Harlem Rd. Texas BBQ is just one of the 3 pit masters to be featured at this year’s Taste of Italy Seminar “How to Pair Italian Wine with BBQ,” presented by Houston Chronicle BBQ columnist J.C. Reid and wine writer Dale Robertson (also for the Chronicle).
Here’s what Reid had to say about Harlem Road BBQ in a recent Chronicle feature:
[Harlem Road BBQ pit master Ara Malekian] got his big break in 2000, when celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck hired him as a corporate chef. Malekian traveled across the U.S. opening restaurants for Puck’s burgeoning empire. He eventually moved to the San Francisco area and opened two restaurants of his own in the mid-aughts.
In 2006, Malekian moved to Texas to be close to his brother and his family, who had recently moved to Sugar Land. Malekian bought a food trailer and started catering events and doing pop-ups across Houston. He often got requests to cook barbecue, and over the next few years gained experience and knowledge in the art of smoked meats.
At the time, Malekian kept his food trailer in a storage unit on a dusty stretch of Harlem Road in Richmond. The owners of the storage facility, who also own 1,000 acres of nearby grassland mostly used to raise cattle, asked Malekian if he’d be interested in opening a barbecue joint on their land.
Image via the Harlem Road Texas BBQ Facebook.