al-Razouki, understands the importance of quality and skill, and felt so dedicated to it, he found himself balancing his studies abroad with his passion for the delicate process of southern barbecue.
Mubarak learned all he knew during his university days in Austin, when he would travel miles to try different barbecue joints around the area. And so with experience from apprenticing with his mentor in Texas, barbecuing competitions, and learning the craft from friends whose families have a rich history in the barbecue business, Mubarak returned to Kuwait with a university degree and a passion he knew he had to fulfill.
In Kuwait, Mubarak’s purchase of an offset smoker, a slab of ribs and an invitation for his cousin to come over and try his slow-smoked ribs was the inevitable birth of his concept, Oak and Smoke. “It’s called Oak and Smoke because my brisket and ribs are all manually smoked with a wood smoker and charcoal – never put in an oven!”
As word got out that pro-smoker Mubarak was honing his skills on family and friends, he graduated to an established menu a business plan, and Big Bertha: a 30ft long smoker dedicated to the day-long smoking process used to tenderize the meat giving it a beautiful finish of a smoky, dark exterior, encasing succulent meat adorned with the red print of smoke rings.
Suffice to say, the buzz made its way to our office, and we obviously felt more than compelled to try out this boasted original form of barbecue that could only be achieved by experience and knowledge like Mubarak’s.
An array of goodies arrived to us, smoked expertly by Big Bertha herself and manhandled by Mubarak, running the small operation with a lot of passion.
The Ribs – where do we even start with these gigantic ribs? An order of ribs, smoked for at least 16 hours and wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, is enough to feed four people. Dubbed Dino Ribs for a reason, you either feel like a medieval king or Fred Flintstone when chowing down on these ribs that are so tender, meat just falls off the bone with even the slightest prod with your fork.
We also sampled another specialty of Oak and Smoke’s, the Brisket Sandwiches – made with a slow smoked whole brisket, chopped up and sautéed in sauce of choice, sandwich between slices of Oak and Smoke’s homemade (you read that right!) bread. Can you imagine anything more delicious?
Whole smoked briskets are also on offer, and would pair beautifully with the sides listed on the menu: traditional Potato Salad made with eggs and chopped up pickles, homemade coleslaw, the most beautiful, buttery sweet potato mash you’ll ever try, and hand-cut fries, spiced with Cajun seasoning and tossed in one big ol’ brown bag for communal bites.
Though authentic Texas barbecue doesn’t require sauce as an accompaniment, Mubarak’s homemade sauces certainly heighten the meaty experience. Such sauces are pomegranate molasses sauce, giving the overall taste of a Middle Eastern twist to otherwise American favorites. An Arabic coffee-inspired sauce is also included, made with hints of cardamom to enhance the flavors of the meat’s juiciness. And of course, we can’t forget about the pepperiness of Mubarak’s personal favorite, the spicy sauce, which provides a tangy kick with every bite.
You will be full after feasting on Oak and Smoke’s authentic barbecue, but remember that you will be filled with great memories and an education that you could only learn by seeing firsthand how passion and knowledge can make the most out of something. At least, that’s what our experience with Oak and Smoke had taught us, along with the fact that what constitutes good barbecue is the type of meat you’re getting, and that in the process of smoking, the longer the better.
But we wont ruin all the surprises for you – make sure you check it out for yourself, and only then will you completely understand what it is we’re talking about.
Order from Oak and Smoke through Whatsapp 5130 7160. For more information, follow them on Instagram @oakandsmoke.