I wonder if American style barbecue might be set to become the next “Big Thing” in the UK. When we were at Southern 11 in Manchester a little while back, it was doing good business and, in Chester, on a wet summer evening, Hickory’s was very busy. Of course, what you are getting at both of these is generic barbeque with nothing of the regional differences that you see in the States – beef in one region, pork in another: tomato based sauce here, mustard based there and so on.
Starters were pretty good. There were the cutely named Frickles – slices of dill pickle battered, deep fried and served with a mild horseradish dip. Burnt Ends is not the most appetising name that I’ve come across for a dish but here again the deep frier was in action – chunks of beef brisket were coated in a spicy crisp crumb. That came with a poky dipping sauce – tomato based, sweetened and with a chilli kick. They’ll sell you a bottle of it to take home as well.
The brisket was first up on the main courses and was about to be the better of the two. Thin slices of exceptionally tender meat with a hint of the smoke, mixed with the dipping sauce. It worked very well. Pulled pork is my regular order in America and it was no different here but I felt it was lacking. Truth be told it was lacking in quantity but the restrained offering is somewhat disguised by topping it with a layer of BBQ baked beans. Have to say, I wasn’t keen on the mixed presentation, as it tended to blur the flavours of both elements. And I was even less keen to see it served in a “mess tin” rather than on a plate. It was just odd perhaps a gimmick too far. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it. Of course I enjoyed it – but I could have enjoyed it an awful lot more. Both dishes came with coleslaw and very crisp chip-sized chips, so full marks there.
I took the family there last year - I was paying so needed something a bit cheaper, and accessible for teenagers. I was quite pleased overall, it could have been a lot worse - I had a very large slab of mixed ribs I think.
I think the space it is in used to be a wedding reception place?