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London - BBQ Recommendations

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Hi
Can anyone think of any great BBQ places in London - no where springs to mind (I'm thinking along the lines of Hill Country, Blue Smoke in New York).

Jamies's new place has had mixed reports....

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Short answer, no. Barbecoa and Bodeans pale in comparison to those NYC joints (which to a degree pale to their southern counterparts). If you need a fix, Bodeans is a better choice from a cost/value/traditional approach perspective.

    S

    1. I enjoyed Chicago Rib Shack far more than Bodeans, though it's pretty touristy and not cheap. Happy hour cocktails sweeten the deal... Barbecoa is more of a barbecue-inspired restaurant than an American BBQ joint and is all the worse for it. The bf loves Big Easy on the Kings Road, but possibly more because of their £15 all-you-can-eat night than because of particularly authentic or tasty BBQ.

      11 Replies
      1. re: gembellina

        there's also a place in wapping, but i havent been - http://www.qype.co.uk/place/98322-Rho...

        1. re: t_g

          Unless it's reopened in the same place, Rhodes closed about two years ago (which was a real shame, as it was about a week before I'd moved down the street from it). I think the owner still has a catering operation, though.

          I get my fix at Bodeans, though if it's a Saturday night I'd rather go to the Tower Hill branch than the Soho one, as you can book tables there. It's not as good as proper american barbecue of course, but the pulled pork and brisket is pretty good, and their own barbecue sauce is better than what you can find in most london supermarkets, so I usually take a bottle away with me. I've never been that impressed by their ribs, though.
          I haven't been to Chicago Rib Shack, as I'd been put off by the reviews when it reopened. Also, it's so expensive!

        2. re: gembellina

          Are you serious? Chicago Rib Shack is easily one of the worst restaurants in London. I cannot even elaborate because I would be here for an hour and I have to go to a birthday party (which i am willing to skip simply to dissuade a stranger from going to the CRS, but my fiance doesn't seem to understand the gravity of that task).

          Its a nice place to hang and drink, though.

          1. re: brokentelephone

            Maybe I should have been more clear: I didn't say it was a good restaurant, just that I thought it was better than Bodeans. Neither compare to America. As I mentioned, it's expensive and touristy, but they do good drinks and it's a fun place, and if I wanted BBQ I'd go there, even though I know that London doesn't do BBQ well. BBQ places here tend to be BBQ/American-themed, rather than just being places that serve BBQ. Barbecoa has tried to address that, but aims towards a fine-dining version of BBQ which I think misses the point somewhat.

            1. re: gembellina

              I absolutely love BBQ. My parents owned a few BBQ joints when I was a kid, I've gone on a BBQ tour in the US (rented a car and proceeded to get very sick of smoked food for 10 days), and very often BBQ my own brisket and ribs when space permits.

              I preface this with all of that aforementioned BS because I wanted to defend Bodeans, and thought some Q credentials may help my cause. Yes, Bodeans can have terrible service, and the food is awfully inconsistent, but occasionally I'll eat there and actually feel like I'm getting pretty good BBQ by any standards. I actually love their house BBQ sauce, their chips are good when fresh, their burgers are good-very good, and their BBQ chicken is some of the best I've had in London.

              All of the accolades, however, are reserved for the Soho location. The others I've been to have been so incredibly inconsistent that I could not with a clear conscience recommend them (though I have had good meals at the Fulham Broadway location, and a few not-so-good meals).

              Sorry for the unnecessarily long post about Bodeans, but I thought they deserved a friend.

              PS: I personally don't watch sports, but I do find it very annoying that Bodeans streams American sport on their TV from an internet feed. It is annoying as all hell to be transfixed to a heavily pixelated and lagging foodball game.

              1. re: brokentelephone

                Bodeans is the only BBQ I've tried since being in London. I thought the food was just fine (ate in Soho), and the place was fairly empty the lunchtime I was there about a year ago. I was spoiled having had such good stuff in NYC, but Bodean's was a good fix. I'm not much of a gourmette these days, but I even enjoyed the M&S package of pork ribs and so did my husband. The ribs were meaty and had a good sauce. Not living in London, it certainly comes in handy when the craving kicks in.

