TL;DR – Eat to live or live to eat? Nazri Jameson, is a chef-turned-entrepreneur who brings his passion into plate, exploring the recipe that became the most salivating and appetizing meals in Tropicana Avenue.
Nazri Jameson, the mind and hands behind Beard Brothers’ BBQ, brought a sample of his famous pulled lamb, beef ribs, and beef brisket for the whole GEM Magazine crew to try. He don’t even need to say “it melts in my mouth” as we do have other adjectives to describe the food – it was deliciously succulent and breaks apart smoothly while the smoked flavour was accentuated with a light marinade of spices.
The spices, in order to acclimate with our local taste buds, are the only variation from the authentic Texan barbeque experience this establishment wants to bring. The brisket especially was amazing, considering its toughness to prepare, making this restaurant one of the very few places that serves this kind of meat.
Flashback years ago, when Nazri felt lost working from one high-end restaurant to the next, tried his hand in music, got married and wanted to do something on his own. That was when his brother-in-law and another friend – completing the bearded brothers’ combo – suggested to start a smoked barbeque enterprise together. When asked about why they choose this concept, is it trying to make smoked meat the new fad, when other concepts such as hipster cafes and burger joints are becoming quite saturated all over Malaysia.
“As a chef I thought this would be an easy thing to do and sell.”
But he eventually realises the tremendous effort needed to ensure everything is right, to get it right, and started to love the whole process of sitting in front of the fire and tending it to ensure everything is just right in the first few months he started this venture.
Even then, Nazri knew it was not just a matter of getting the freshest and best ingredients out there – which the team import all their meats from Australia – but also there is a need to get the best smoker there is for all this to work. The only smokers available locally are quite small and they will sold-out within half an hour, an hour as the customers’ demand increases. Thus, they reached out to the experts in Australia, the barbeque nation itself, to get a custom-made smoker in the form of Radar Hill Smokers.
The whole smoking process takes at least 12 hours and Nazri personally attends to it from 8 pm to 8 am, before their restaurant eventually opens at 11 am. To ensure the best quality meat is served, the restaurant will be closed around 2 pm only to open again at 6 pm to continue until the night. It is estimated that 100kg of meat will be consumed daily in this establishment, and that is a lot of meat.
When asked on which side of this venture is the most challenge, the cooking side or the business side of this, Nazri answered that both are equally challenging. On the cooking side there is a concern of being able to maintain the quality of each different type of meat from the very livestock they came from to the smoker.
“One cow only gives about two briskets. Each cow died differently, lived different, also ate differently. We need to give our respect to each and every meat, in maintaining its quality.”
Of course, to sustain a business such as this being experience kitchen side of things is not enough, as there is an entrepreneurial side too. Nazri mentioned about maintaining their numbers, their customers basically in ensure customers return and more customers get to know about their food. There is a small team that handles the marketing sides of things which allows Nazri to focus more on the different ideas, cooking and food aspect of things. After years of doing this on a smaller scale – the enterprise eventually become this mid-sized corner lot establishment in Tropicana Avenue – which now is a local hotspot for barbeque lovers all over Kuala Lumpur to flock.
Looking back at his own relative success, Nazri do encourage young entrepreneurial chefs to venture out but advices on the amount of discipline and responsibility needed in facing the challenges ahead. There is a certain freedom to not clock-in everyday, but at the same this it does not mean one can procrastinate and be successful without putting in the extra mile and effort. There is also an extra level of love and perseverance needed to see things through. He encourages all to properly learn the ropes, both in sustaining a business and the kitchen side of things.
Finally, when asked about Beard Brothers’ BBQ future, either trying to franchise his brand, open branches in other states – he quoted Aaron Franklin, the barbeque master, on same sentiment in not franchising their establishments due to not being able to personally maintain the quality of the meats. There is almost a spiritual emphasis in ensuring each customer is served with the very best meats he could provide.
For Nazri, expanding the current space so that more customers could come and enjoy is more important. He is also looking into mass producing the sausages they make, 100% pure meat with no chemicals – and yes, they do have Sausage Nights too. Basically, he wants to personally continue doing what he does best, which is preparing the best meals for his customers and see their happy faces in the establishment – and yes, especially during Sausage Night.
Beard Brothers’ BBQ opens six days a week and closes on Mondays. They can be reached through their Facebook site or just visit their restaurant in lot P-G-01, Tropicana Avenue, and Nazri will invite you in with open arms. One last thing, don’t call ahead expecting to be able to book a table, because it is strictly, “No reservation,” as Nazri himself humorously put. The restaurant employs an open table policy, so just walk-in and enjoy the food and company.