There has been a barbecue renaissance of sorts in Los Angeles lately. Folks are coming out of the woodwork — or, in at least one case, coming straight from Texas — to work up their own versions of low-and-slow cooked meats, whether at restaurants or weekend pop-up parties in the Arts District. But there is one man out there doing it all solo, from the Texas-sized research trips to the long hours tending to post oak packed into his own car, finishing with a stamped package of illicit meats sold from his own back yard in Studio City. This is Trudy’s Underground Barbecue.
The only way to get in touch with Burt Bakman, the Israeli behind the new Texas-style brisket and ribs option, is online. Or more specifically on Instagram, where a ton of like-minded culinary entrepreneurs have been plying their wares lately. Some have been getting shut down lately, others are going brick-and-mortar, but Bakman remains. He pushes pics of his work to a couple thousand followers, then waits for the weekend orders to crawl in.
The Studio City operation is still relatively small, but Bakman knows the ropes. There’s the fridge full of untrimmed briskets next to his children’s leftovers, the overnight cooks where feeding the fire is as important as any seasoning, and the finished product, stamped and wrapped for discerning customers with the right attitude and enough cash.
The Trudy’s specialty is central Texas brisket, an hours-long affair that results in tender thick cuts to be draped simply over slices of white bread. There’s some white onion and barbecue sauce (which Bakman also makes himself) if you want it, but don’t expect to eat on site — or with a knife and fork. On weekends you might also find ribs or other one-off options, but first-timers would do best to stick to the brisket. It’s got enough bark and chew to make for a substantial meal, but isn’t oversalted and dangerously peppery like some of the lesser stuff you might find around Los Angeles.
For now, Bakman is running Saturday solo cooks only, which means you should hit him up soon if you’d like to secure your spot in line for the weekend. With a bit more success and some permitting luck, there’s hope for a restaurant way down the line, but for now the Trudy’s brand is happily going strong online — even if it’s all just one man, turning logs and posting pics and slicing brisket and waiting for the queue of weekend eaters to arrive.