Chefs’ Secrets of Success: Tom Adams of Pitt Cue

By Hannah Thompson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Barbecue

In the third of our Chefs' Secrets series, we caught up with Pitt Cue's Tom Adams to ask: How does a barbecue food truck grow into a much-loved meat legend?

Once best known for introducing London to the now-ubiquitous pulled pork, Pitt Cue was first opened as a much-queued-at food truck by Tom Adams and Jamie Berger, in 2011.

Passionate about butchery, Adams brought chef experience from top London names The Ledbury and the Blueprint Café before teaming up with his friend ‒ as well as original backers Simon Anderson and Richard Turner, and head chef Oscar Holgado ‒ to specialise in well-executed American BBQ. (Adams also runs Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall, with chef April Bloomfeld). 

Having long since outgrown its on-wheels roots, the Pitt Cue first moved to a tiny brick-and-mortar location in Soho’s Newburgh Street – before opening its new flagship in the capital’s Devonshire Square in February.

An 80-100-cover space, it is built around a huge central £61,000 barbecue grill imported from the meat motherland itself (Michigan, USA), and is now as likely to serve a great plate of oil-brushed mackerel or caramel-cooked ribs than the pulled pork that made its name ‒ indeed, the new restaurant purposefully doesn’t even have pulled pork on the menu.

Specialising in Mangalitza pork dishes alongside bold meat options such as pheasant sausage, lamb neck, and the signature caramel-cooked prime ribs, its other classics include Cornish rock oysters, spicy n’duja, and hearty bone marrow mash.

The older but smaller brother, named Pitt Cue Co, temporarily closed after the Devonshire Square relocation, but re-opened as Little Pitt in August – complete with the original pulled pork on offer, alongside smoked lamb and old reinstated favourite, the pickleback shot (whiskey with brine).

It’s clear: for all its attempts to distance itself from the boom in low-and-slow and the oft-lamented pulled-pork phenomenon, Pitt Cue Co still holds a place in Londoners’ hearts as the purveyors of great barbecue.

So we caught up with Adams at this year’s Restaurant Show to ask him the secrets of his success, and the group’s rise from simple truck to meat legend.


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