[Penang] SmokePapa Texas BBQ, Bishop Street

One of the more interesting food openings in George Town in the past month has been SmokePapa BBQ at the Jetty Food Court in Weld Quay. So far, it’s the one and only Texas Barbecue joint in George Town. Stallowner-chef, Tan Eik Hong aka Chef Hong, and his wife and co-chef, Jen Pham, both used to work at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, before they decided to return to Chef Hong’s hometown to ply his trade.

Chef Hong marinades his meats with his own secret rub, then smoke BBQ them for up to 8 hours, in the case of the huge hunks of pork-rib, to obtain that signature smokey aroma. He also wet BBQs whole chicken legs (thigh & drumstick) for 4 to 5 hours.

The result of this slow-cooking method was amazingly moist, fall-off-the-bone-tender and flavoursome meat that one can’t help keep returning back for. We ordered 3 of their lunch plate options:

  1. The Pulled Pork and BBQ Pork-ribs Combo (RM28/US$6.75) - which comes with a generous helping of pulled pork, a small portion of pork-ribs (which tasted absolutely divine), crunchy slaw, rice, 3 squares of very flavoursome cornbread, mashed potatoes and a couple of bread rolls. The pork-ribs and cornbread were my favourite items on the plate.

  2. 8 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork with Coleslaw and Mashed Potatoes (RM15/US$3.60). Very flavoursome pulled pork and something I’d come back at the drop of a hat.

  3. Smoked BBQ Chicken with Coleslaw and Mashed Potatoes (RM13/US$3.15) - this is probably the weakest of its offerings, as the chicken rub (theirs is Central Texas-style) did not taste very “Texan” to us. The sauces went a long way to add flavour to the dish. I also asked if they intend to introduce beef to their pork-heavy menu (this chicken option was the only non-pork one), but Jen (Chef Hong’s wife who manned the service counter) said that, looking at the profile of their target market - most Penangites are non-beef-eating Buddhists, they do not intend to do so in the near future.

However, Jen did mention that they intend to introduce freshly-made meat sausages soon - certainly look forward to that.

SmokePapa Texas BBQ @ Jetty Food Court
49-F, Pengkalan Weld (Weld Quay). 10300 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +60164177941 (Hong)/+60164177803 (Jen)
Opening hours: 11am to 11pm everyday except Tuesday.


Looks like the real deal to me! :joy:

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Is it Texas BBQ, if it isn’t beef?


Oh yes! Texas Barbecue can be beef or pork-ribs.

What woods were used for smoking?

@klyeoh do you have a wide angle shot of his BBQ smoker (or grill)? Can’t tell from the pics if its a Santa Maria style open grill or an enclosed smoker.

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True, but beef brisket is king.


Do these pics help?


Local coffee-tree wood.


thanks, its a legit closed smoker with an offset firebox (on the right). Will be interesting to learn the different flavors tropical hardwoods impart. i.e mango, rambutan etc etc.


Back to SmokePapa Texas Barbecue today for its BBQ duck - delish!

Danang-born Jen Pham knew about my keen interest in Vietnamese cuisine, and prepared a delicious pot of bun cha ca for the day, replete with fried, spongey fish cakes which I found pretty addictive. The thick rice noodles also came with garnishes like peeled tomatoes, boiled wedges of pumpkin, slices of pineapple and sprigs of fresh mint. Perfect with a squeeze of calamansi lime.

Texas-style BBQ meat + Vietnamese noodles - what can be better? :joy:


Wow what a combination, you’ve got me hungry.

I’ve hot smoked chicken a few times in my bullet style smoker but never duck. I’ve no idea why, but I’m definitely trying it now.



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Back to SmokePapa Texas BBQ yesterday evening for an early Thanksgiving turkey dinner - we had mashed potatoes, slaw and mac-n-cheese.

Chef Hong brined his turkey for 4 days, and it was absolutely juicy and delish:

Chef Hong’s wife, Jen, baked some really delicious cinnamon rolls. I actually enjoyed those best:

Fab meal there, as always.


Day 510 since Malaysia started its Movement Control Order (MCO) back in 18 March 2020, and 90 days since MCO 3.0 made it impossible for us to eat out.

