Low and slow: The much-loved mantra of American barbecue culture is more than just a slogan. It's an attitude, a badge of pride in a way of cooking and eating that's still little known to people here in Japan. If Smokehouse has anything to do with it, that situation looks set to change in a big way.

Newly arrived in backstreet Harajuku, Smokehouse preaches the gospel of pit barbecue. Forget the kind of amateur open-air grilling done at weekends on decks and countless campsites. The specialty here is the real-deal style of meat cooking, hot-cured in smoke-filled ovens for hours on end, that is traditional to the U.S. South and Midwest.

"This is genuine American regional cuisine," announces David Chiddo as he places a massive serving of beef and pork cuts in front of me. Ribs, brisket, substantial chunks of chicken, a mound of chopped pork, half a smoked sausage: The portion sizes here are as authentic as the flavors.