                1. re: brokentelephone

                  My only experience is of the Clapham branch, arriving just after a table of 20 rowdy lads. Our food took an hour to arrive, and when it did, the ribs were rubbery and lukewarm, the fries were soggy and the onions rings were super-greasy. Guess that explains where our food had been for an hour! The sauces were good though, and they did comp us a round of drinks for having to wait so long.

                  Have decided to visit the Soho branch at the weekend as I really want it to be good, and I'll be delighted if it turns out to be! I'm going to need a regular rib fix as the boyfriend has declined our trip to Memphis for the BBQ festival this year, on the grounds that there's not enough to do aside from eating! Ridiculous excuse.

                  1. re: gembellina

                    Let us know how it goes -- I'd hate to be the reason for another bad meal !!!

                    1. re: gembellina

                      Yes, please report back. These places change cooks like I change my hair colour. What could be great one month, doesn't always hold true the next.

                      You could visit Elvis - he would have been 76 this year. :-) Go to NYC instead.. lots to do and eat there.

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        I know - between stuffing myself with/like a pig and listening to the King I could have definitely entertained myself for a week!

                      2. re: gembellina

                        Have to admit, I only order the beef ribs and brisket which are served on limited days and I ALWAYS took my order to go. That way, it's hot, tasty and fresh and I get to devour it in privacy like a prairie lion!

              2. I went to Pitt Cue last week and didn't love it - so vinegary. Is this a particular style of BBQ?

                Red Dog Saloon got slated by Jay Rayner
                http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...
                Has anyone else been?

                And finally, does anyone know anything about Anna Mae's Smokehouse and where to find them?

                16 Replies
                1. re: gembellina

                  I think Anna Mae's is now part of Eat Street.

                  1. re: cathodetube

                    Yes I saw that, and then had trouble working out exactly what Eat Street is - kind of a collective of food traders rather than a physical place, and with nothing so useful as a calendar? I must be getting old when I can't understand these trendy websites ;)

                    1. re: gembellina

                      You can subscribe to their newsletter. They've only been going for about a year now. A bunch of their traders were recently at The Rye Pub in Peckham Rye over a two week period and Buen Provecho seems to be their regularly on Mondays now.

                    2. re: cathodetube

                      Hi all
                      Went to zoo later last night, in large part to try Anna Mae's. Sorry to report that the pulled pork was a big disappointment. There was no smokey or bbq flavour to speak of, it just tasted of, well roasted pork. Beans were decent and spicy but the slaw was a average - poor. Not much flavour or richness going on.

                      I think Bodeans remains the "go to", with Pitt Cue a firm favourite when I'm in the neighbourhood.

                      Has anyone been to Barbequoa (sp?) recently?

                      -----
                      Bodeans
                      Poland St, London, Greater London W1F 7, GB

                      1. re: olly78

                        Not been to Barbacoa but revisited Bodeans at Tower Bridge last weekend and it was as good as ever (although the baby back ribs seemed like quite a small rack).

                        -----
                        Bodeans
                        Poland St, London, Greater London W1F 7, GB

                    3. re: gembellina

                      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Ma...

                      They usually post upcoming events on their facebook page. I've never found Pitt Cue vinegary at all (although I've only had the ribs and pulled pork - the ribs are much better) so that's unfortunate. I went a lot when they first started but they seem to be getting a slight backlash now. Maybe slipping standards?

                      1. re: emusinthezone

                        Pitt Cue Co has always been top notch for me. By far the best in London. (anna Mae's Pulled pork sandwich comes a close second)

                        i've heard the brisket at Pitt Cue Co is a bit vinegary (i've never had this) but the ribs and pulled pork are always really tasty (ive been 4 times now)!

                        1. re: foreignmuck

                          When is the truck there? I need to try this!

                          1. re: zuriga1

                            Southbank, just under the Hungerford Bridge. They only do the ribs after 4pm though.

