Robert Austin Cho

Kimchi Smoke

Biography

Robert Austin Cho was born in Seoul, Korea but grew up in New Jersey during a time when it wasn’t so easy to deal with two cultures. “My parents took Korean food and (smelly) KIMCHI to the park, to the beach.” This made Robert very uncomfortable because he wanted to be “American” and fit in.... READ MORE

Robert Austin Cho was born in Seoul, Korea but grew up in New Jersey during a time when it wasn’t so easy to deal with two cultures. “My parents took Korean food and (smelly) KIMCHI to the park, to the beach.” This made Robert very uncomfortable because he wanted to be “American” and fit in. People didn’t know what kimchi was let alone know that Korea was not part of China or Japan. But at the same time, he found himself putting that funky fermented stuff on his grilled cheese sandwich, pizza, bologna sandwich, and whatever leftovers he could find because his parents were working double shifts.

His life took a turn in 2007 while Robert was watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay. He was introduced to wood smoked barbecue, which was not popular in NJ. He bought a little grill and went to the park and tried smoking some ribs and entered a church BBQ cookoff. He won for his ribs and defended his title the following year.

Eventually, he took his passion for smoked meats to the streets as Kimchi Smoke. For 3 years he worked as a mobile food vendor and pop up concept throughout NJ and NYC.

He later opened Kimchi Smoke Barbecue and has won numerous awards including People’s Choice at Brisket King NYC 2019.

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Favorite Event

Backyard BBQ presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats and National Beef hosted by Andrew Zimmern

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