Serious Eaters should already be quite familiar with Adam Perry Lang. You know, he's that French-trained chef who eschewed long careers at such illustrious establishments as Daniel, Le Cirque and Guy Savoy in favor of a life spent in service of BBQ. The one who wrote a seminal book on the art of meat and fire, but will still dish out a few tips for free to anyone willing to listen. Yeah, that Adam Perry Lang.
Now, Los Angeles is about to get to know Lang, too. In celebration of an upcoming re-release of his cookbook Serious Barbecue (and because he wanted to spend some time in our California sunshine), Lang has set up a summerlong residency right in the heart of Hollywood.
No, it's not a pop-up at some touristy trap along the Walk of Fame; Lang brought in a custom smoker, a whole bunch of Big Green Egg grills, a food truck and an Airstream trailer, and set them all down behind the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where Jimmy Kimmel tapes his late night show. Since Lang and Kimmel have been mutual meat-loving friends for years, the latter invited Lang to spend the summer smoking and grilling to his heart's content in the parking lot behind the theatre. And as of early June, everything is fired up and running smoothly.
The lunch-only pop up—dubbed Back Lot BBQ—is going to be seriously BBQ-focused, thanks in part to Lang's limitations with cooking in a parking lot. There's the two-ton smoker capable of handling racks and racks of ribs or full, juicy briskets, but the only other kitchen space comes from a specially-wrapped lunch truck on site, which mostly acts as a prep area for the accompanying pickles and potato bread.
The day's meaty fare will depend largely on Lang's mood—his first day in operation revealed piles of tender short rib that had been sliced fresh from the bone and drizzled softly with a sweet, tangy sauce. Full ribs, thick slices of beef brisket, and even chicken are forecasted for the future, but ultimately it's up to the whims of the pitmaster.
Lang has also set up a custom charcoal operation, turning pallets of pecan firewood into glowing coal and embers using a two-stage tunnel feeder that drops the perfected charcoal through a large grate and into a warm holding area, until the smoker needs another batch of heat.
And because of the time-consuming nature of the work, Lang will be spending plenty of time inside a diminutive Airstream trailer on site. That means he'll have to try to get some sleep amongst the noisy clubgoers and late night shenanigans of Hollywood Blvd., just so he can get up at 1 a.m. to start feeding the BBQ beast.
Lang's $15 - $20 lunch plates will only be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, with a small pre-boxed early dinner session that runs from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be recurring dinners under the back lot stars, with Lang at the helm, guiding eaters through more complete meals. A few corporate buyouts are planned, some private events, and perhaps a few special sessions with Lang and some lucky home cookers.
Using the twelve on-site Big Green Egg grills, Lang hopes to work in a few BBQ master classes with everyday folks, sharing tips and tricks for mastering the grill. The best of the best might even get some face time on Kimmel's show, thanks to a cross-promotional campaign between the two. This is Hollywood, after all.
For now, Lang is content to bring his non-regional BBQ to Kimmel's Hollywood back lot, feeding hungry tourists and nearby office workers whatever he feels like that morning. And while many folks outside of Tinsel Town are already quite familiar with the Adam Perry Lang brand, the relatively low barbecue IQ in Los Angeles means there's plenty of room for Lang to experiment and grow. Who knows, he may end up liking the West Coast so much he decides to stick around for a while. Here's to hoping.