Lunch today were take-outs from SmokePapa Texas Barbecue: we had chicken, ribs, slaw, mashed potatoes and corn bread.


SmokePapa has moved out of its long-time location in Jetty Food Court and into 41 Bishop Street nearby. With a larger kitchen, they’ve also expanded their menu offerings. We had a quick meal there last week on our way to the launch of a new exhibition at an art gallery nearby.

What we had this time:

  1. Vietnamese-influenced smoked chicken salad - crisp green Chinese lettuce leaves, tomato wedges, chopped shallots, grated carrots and smoked chicken shreds, dressed in a sharp, Vietnamese dressing of fish sauce (nuoc mam), cilantro and lime juice. Very good - I won’t mind having this for a light lunch any day.

  2. Pulled pork sliders - shredded smoked pork shoulder meat, sandwiched in brioche buns with coleslaw and nacho cheese sauce. Another cross-cultural fusion dish where the flavours came together beautifully.

  3. Smoked beef shepherd’s pie - of course, in the UK, it would’ve been called a cottage pie, as shepherd’s pie is the lamb or mutton version. But this is Penang, where every other local “knows” shepherd pie as “that meat pie topped with mashed potato”, but no one has a clue about a “cottage pie”. Call it selective acculturation, but that’s how it is.
    But whatever SmokePapa calls it version, they do come up with a tasty rendition.

  4. Smoked chicken set - this is one of SmokePapa’s most popular options. Most Malaysians (and Singaporeans) got their introduction to Occidental chicken dishes via KFC, which has an unbelievable reach in this region, far surpassing McDonalds, or any other American fast food chain.

KFC offered fried chicken with standard sides like mashed potato, coleslaw and little round buns. For 99% of Malaysians/Singaporeans back in the 1970s (the first KFC in Malaysia opened in 1973, and the first one in Singapore was in 1977), KFC was THE place where they had their very first encounter with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. Every so-called “Western” meal platter in this region thereafter would inevitably have that composition, or some slight variation thereof, on their plate meal offerings.

  1. Smoked beef ragu pasta - penne with US Angus beef ragu, shaved Grana Padano & chopped parsley. A new offering here, and it actually tasted much better than the pasta dishes in many Italian spots in town.

6) Key lime pie - I was never fond of key lime pies because, in whichever part of America, or the world, where I find it, it’s inevitably too sweet for my palate. Mea culpa.
But I enjoyed the one here tremendously because Jen Pham, the co-owner and patisserie chef for SmokePapa, miraculously came up with one which suited me to a ‘t’. I’ll even come back here just for this.

  1. Passionfruit cream dessert - this was delicious, although the jelly for the passionfruit layer was a bit too firm.

Overall, SmokePapa’s food has really improved, flavourwise, from a few years ago. It has always been good - now, it’s even better.

SmokePapa BBQ
41, Lebuh Bishop (Bishop Street), 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6016-417 7803
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm, Mon, Wed to Sun. Closed on Tuesdays.


What is the sauce dribbled over the smoked chicken - and is that a corn muffin tucked in with the rolls on the same plate?

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KFC had a big reach amongst Asian immigrants to the US…or maybe that was just my family as I have no data except my own. :grinning:. Back in the day, the food was quite good—when I was a kid who still ate meat, I remember deliciously spiced (slightly peppery) “original style” chicken, fluffy biscuits, and silky mashed potatoes with the most wonderful gravy. We would get a big order to go and take it to the coast and eat it with rice and kimchee and other ban chan. Such a fond childhood memory. Thanks for your report, as always!


It’s a honey-mustard sauce. Malaysians are big on sauces, and many dishes are often covered with copious amounts of dressing or sauce.

Yes, that is a corn muffin. My favourite item on the plate, actually.

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I’m not surprised - fried chicken is hugely popular in most Asian cultures, only the flavourings and marinades vary from country to country.

Malaysia has a population of 32 million, slightly larger than Texas with 29 million. There are currently over 770 KFC outlets in Malaysia!!

Funny, that was exactly the same experience here - I remembered distinctly how good KFC was in the past. And I’d thought it was only in Malaysia & Singapore where the standards have slipped precipitously.