Craig White is a Texan. He’s a pitmaster and an expert in smoked meats, and like many of his breed he can be secretive. White designed his own proprietary smoker that he won’t even let you photograph. But here’s the catch: He’s in Tokyo.
After cutting his teeth at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor and City Market in Luling, White, a mechanical engineer by trade, moved to Japan in 2011 and opened a barbecue restaurant called White Smoke. At first the Japanese weren’t so sure about the whole brisket and ribs thing. But eventually the high-end Texas barbecue spot won over Tokyo. After a fire destroyed the restaurant, White changed his approach, packaging his smoked meats and selling them across the country: Japanese diners now dig in to his ribs, sausage, turkey and more at high-end restaurants across the city and even buy them at (gasp!) Costco.