When deciding whether to come over to Dubai for 3 months, one of the most scary things was that by moving to a Muslim country I wouldn’t be eating Pork for a while – nightmare! Well actually Dubai being Dubai you can get Pork over here, some restaurants serve it, and Waitrose even has a Pork section tucked at the back behind a secret door.
Anyway I digress, my concern was really that without Pork there I was no doubt going to be without smoked BBQ for 3 (now 6 months). Luckily I was wrong.
Dubai is actually home to the Middle Eastern only Smokehouse – Perry and Blackwelder and I am happy to say that Texan BBQ is alive and well in Dubai.
Perry and Blackwelder is housed in a small Mall part of the huge Jumeirah complex chocked full of hotels, restaurants and shops. It is a bit weird walking through an Arabic themed Souk to arrive at a Texas themed restaurant, complete with Barrel tables, road signs on the wall and Johnny Cash on the Jukebox, but hey it was still pretty cool.
I had done my research and whilst there was no pork on the menu, there was still plenty to get the excitement up. I was torn between the Brisket plate served with potato salad and corn bread, or the awesomely named Brontosaurus Beef Rib. After much deliberation I I went for the Rib, Jen went for the salad (BBQ is kind of wasted on her!) and we went for some mac and cheese and fries (mix of potato and sweet potato) on the side
When the Rib arrived, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the size, expecting something from Fred Flintstone may have eaten like this:
but the disappointment was short lived as I tucked in.
The meat was perfectly smoked, it fell apart with the touch of the fork and I didn’t even use a knife which is always a good sign! Crisp skin covered moist, tender pink beef that was ridiculously rich and smoky. It was superb. I finished it off in a matter of minutes and then ordered a plate of 10 wings as a ‘dessert; (never been a sweets person). Slathered in BBQ sauce with a blue cheese dip. All washed down with a couple of bottles of MGD – a true Texan feast!
A few days later, I had another run in with Perry and Blackwelder which was even more exciting. Dubai hosts the Taste of Dubai every year, a smaller version of the amazing Taste of London (well worth a trip this year if you can). This one is a lot smaller, but with guaranteed sunshine and a smokehouse – I know which one I would choose!
On arrival we headed straight to sign up for a cooking class with the Pit Master himself. We then headed off to the Stall to sample some of their Brisket buns – cooked on this beast:
I later found out he cooks the brisket for 22 hours plus – that is some serious dedication!
The cookery class was next and we were making some Smoked Chicken Mac’n’Cheese. This was a pretty basic Mac’n’Cheese you make a roux by melting butter and adding flower, then pour in milk slowly till combined. This recipe then used stock made from the bones of the smoked chicken. Chuck in some cheddar cheese, grated and some cubed and then in with the fantastic smoked Chicken.
Ours was a little runny (I blame Jen!) but the smoked chicken was absolutely superb. I have done this at home, and it is some of the best chicken I have eaten, but his was another level. It had a crisp blackened skin and the meat was just incredibly Smokey. He smokes his for about 4-5 hours with pecan and maple wood mix. I will be trying this over the summer to see if I can get it even better.
After the course I took the opportunity to get a cheesy snap with the Pitmaster (he was a very cool guy)
and also have a quick chat about smoking. He told me that his restaurant is the only place in the world to use 14 different types of woods to smoke, varying the types based on what he was smoking. A great experience to have a course with such a pro and get a small insight into how the pro’s do it. So much to learn and so much to try– it’s going to be a great summer!