I know it’s a bit sacrilegious to say, but it’s not hard to feel quite ambivalent towards BBQs here in Blighty, what with all those sudden downpours, burnt sausages and criminal amounts of ketchup.
But we’ve definitely fallen back in love with the good ‘ol burger in the UK, so why not BBQ food as well? That’s the aim of the game down at Red’s True BBQ, and judging by the queue to get through the door when we went to go check the place out the other night, it seems to be a battle they’re winning.
We got things fired up with something new to the menu, the ox cheek bone luge. 8 hour smoked and shredded ox cheek is piled up on top of a marrow bone, this is joined by sweet onion pickle, cornbread, and a shot of bourbon. First we dug into the ox cheek and marrow, they taste great mixed together, and I always enjoy a bit of cornbread. The plan is then to pour the whiskey down the bone using it as a makeshift straw of sorts. A fair bit of booze missed its target, and I’m not sure how much the drink was improved, but it was funny I’ll give them that.
…judging by the queue to get through the door when we went to go check the place out the other night, it seems to be a battle they’re winning.
The other starter we tried was a little more conventional, although I’ve never had jalapenos wrapped in bacon before once I’d eaten one of them I was wondering why on earth not. Chillis and bacon together at last, and they’re as good as they sound. I definitely need to have a go that one next I’m firing up the coals.
In my book you can’t have a good BBQ without some decent booze and a big old stack of condiments. Luckily they’ve got their bases covered on both counts. There’s an extensive selection of bottled beers and wines but we stuck to draught and enjoyed Shipyard American IPA, a nice hoppy number, and Idle hands craft lager which is Red’s own home brew. Sauce wise there’s 5 to choose from, my favourite’s the Triple 6 hot sauce, nicely spicy and a little fruity too, with the mustardy South Carolina and Judas ketchup there’s something for everyone though, I’d say.
It’s hard to look past ribs on the menu, there are a number of different choices, we opted for the KC wet baby backs, they’re sweet and juicy served in a lip smacking BBQ glaze which literally glistened under the restaurant’s neon lights. I’m also tempted by the prime USDA beef brisket plate. It comes in the form of 9 hour smoked Black Angus brisket served with white bread. I can’t say the bread did much for me but the meat’s tasty, quality over quantity, words not often associated with American cuisine. We chose skin on fries and giant onion rings to go with, but the real star of the sides was the BBQ pit beans. Smoky, rich and pimped out with pulled pork and brisket, they more than hold their own against that table full of meaty goodness.
We didn’t really need dessert but I couldn’t resist the pecan and salted caramel peach cobbler, it was a real treat too, tasty fruit pieces with that slightly savoury, crunch topping. Apparently found on a recent food pilgrimage to Dallas, I need to get myself an invite to one of those road trips if that’s what they’re up to. My companion for the evening went for the ice cream sundae which ticked all the boxes and had a few pretzels in there for good measure.
Everything was served up with a slice of Americana. From the 90’s metal music to bright lights and a kind of twisted diner decor, the table alongside us ate their meal from the flipped lid of a metal trash can, think Oscar the Grouch. It’s easy to just see a theme park of a restaurant, but above all that there is a certain fanaticism about the food. And what can I say, I consider myself converted.