Food & Drink

The Burnin' Pit: The Art of Slow Smoke

Plus a drinking space that looks like a hunter's lodge.

BY john lim | May 30, 2018 | Reviews

KL is no stranger to Texan barbecue joints with cult favourites Beard Brothers’ BBQ and Mom’s BBQ food truck, but The Burnin’ Pit dwarfs them in terms of scale and ambition. Occupying a prominent corner lot on Desa Sri Hartamas’s main strip, the two-storey restaurant is the lifelong dream of Kok Fung, who fell in love with the art of slow-smoked barbecue after spending a few years exploring the US and learning from local pit masters there. 

The restaurant is impossible to miss: even before stepping in, an always-working outdoor smoking pit lures you in from the street with its smoky aromas. Inside, large sharing tables, wide open spaces, heavy dark-wood furniture and an open kitchen carry the look of an upscale restaurant, but the restaurant is cosy enough to make you feel comfortable to eat with your bare hands if you feel like it. Upstairs is where you’ll find ‘The Pit Master’s Lounge’, a drinking space that opens from 5pm and is decked out to look like hunter’s lodge filled with all manner of Americana, including books about barbecue, a faux fireplace and a bourbon-stocked bar.

On the menu is a variety of starters, sides, roast chicken, lamb and house-made sausages. The main attraction, however, are the beef ribs and brisket, which have been rubbed with salt and pepper before being smoked for eight to 14 hours until they’re completely tender and oozing with melted fat. Fung has also tweaked the Texan barbecue recipe with small, but significant gestures: the rub, for instance, has a reduced salt-to-pepper ratio of 30-70 compared to the original 50-50 mix, and the accompanying barbecue sauce is made using gula Melaka.   

The cuts of Australian beef are sold by weight with brisket priced at RM20 per 100g and ribs at RM30 per 100g, making a complete meal here a relatively affordable venture at RM40-50 per person. The brisket and ribs will turn out exactly what you expect it to be after spending half a day in a smoker: tender and moist on the inside, contrasted by a smoky char on the outside. Between the two, we say go for the brisket – it’s less salty compared to the ribs and has a softer texture. Occasionally, they do smoke a few slabs of wagyu brisket when available: sure, it costs two to three times as much as a regular brisket, but once you bite into a full, fatty cut of slow-smoked wagyu, there’s no way you’ll settle for ordinary barbecue again.  

Opening hours: Mon-Thu & Sun, 12noon-3pm, 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 12noon-3pm, 6pm-2am

24, Jalan 24/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur;; 03 6211 2622

From: Time Out KL