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Bengalurean chefs adopt smoked meat dishes to feed rising demand



BENGALURU: How often do you hear a chef attributing his personality transformation to a culinary technique? Meet chef-restaurateur Gautam Krishnakutty who admits, “Opening a restaurant dedicated to smoked meat has reinvented me and taught me patience. I was originally a chef of quick South-East Asian cuisine. Smoking meat is a science that requires accurate time and temperature control.”

Keeping up with the global trend of slow cooking, smoked meat is creating a buzz in the city’s culinary circles. Krishnakutty’s The Smoke Co in Koramangala dishes out pulled pork smoked for 18 hours, ham cured for one-and-a-half years, threemonth-old wine-cured beef and bacon cured for six months. He has even built his own smoker which uses locally-sourced mango wood.

Like Krishnakutty, Thashvin Muckatira of Plan B has set up a homemade smoker that is constantly redesigned to keep up with the rising demand. “Beer goes well with smoked meat. Perhaps, that makes it a success in beer city Bengaluru. Moreover, Bengalureans are welltravelled and know their smoked meats well,” says Muckatira.

He serves pulled pork that has been smoked for 12 hours, barbecue ribs that is done for eight hours, pulled chicken of five hours’ vintage and sausages smoked for two hours. He plans to introduce Texan-style barbecues soon.

Smoke House Deli too kicks off a charcoal grill festival this weekend. The rising popularity of this new flavour from the West has Chili’s Grill & Bar, a South-Western US cuisine eatery, going for smoked baby pork ribs imported from Spain. It is apparently the bestseller. They have even invested in a hi-tech smoker for this menu. “In six months, we are launching smoked chicken wings, and nachos and burgers with smoked meat,” says CEO Ashish Saxena.

However, food expert Suresh Hinduja says that smoking meat is not new to India and goes back to the times when humans dwelled in caves. Closer home, this practice is commonplace in the North East India. “There, the tribal kitchens hang raw meat on chimney flue. Whenever they cook, the chimney exhaust smokes up the meat and works as a preservative. Our good-old tandoor also gives out smoky flavour,” pointed out Hinduja.

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