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Jun 29, 2008 06:20 PM

City Flame Smoke House, Manchester NH

I've decided it needs it's own topic!! We are loving this place, went for the second time and had all new things, can't wait to go again. This time we tried the pulled pork (omg, delish - soooo moist and tender) and the sausage (mmmm, from Sausage Heaven too). We tried new sides too: the cukes were awesome, not sure how they are made but taste like an interesting pickling going on. Hubby got honey apples and loved them. I got the smoked sweet potato because it was sooo good last time. The corn bread is unbelievable, it's more like a moist corn cake - best I've ever had (and I lived in the south for 7 years).

I really love the people here, they care about customers and passionate about their food and business.

Next trip, I have to try that bbq spaghetti, although it will be tough because I really love the brisket, ribs and pulled pork - (my favorites so far). I haven't tried the cole slaw yet either - I love a good cole slaw.

If you haven't tried them, you must. The ambiance is nice too.

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  1. I completly agree. I finally got around to them a couple of months ago, and fell in love them right away. They have been in regular rotation ever since. The brisket and the the chicken are my favs, but what sets them apart IMO is the sides. What you would expect but different at the same time, love the chili and the cucumbers. And I can't believe the cornbread, better than my Mom's. I love this place and the owners are awesome. I hope they can stick around. They have my support.

    1 Reply
    1. re: viva manchvegas

      We love this place, it is real BBQ. Tender and juicy, not dried out, with a good lacquer. We can't choose so we always get the combination platter with all the meats! And they really are all excellent - ribs, brisket, pork, chicken. I haven't tried sausage yet.

      I have to say their mashed potatoes are truly fantastic, with a dollop of butter just melting on top as it's served to you. Most places I don't bother with mashed because it's not good, but here I have to order it every time.

      I like the coleslaw (and I am very particular about coleslaw, it has to be just right, not too thick & mayonnaisey, not too much pickle or relish or mustard in it like some places).

      Once we tried the owner's special native country recipe of roasted red pepper salad, it goes well with the meat and is refreshing.

      It's easy to find close to the police station and there is a little parking lot too.

    2. City Flame Smokehouse is one of my favorites in all of New England. They really have their BBQ craft down pat and they're super nice people too. I agree on the sides-- cucumbers are my favorite and they even have a smoked sweet potato.

      More photos/comments:

      1. The BBQ Spaghetti is fantastic and ordered it to go last time I was there because I wanted to eat the brisket, chicken and sides while I was there. I ended up eating the bbq spaghetti the next day and wished i had got two orders of it to go.

        Will have to try the sausage next time I go....I haven't tried anything from Sausage Heaven yet, so this will give me something to look forward too.

        I didn't like the cornbread first time I was there, but it's growing on me now. I've never had anything like it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Infomaniac

          You should try Sausage Heaven, all their items are fantastic. Their cheddar hot dogs are sooooo good, when you cut into them - cheese oooozes out. I've tried several items and always want to run back to try more.

          I'm anxious to get back to City Flame to try that spaghetti, the chicken, coleslaw and the chili - I'm just going to go through the menu trying new each time.

          1. re: lexpatti

            I just heard that Sausage Heaven has closed.

            From their website:

            Sausage Heaven has closed its doors. This economy has been rough on all of us and we are an unfortunate casulty. Thank you for your patronage and we wish you well!

          2. re: Infomaniac

            This piece of advice is the one time Chowhound has steered me wrong. I LOVE City Flames; I eat lunch there about once a week and have had everything on the menu except the smoked chicken (which I fear is too messy for work clothes.)

            I tried the barbecue spaghetti last week and found the pasta to be soft and overcooked, and the sauce to be a watery with bits of barbecued meat in it. Disappointing and very unlike the rest of the menu. Outside of that, a great place and a welcome addition to the Manchester dining scene.

            1. re: lawforfood

              I've had the bbq spaghetti a few times, this Saturday the most recent, and will agree with you that the pasta is not al dente, but I've never had water sauce. I usually get it to go and eat it the next day if that matters. I was told it is not their best seller but it reminds me of a ish my Dad used to make when I was a kid.
              Sorry you didn't like it, but if this is the one time you have been steered wrong consider yourself lucky.

              1. re: Infomaniac

                Fair enough; I should add that it wasn't at all _unpleasant_, it just didn't live up to the rest of the menu, and I wouldn't go back if that were the first thing I tried. I'm glad that it reminds you of your Dad.

                I only posted my experience so people would get a balanced view of the place and maybe try other things on the menu.

          3. Sorry 'cue mavens, I really wanted to love this place, but a recent lunch consisted of fatty ribs with not much smoke flavor, slightly undercooked chicken with un-crispy skin and "meh" cornbread. The brisket was very good, and the sides were the best part of the meal--have to agree that the roasted peppers were wonderful, and the cole slaw and marinated cucumbers were tasty. I'll give it another try, maybe they were having an off-day. Also, no unsweetened ice tea!

            15 Replies
            1. re: whs

              Just checked out their website,, they do state that they slow cook, prices appeared reasonable. I'd give it a try.

