Why You Should Avoid BBQ Restaurants Even if They Have Halal Beef
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Some of the top barbecue restaurants in the nation use happen to use Halal certified beef. While this excites many because they can get real deal barbecued beef, we recommend that you avoid these places due to cross-contamination with pork and non-Halal meats in order to keep Halal.
This mainly has come to light with restaurants that source Creekstone Farms beef. Since their beef is so popular, many specialty restaurants will source it for their steaks and burgers. While Creekstone beef is Halal certified, most kitchens that serve it are not. This calls for extra caution on the part of the person ordering it to obtain the Halal beef in a Halal way, namely to be cooked separately from surface that cook pork and non-Halal meats.
With barbecued beef, however, it’s practically impossible to find a set up in which the beef isn’t cooked in an environment intimately shared with pork and non-Halal meats. Here’s why.
Shared cooking area with non-Halal meatsWhile restaurants cook steaks and burgers are individually by design, they almost always cook all of their barbecued meat in large smokers. That means the beef, even if Halal, will be placed on grates and cooked in environments with lots of residual juices form non-Halal meats leading to cross-contamination with impure (najs) substances.
Take Franklin BBQ for example, the famous place in Austin, TX considered one of the best barbecue spots in the nation. While they serve Halal certified Creekstone Farms beef brisket, it shares cooking and prep surfaces with their pork ribs, shoulder, and sausages.
“While we do use Halal beef, we do cook our briskets in the same cookers as we cook our pork products,” says Stacy Frankling, wife of owner Aaron Franklin, in an email. “The briskets are placed on the same grates as the pork.”
Shared cutting boardsFranklin Barbecue also says, “All the meats are sliced on the same cutting board.” That means the beef brisket will go onto cutting boards with presumably high amounts of juices from pork and other non-Halal meats like their turkey which is not slaughtered Halal.
To get around the cutting board issue, Franklin suggests buying a whole chilled and vacuum sealed brisket to warm up at home. Additionally, Green Street Meats in Chicago says, “we will absolutely cut it with a clean knife and board.”
While we really appreciate both restaurants’ willingness to accommodate as best they can (we really do, thank you!), it doesn’t solve the issue of the briskets being smoked on the same grates as non-Halal meat.
Halal alternativesWant real Halal barbecue with smoked meats? Try Chopped N Smoked in Houston, TX, a full Halal authentic Texas barbecue food truck started by Muslim convert Robert West and his Christian friend, Jason Bones. Or try Tom’s BBQ, the famous Memphis BBQ spot which local Danish Siddiqui explains has “totally separate smokers, storage, utensils, boards,” and has “all workers are trained to handle halal.” Muslims who visit Memphis or drive through it make a point to visit Tom’s without fail and with good reason, the place has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives on the Food Network as one of the best BBQ spots in the US.
Too far for you? Get someone to open a fully Halal barbecue joint in your city, or get some brisket and wood to smoke some meat yourself.
Just consider avoiding places that smoke non-Halal meats while you do.
[Mixed order at Franklin order photo from Food Network]