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With the US elections taking up most of our news space lately, now seems like a good time to indulge in some authentic American-style barbecue. What’s American ’cue? Painstakingly smoked meats like ribs and brisket cooked low and slow over wood fire, popular in the “barbecue belt” of the USA, which includes Texas, North and South Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky.

Enter S’Mao Barbecue, a pop-up concept at the Les Amis Group’s Casa Verde, the latter an al fresco Italian restaurant in Botanic Gardens. Unbeknownst to us, S’Mao has been quietly soft-launched for a few weeks now. Hmph. It’s helmed by 28-year-old chef Chia Jue Mao a.k.a “S’Mao” (pronounced “smile”, a nickname given to him by his pals thanks to his infectious grin). He spent a year working at popular food truck LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue in Austin, Texas. On top of the usual ribs and brisket, the truck serves unusual cuts of meat like beef tongue and Akaushi beef, a Japanese brown cattle breed. It was recently named “most creative barbecue in Austin” by American food website, Eater.


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