It is only a matter of time before the American barbecue boom hits London according to the Big Easy’s Orelle Young.
The New Yorker was lured away from a successful career in the Big Apple to be executive group pitmaster of the three-branch company, whose Canary Wharf restaurant dominates the skyline in Crossrail Place.
And he brought with him a love for cooking meat born of a childhood spent travelling to church barbecues with his family.
“We got to try varieties through many states and they would have competitions to see who could put on the best spread.
“When I was about five we were at a huge hog roast, I remember it looked terrifying.
“They were raking out the hot coals and I reached down and picked up what I thought was a dead one.
“I got burned quite badly as it stuck to my hand, But it didn’t put me off, it drew me closer.”
But it was only when he got a part time job as a film student at the now renowned Hill Country barbecue restaurant in New York that his passion became a career.
“I started front of house but they kept asking me to help out in the kitchen.
“I ended up being mentored by all these acclaimed chefs and within two years had been promoted to pitmaster.”
He was initially reluctant to uproot his life to Big Easy in London but once here realised he could share his passion for barbecue with a new audience.
“There’s going to be a huge boom here soon- like there was in New York.
“I can see it coming. It will be soon.”
The Bromley-By-Bow resident gets up at 4am every day, often stopping by Billingsgate Market to pick up fresh seafood to serve alongside the brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and other meats smoked and barbcued at the restaurant.
And he has overhauled the running of the kitchen.
Computerised smokers have been replaced with traditional Old Hickory ones and he changed the rubs for the meat as well as the cooking temperatures and timings.
“I want to see that dark, almost blackened, caramelised surface on the meat and that pink beautiful smoke ring inside, “ said Orelle.
He is especially proud of the Texas hotlinks he has introduced- sausages made with a mix of beef and pork with high fat content.
“Hopefully when Americans come here they say ‘Wow. The food tastes just like it does back home.’
“And we do it with a really small team, four people in the kitchen cooking for thousands of people every week.”
The father-of-one added: “The most important thing for me is sharing the knowledge.
“That’s what compelled me to work in barbecue and I still get inspiration from other chefs and am open to new ideas.”
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