Smokin’ and cooking barbeque in Singapore
Lang in a foreign land, but not foreign to BBQ
Generally speaking, as Americans, we don’t typically connect barbeque with Singapore, but Lang does, and so does Chua Jett Yong, a young man with big aspirations and a Lang by his side. Singapore (the Republic of Singapore) is an island in Southeast Asia. Interestingly, Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires and runs a thriving economy. Chili Crab, Hainanese Chicken, and Nasi Lemak are among the most notable foods. Because Singapore has a great deal of sunlight during the year, barbequing has become quite the thing, and there are now numerous outdoor barbeque spots in operation. It’s a fact that Singaporeans love food, and barbecue in particular.
We had the opportunity to talk with Chua Jett Yong (Jett), about his barbeque experience as a Singaporean.
New to the BBQ scene, but not cooking.
Jett realized no one was doing offset smoking BBQ in Singapore. Already experienced as an avid cook, Jett wanted to create the taste of what authentic Texas BBQ tasted like. And with COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, he felt. “I thought BBQ would be a great way to spread the love.”
Long before getting into BBQ, Jett had been cooking actively from the young age of 10 (He turned 25 years old in 2021). “I was always curious with different cooking techniques. I cooked Italian (pastas and pizzas) and some wok-styled Chinese foods.”
With seafood being the mainstay, Jett started experimenting with beef when he was 17, cooking an 8 oz ribeye to 52 oz Tomahawk steaks. “That was when I decided I needed to cook something bigger, and I guess that was how I stumbled across offset smoking. Franklin BBQ had some part to contribute to this haha.”
We asked Jett about some of his cooking techniques.
“The taste of subtle smoke and juiciness is unlike any other food I have tasted before. Who knew all you needed was salt, pepper and a whiff of smoke! Furthermore, one person can cook for a countless number of people. The 10-16 hours spent attending to the fire is a labor of love and everything is worth it when you see friends and family gush with joy and happiness. That feeling makes BBQ worth it.”
How did you go about getting into barbeque cooking?
“I am pretty sure many people before me had said this and many after me will say this as well. Franklin BBQ (based in Austin, Texas)…I saw his queues and I was like mannnn, this guy must really be up to something great… That sparked my interest and then found what smokers were being shipped to Singapore and the rest is history. I now have a Lang 48” Smoker Cooker.”
Did you face any pitfalls you didn’t expect when you started?
“I guess I’d say fire management. That is the most difficult thing to master. How to get the temperature consistent throughout the cook. The easiest way is to get a huge fire going with small splits in order to build a charcoal bed. Then put in beer can sized logs. It will slowly smoke away!”
Jett, with his internationally crafted Lang smoker.
So, you settled on a Lang. When did you get it and why?
“I first purchased the Lang in June 2020, 48’’ Deluxe Model. First, I bought the Lang as I tried sourcing for a good smoker in Singapore and I really could not find one. Hence, I looked around the region and there were no good smokers as well. Upon searching further, I saw Lang smokers on YouTube and realized the amount of information they had on their sizes and how informative Ben Lang was. I dropped them an email and inquired. The staff at Lang are the best you are going to get. They are patient and answer your questions. Ben, the owner, answered all questions that I had. This made the process easy and a no brainer. One thing to take note is always buy a size bigger. I was so glad I got the 48 instead of the 36… But now I kind of wish I got the 60 instead.”
First meal prepared the day the Lang 48 arrived.
You are still somewhat new at this?
“Well, the smoker recently reached Singapore in November. For now, I have been cooking twice every weekend. I’ve been cooking beef ribs, brisket, pork belly burnt ends, chicken and pork ribs. I am trying to achieve a wonderful bark with juice still oozzinggg and glistening when I cut into my meats.”
Practice makes perfect.
Considering the many features a Lang offers, what are your opinions?
“The even temperatures across the cook chamber, I can get the temperatures 20 F from each other after just a month of using it. I like the stainless-steel racks as they are so easy to clean and do not rust (Here in Singapore the humidity is 90% year-round). Furthermore, I personally feel the sliding racks are a must have.
What are your thoughts on the Reverse Flow?
“As I said, the temperatures are pretty even throughout. However, with the plate bring so hot… you might overcook the bottom of the briskets if you get what I call a ‘Hot fire’ It means your fire in the firebox is too high, and the heat starts charring the meat.”
What aspirations do you have as a cook?
“To bring and spread the joy of BBQ to everyone. To educate Singaporeans on how wonderful Texas BBQ is and how a little bit of smoke can make them love Texas BBQ forever. I really want to get people addicted to Texas BBQ. Haha.”
What are your meal favorites?
“Beef ribs and brisket. The wow factor and the face of amazement once people sink their mouths into the ribs and brisket makes it worth it. Their reactions really make me happy. The woods I use are, apple, cherry and oak.
A meal prepared for friends.
What are your thoughts about the BBQ community as a whole?
I love the BBQ community; they are quick to share and slow to judge. As Lang owners we also have a community of our own. To share a personal story, one of the main reasons why I bought a Lang was because of the Lang smoker owner Facebook page. I did not own a smoker; I joined the group and asked questions. People replied within seconds and gave me the best advice ever “GET BIGGER THAN YOU THINK” Trust me, you will not regret it.
Can you share a recipe with us?
I am still new, so really, just salt, pepper and smoke