Whether summer is gracefully bowing out, or ramping up for a last gasp in September, now is the perfect time to revel in some BBQ’ed delights. Here are a few of our current favourites:
A few months ago David Pynt, (Nuno Mendes’ The Loft Project and The Long Table), built his own wood stove outside a railway arch near Broadway Market. Here he established Burnt Enz, a temporary restaurant offering American-inspired ribs and pulled pork on Saturdays, and a menu that is a testament to Australian Pynt’s own worldly journeys at sit-down dinners on Thursday evenings. We loved the elegantly textured grilled wild sea bass, seaweeds and cucumber with samphire, and the duck hearts, broad beans, chicory and nasturtium leaves – a beautiful plate and a true delicacy. And while the kitchen is now closed on Saturdays, you can still book for Thirsty Thursdays until the end of September.
Bar-B-Q Shack, World’s End pub:
This is not the first place that springs to mind when you hear the words ‘pub in Brighton’. Refreshingly off the beaten path, the comfortable, no-frills World’s End pub has housed David Hargate’s Bar-B-Q Shack for the last year and a half. We’re told that he is the go-to guy for UK chefs developing their own BBQ menus, and this comes as no surprise. The ribs are traditional - smoked until they are sticky and require some tearing off the bone, and His Kansas City-influenced barbecue sauce is nothing short of addictive. The brisket is lean and tender, and the armadillo eggs—a jalapeno pepper stuffed with cream cheese, and encased by ground pork which is wrapped in bacon—is a classic you don’t normally see on menus outside of the US. Hargate is a three-time winner of the UK barbecue championships, and when we meet him he smelled delightfully of wood smoke.
Red Dog Saloon:
On Hoxton Square in London, Red Dog are a consistent favourite, not only for their flavourful, melt-in-your-mouth ribs full of sweet top notes and depth, but also for the decadent Philly Cheesesteak and sticky delicious chicken wings. They get top marks for their traditional mac ‘n’ cheese, for developing their own BBQ sauce, and for their perfectly balanced Boston sour bourbon cocktail.
Pitt Cue Co:
Pitt Cue Co continue to attract long queues to their miniscule space in Soho, and while it may be worth the 2-3 hour wait (no reservations taken) for the barbecued salt marsh lamb belly—one of our food highlights of 2012 so far—if this is not on the specials board, you’re better off enjoying their ribs and basic menu at their van on South Bank, which is where they started last summer and is back for the season.
Also worth mentioning is Duke’s Brew and Que in Dalston, which we covered a while back, and stalwart chain Bodean’s—once the only kids on the UK BBQ block—is still turning out a good pulled pork sandwich and fries.
Text by Ananda Pellerin