Slab (Los Angeles, CA)
Slab's pitmaster-in-chief, Burt Bakman is native of Israel and immigrated to the United States as a teen. Burt has had a lifelong passion for food and the culinary arts. After tasting the smoked meats at Austin, Texas’s legendary Franklin Barbecue, though, Burt’s passions, like the low-and-slow heat of his smoker, became stoked. Inspired by Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” he labors about 18 hours—tending his fire every 30 minutes—over each batch of brisket smoked with red or white oak. Through social media and word-of-mouth influencers, including an active Instagram feed that now numbers 15,000-plus followers, Burt has been selling out his barbecue “underground” from his backyard in Los Angeles’s Studio City neighborhood to customers who clamor for an order, which sell out weekly, via direct messaging. He has, as well, collaborated on pop-ups at establishments that include Alfred’s Coffee and Fat Sal’s. For Oktoberfest, he’s smoked up an effort with Macleod Ale Brewing Co. The meat and Burt have been featured in stories on KCET television and online at Eater LA, further signs of a rising profile.