              1. re: whs

                That's a real bummer, I've loved my visits. And yes, that's a southern thing "sweet tea". I hope they aren't cutting corners due to the economy, their cornbread was the best I've ever had (having spent 7 years outside New Orleans).

                1. re: lexpatti

                  It was a Thursday after 2pm, maybe not the best time to hit the place...

                2. re: whs

                  I have to agree with you based on my only visit. I got the pulled pork sandwich (right at lunchtime) and found the meat to be quite dry, the bread insubstantial, and the portion rather minimal. The cole slaw was quite good, but I think it was rather pricey for 6.50. What I really didn't like was that I asked for a cup of water and he said they only had bottles of water for sale. I think that is very bad customer service, especially in a barbecue place. I might be interested in trying their other offerings if they are good, but I wasn't impressed with my first visit.

                  1. re: observor

                    I usually get a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and I loved it!
                    The amount of food is more than enough to satisfy my hunger and I definitely don’t think it’s pricey for $6.50.
                    They offer Thanksgiving smoked turkey. Sounds tempting. Anyone tried it before?

                    1. re: observor

                      The bread was insubstantial? I'm not sure if you are aware of it or not, but BBQ is eaten on plain ole white bread of the Wonder like variety. I have eaten BBQ from texas, memphis, carolina, KC and live in alabama and have never received "Substantial" bread. The dryness however is unfortunate. As far as water goes, if you want it why wouldn't you be willing to pay for it?

                      1. re: pavlov_dog

                        Why should I pay for something that comes out of the sink? I am happy to hear you don't mind eating poor bread, but I like my food to be quality.

                        1. re: observor

                          Plain old broke-assed white bread is the ONLY bread EVER served with BBQ from Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City to Interstate in Memphis to Dreamland in Birmingham to Corky's in N.C. I don't know if this is the first BBQ you have ever had but I suggest if you want "quality" bread with BBQ you may want to bring your own because it doesn't exist at the best BBQ joints in the world I understand your thought, but the bread is only there to sop-up the sauce/ juice. I rarely end up eating the bread at all unless I am having brunswick stew. As far as paying for water I was referring to bottled water not tap water. Why should you pay for something that comes out of a sink? Nothing as long as you bring your own cup. Why should anyone get a cup and straw for free as it is an expense to the restaurant where margins are slim enough.
                          Good luck looking for Brioche at a BBQ joint...

                          1. re: pavlov_dog

                            When I go out for BBQ, In my mind I like to think that my appetite is like a Puma....meat, meat, meat.....Same thing for a Brazilian Rodizio.
                            Everything else just gets in the way.

                            1. re: Infomaniac

                              Being the open-minded fellow that I am I tried the Smokehouse again for the ribs. I got a half rack with two sides and cornbread ($14).

                              The ribs were rather dry and I haven't had ribs before that hadn't been barbecued with at least some sauce, or at least some spices...seems odd to only put sauce on after. Not much flavor. I asked her if they had been made today and she said "Um...yes." which I didn't find reassuring. The cole slaw was very gloppy and not that flavorful and the beans tasted like regular kidney beans, without much "bbq". The corn bread was gummy. Overall, not very impressed. Must say they had a pretty good lunchtime crowd going, so, whatever, I don't find it to be that great. 14 dollars seemed like a lot for dry and not very hot ribs. Maybe I am just a perfectionist.

                              1. re: observor

                                Thats to bad...I haven't been since December last year, as my daughter's piano teacher moved out of Manchester and I do not get into Manchester as frequently anymore. I don't order ribs out that much, and there I usually went for the brisket.

                                1. re: observor

                                  That is too bad, I haven't been in a while either. Maybe I need to check it out for myself to see if they are maybe cutting corners. :-(

                                  I want to try the one in Boscowen, people are talking about ti.

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    finally made it to the one in Boscowen (reported on another thread) - I wasn't pleased but hubby liked (ddn't love, only liked). My fav is still City Flames but I need to go again to get an updated opinion.

                        2. re: observor

                          Just went to the City Flame over the weekend and thought it was excellent authentic smoked BBQ! This place is the real deal folks and true smoked bbq is not common
                          around here.
                          If your are used to the chain restaurant ribs which are braised and slathered in sauce then your just may not like the real thing.

                          I smoke my own bbq and could tell that the ribs I had were fresh. As was the pulled pork and the brisket. All wonderful. None were slathered with globs of sauce so yes the meat tasted more dry ... I would not call it dry by any stretch. Except for the chicken breast .... but thats really had to not be dry ... and I still thought it had some
                          The sides were way above average for a bbq place as well.

                          Compared to KC's, which I also love, I think Cify Flames food is more diverse and better on the whole. The ribs were real close. City Flame has good brisket. KC's will make it on occasion but each time It was indeed very dry. KC's wins in the cozy shack ambiance setting and has beer. More fun to eat at ... at least for me.

                          1. re: nhhillrider

                            Their hours are weird--we've tried going twice and they are always closed. Don't think they do dinner.