Which BBQ Spots With Halal Meat Cross Contaminate with Pork and Which Don’t

Barbecue spots are popping up around the US that use Halal meat. But some of them cook their Halal meat in a way that cross contaminates with pork, which Halal eaters need to avoid like the plague. Others cook them completely separately from non-Halal meats or are fully Halal operations that don’t serve any non-Halal.

Which restaurants cross contaminate and which ones don’t? This distinction is huge for the Halal eater in order to avoid consuming pork, going beyond “Zabihah vs. Non-Zabihah” to keeping Halal period.

Avoid: Barbecue restaurants that cross contaminate with pork

There are a number of barbecue restaurants that prep, cook, and slice all their meats on shared surfaces. These are the ones to avoid to keep Halal. While there are actually a number across the US, these are two that come to mind.

1. Franklin’s BBQ – Austin, TX

Considered the best barbecue spot in the US, does source Creekstone Farms halal beef. But they cook that beef in a way that cross contaminates with pork.

“While we do use Halal beef, we do cook our briskets in the same cookers as we cook our pork products,” says Stacy Franklin, wife of owner Aaron Franklin, in an email. “The briskets are placed on the same grates as the pork.”

2. Green Street Meats – Chicago, IL

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This spot in the West Loop area of Chicago also smokes their beef with their pork. “The beef is smoked in the same smoker as the pork, chicken and salmon,” management writes via email. “This is the only contact it makes with the other meats prior to being served.” Cross contamination is confirmed by the restaurant itself.

In fact, a friend recently went and relayed the following:

“I was watching where they cut it (on the same boards) so we (asked) can you just clean it up or whatever and he was like full disclosure let me tell you how it’s cooked. They said the beef and pork are in the smoker at the same time and drip onto each other for that reason. They told us it’s a rotisserie so the beef and pork drip all over each other but the salmon doesn’t have anything else in there in the same time”

Not only is the beef cooked with the pork, according to the restaurant itself, both products are in a rotisserie style smoker making cross contamination all the more a reality.

Now, both of the mentioned restaurants are very accommodating in offering solutions: Green Street Meats will cut the beef on separate and cleaned boards, and Franklin suggests ordering a brisket to go to warm up and slice at home.

While we really appreciate both restaurants’ willingness to accommodate as best they can (we really do, thank you!), these suggestions don’t solve the main problem: the Halal meat will get pork juices and fat on them during their cooking process, something every Halal eater wants to avoid.

Choose: Halal barbecue and pork cross contamination safe restaurants

There are alternatives where smoked Halal meat is offered either from fully Halal restaurants or where Halal meat is cooked separately from pork and other non-Halal meats.

1. Tom’s BBQ – Memphis, TN

Tom’s is the oldest known place in the US to get Halal barbecue. While the place does sell pork products, 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.

2. Smoked N Chopped – Houston, TX

Once a fully Halal authentic Texas barbecue food truck now with a permanent location started by Muslim convert Robert West and his Christian friend, Jason Bones. They don’t just do beef brisket. Their menu includes chicken, sausages, pastrami, and various sides. They also cater.

3. Pinkerton’s – Houston, TX

According to Himmad Khan of Haloodie, Pinkerton’s “smokes the meat separate from the pork.” Local Greg Funchess says, “they have two separate guys with separate knives, one for the beef and one for the pork. The owner also greets you in line and let’s you know which sides are halal too (coleslaw and potato salad and desserts).”

4. Ab’s Amazing Ribs – Dearborn, MI

Dearborn’s Halal food explosion now includes smoked meat, like the offerings from Ab’s. They source Creekstone Farms Halal beef for some monstrous looking briskets and ribs made famous on Instagram.

5. Noah’s Smokehouse – Dearborn, MI

Noah’s is looking to do something that has never been done before: an entire smokehouse with all Halal certified meats. Their menu includes beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, all in various plates, burgers, sandwiches, and sides.

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 make sure to avoid places that cross contaminate with pork meats while you do.

Main image credits: danna.y.guo and siobhan_skhd.

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