UAE: This high school student’s BBQ delicacies are selling like hot kebabs

Abdulla AlJanahi embarked on his culinary adventure in December last year, starting a home business selling Wagyu briskets

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Abdulla AlJanahi showcases his signature Wagyu Brisket. — KT Photos & Video: Muhammad Sajjad
Abdulla AlJanahi showcases his signature Wagyu Brisket. — KT Photos & Video: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Sat 16 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 2:49 PM

Dubai welcomes a new addition to its delectable culinary scene, courtesy of a 16-year-old Emirati entrepreneur and his Texas-style barbecue venture called Abdul’s BBQ.

Abdulla AlJanahi is definitely making waves and quickly gaining popularity. He juggles his passion for cooking and the pressure of student life. While most students of his age focus solely on textbooks and exams, Abdulla runs a successful business – thanks to his innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

Abdulla attributes his success to his father. “I owe most of my success to my father. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Abdulla AlJanahi delivers food to a customer in Dubai. — Photo by M Sajjad
Abdulla AlJanahi delivers food to a customer in Dubai. — Photo by M Sajjad

His journey into the world of cooking began at 11. Initially, he was more of a robotics enthusiast, participating in competitions and showcasing his talent. In fact, he was able to clinch second place at the VIXIQ competition. But fate had other plans for him.

Reconnected with cooking

While the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of his life, Abdulla discovered his passion – which would soon become his calling. He said: “Covid-19 changed many things. It was hard to keep up with robotics, so I reconnected with cooking.”

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At 15, Abdulla embarked on his culinary adventure in December last year, starting a home business selling Wagyu briskets.

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The briskets require over 14 hours of smoking — one of the most challenging meats to cook. But Abdulla shows guts and dedication, boldly promising his customers juicy, tender, and high-quality cuts that ‘outshine a popular Texas barbecue restaurant’.

“My goal was to outshine that restaurant, and I’m sure that I achieved that,” he confidently told Khaleej Times.

Abdulla AlJanahi works in his kitchen in Dubai. — Photo by M Sajjad
Abdulla AlJanahi works in his kitchen in Dubai. — Photo by M Sajjad

Lengthy process

To cook the brisket, Abdulla undergoes a lengthy process. It begins during weekdays when he prepares sauces and some basics. When everything is ready, he starts the slow and labour-intensive cooking process.

On Fridays, he seasons the Wagyu and smokes it for over 14 hours. Usually, the process ends by Friday to start presenting by Saturday. But sometimes, he would stay till the next day to ensure the quality of his brisket. “There were many times I had no choice but to stay for the night. I must make sure the quality is consistent.”

Abdulla AlJanahi showcases his signature Wagyu Brisket, which is smoked for 14 hours. — Photo by M Sajjad
Abdulla AlJanahi showcases his signature Wagyu Brisket, which is smoked for 14 hours. — Photo by M Sajjad

Expanding business

Abdulla recently entered a new partnership with the local establishment, Bahraini Kebab, located in Al Quoz. The young Emirati entrepreneur can be found there every Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 11pm.

Othman Omar, manager of Bahraini Kebab, is highly impressed by Abdulla. He said: "Abdulla's products are unique to the market; it's not often we see wagyu briskets that are of such quality. He attracted new customers to our establishment, who always return for more.”

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