                            1. re: emusinthezone

                              not strictly true. I've had the pulled pork at 7 or 8pm. sometime they run out of certain stuff though, so depends on your luck. They never had the brisket when i go..

                              1. re: foreignmuck

                                Sorry, I meant to say that the ribs are only available after 4pm. The rest are available until they run out.

                                1. re: foreignmuck

                                  Are they there at lunchtime?

                            2. re: foreignmuck

                              I LOVED Pitt Cue - I was thinking of starting a separate thread. On my visit, I had the pulled pork and ribs which were truly great - just how real BBQ should be.

                              1. re: foreignmuck

                                Maybe I should have had the coleslaw rather than the beans, to balance things out a bit. They only had pulled pork when I was there - I'll give the ribs a go!

                                1. re: gembellina

                                  PittCue is very good, ,the only way to improve it would be to lower the cost of the pickleback shots (or do they include a beer aswell?)

                            3. re: gembellina

                              North Carolina pulled pork is supposed to use a somewhat sour vinegar-based sauce -- BUT -- sauce on the side can be typical, allowing each person to taste the meat and adjust the sauce to taste.

                            4. I went to Bodeans again last night – had the pulled pork / baby back ribs platter.
                              The meal was very satisfying, but was missing… .something. I found the baby back ribs to be especially delicious, but the pulled pork didn’t seem that, well, pulled. The last time I went was 5 years ago or so and I can remember the chicken being especially good, so maybe I will try that next time. Creamed corn and the coleslaw were good, but instead of chips why not some corn bread.
                              Any view on the other ribs they have?

                              I realized that what I need, more than anything, is fattyque (which for those who don’t know is a bbq / asian mashup). I’m also missing the momofuku pork buns (I’ve recently moved back to London from New York)- anyviews where I can something similar (in spirit if not in actual body) in London town?

                              -----
                              Bodeans
                              Poland St, London, Greater London W1F 7, GB

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: olly78

                                I went yesterday for lunch to the Fulham Broadway location and had probably the best Bodeans meal of my life.

                                We started w/free wings which were delicious (Que Card -- sign up free and get things free), and I had Jacob's Ladder beef ribs, and my little woman had the beef hotdog. The ribs had a thick pink smoke ring, and were completely falling apart juicy -- granted the shortrib is very fatty so not a monumentally difficult task, but I really enjoyed them and considering how royally people seem to f up barbecue in London I was pretty impressed. The hotdog was delicious (bun is pretty bad tho), and the chips were crispy and perfect (as perfect as McCain chips can be, anyhow).

                                A few Lone Star and Dixie beers, and my BBQ craving is officially satiated. Service was excellent as well.

                                1. re: olly78

                                  The pork 'kebab' bun at Leong's Legends in Chinatown is probably about as close as you'll get in London to the legendary Momofuku pork bun.

                                  -----
                                  Leong's Legend
                                  4 Macclesfield St, London, Greater London W1D 5, GB

                                  1. re: olly78

                                    There's a stall doing Momofuku-style pork buns at Broadway market on a saturday www.yumbun.co.uk - they're pretty addictive! I think they were around £4/£5 each? Also worth having a look for the Kimchi Slider stall at the Old Street saturday market - two sliders for a fiver, and the guy who runs the stand is pretty passionate about making his own kimchi, hot sauce etc from scratch. www.streetfoodie.com

                                    1. re: babybat

                                      Thanks babybat - it looks like yumbum is going to hit the spot. Now I just have to make my way to Broadway market. In NYC I lived in the East Village (basically next door to Momofuku) - now I'm south of the river.

                                      1. re: babybat

                                        Yumbuns are absolutely banging... I think they are £3 each and £5 for two - and are a pretty decent size. I've spotted Nuno Mendez (of Vaijante fame) down there a few times i've been. He's a bit of a fan by all accounts...

                                        1. re: foreignmuck

                                          Those yumbuns are great, but they are a bit erratic about turning up every weekend, there's been a few times when I have had a craving and they've not been there.