Becoming the Kobe Bryant of Barbecue

By Captivate - Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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We have immense admiration for “students of their crafts.” Irrespective of avocation or profession, passion (which we said you’d hear a lot about from Captivate) is a common denominator and genuine game-changer distinguishing the truly great from those who are just good.

That, in part, is why we are such huge fans of Trudy’s Underground Barbecue and its pitmaster-in-chief, Burt Bakman. (Full disclosure: we’re fans of Texas barbecue in general, but when it’s as great as what Burt’s smoking at Trudy’s, you can definitely count us in.)

A native of Israel who immigrated to the United States as a teen, Burt has had a lifelong passion for food and the culinary arts. After tasting the smoked meats at Austin, Texas’s legendary Franklin Barbecue, though, Burt’s passions, like the low-and-slow heat of his smoker, became stoked.

Inspired by Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers,” and its principle that true greatness requires 10,000 hours devoted to craft, Burt began his quest to become the Kobe Bryant of barbecue. For the record, he’s just over 1,000 hours into that mission. But one bite of the brisket, ribs or links from his endearingly named Big Bertha, and it is clear Burt’s on his way—the trajectory for greatness, fueled by his passion for “blue smoke,” is set. He labors about 18 hours—tending his fire every 30 minutes—over each batch of brisket smoked with red or white oak.

Equally fascinating is the story of how Trudy’s “buzz” continues to grow. Through social media and word-of-mouth influencers, including an active Instagram feed that now numbers 15,000-plus followers, Burt has been selling out his barbecue “underground” from his backyard in Los Angeles’s Studio City neighborhood to customers who clamor—downright beg—for an order, which sell out weekly, via direct messaging. He has, as well, collaborated on pop-ups at establishments that include Alfred’s Coffee and Fat Sal’s. For Oktoberfest, he’s smoked up an effort with Macleod Ale Brewing Co. The meat and Burt have been featured in stories on KCET television and online at Eater LA, further signs of a rising profile.

So who’s Trudy? It’s a “shout out” to the mother of a friend in Toronto, Canada, who’s widely lauded for her oven-baked brisket.


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About Captivate Public Relations & Marketing

Captivate Public Relations & Marketing is a multifaceted agency that offers a 360-degree approach to creating consumer-centric, client-driven solutions in the product and services categories. The Captivate team believes that in order to excite the consumer, we must be as passionate as our clients about their brands, products, and services. Our comprehensive approach to integrated marketing allows our clients to select from services that range from strategic planning and branding to event management, digital marketing campaigns, media relations, and more. We strive to bring authenticity and creativity to every project, and coupled with senior level expertise and long-term strategic relationships with the media, influencers, and tastemakers, we craft inspired, tailored solutions to align brands with the right audiences to support our clients’ goals.

The firm is a partner agency of FoleyFreisleben LLC (

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