Best BBQ Joints in London
With summer officially starting in June, we’re going to be cooking, eating and, just for you, writing about one of our true loves here at Average Joes, BBQ food. BBQ restaurants have been popping up at a seriously rapid rate in London, seemingly after the UK public discovered something called ‘pulled pork.’
This week also happens to mark National BBQ Week 2016 (or #NatBBQ2016 as the kids are calling it). So to celebrate, here’s a run-down of the best barbecues we’ve had the pleasure of demolishing in our nation’s great capital.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of tucking into some ‘proper’ American-style BBQ then there’s no better place to start than Grillstock. Originally a native to Bristol, Grillstock hit Walthamstow a few years and offers Londoners all the classics cooked slowly in the smokers on site. We’re talking brisket, wings and what we think are some of the best ribs in the capital. The beer menu lists American and London brews, as well as their own ‘Grillstock Pale Ale’. The American baseball-pen style décor, plus the open kitchen, add to a very relaxed feel here.
Location: 198 Hoe Street. E17 4BF. Nearest Tube: Walthamstow Central.
Red’s True BBQ, Shoreditch
Another American-styled joint we’ve long been fans of is Red’s. What started as a single restaurant in Leeds back in 2012 has now spread nationwide with eateries in Nottingham, Sheffield and our local one in Shoreditch. All your usual suspects are served here with the pulled pork being our tip, as well as Red’s famed stacked burgers. The meats are rubbed for 24 hours at Red’s and then slowly cooked on a low heat. They also have a selection of authentic regional sauces ranging from Kansas to North Carolina, and sides include mac n’ cheese, onion rings and fries. There’s also a decent selection of American lagers and light beers.
Location: 54-56 Great Eastern Street. EC2A 3QR. Nearest Tube: Old Street.
One Sixty, West Hampstead
One Sixty in affluent West Hampstead is named after what they say is the optimum temperature for slow cooking that beautiful tender meat. We like to hit One Sixty on a Monday when they do their succulent 8-Hour Smoked Pork Ribs with fries for just £10. They’re covered in a flavourful dry rub so you didn’t have the mess you often get from a smokehouse, and they do what any good rib should do – and that’s fall off the bone with barely a touch. The beer selection at One Sixty is also as good as anything we’ve found in London with drafts and bottles spanning the globe. We wholehearted recommend Kona’s Big Wave, an IPA-styled beer all the way from Hawaii.
Location: 291 West End Lane. NW6 1RD. Nearest Tube: West Hampstead.
But if you’re looking for something a little less hearty and a bit more high-end, when it comes to London BBQ Neil Rankin has long been your go to man. The renowned chef runs the kitchens at Smokehouse in Islington and Chiswick. We recommend Islington, purely because of its location, where they serve signatures such as Somerset Goat Tacos with Chipotle Aioli and Green Sauce, as well as one of the most succulent Smoked Lamb Shoulders we’ve ever had for Sunday lunch. The interesting thing about Smokehouse is it doesn’t nail its masts to one region. As such, you’ll find American, English and even Korean influences on the menu.
Location: 63–69 Canonbury Rd. N1 2DG. Nearest Tube: Highbury & Islington.
Bodean’s BBQ, Soho
When it comes to barbecue in London, we couldn’t have a list without the restaurant that arguably started it all. Bodean’s was founded by Andre Blais, an American who wanted to bring his hometown Kansas City’s barbecue to the UK. It’s now fourteen years ago Bodean’s opened and it’s still one of the most authentic BBQ joints in The Smoke. Much of this is down to their in-house oak-burning smoke pit and distinct dry rubs and sauces. Whiskey also plays a big role here so be sure to get one of their Old Fashioneds!
Location: 10 Poland St. W1F 8PZ. Nearest Tube: Oxford Street.
The Blues Kitchen, Camden
If Kansas is just a bit too far north for you, head to Camden and The Blues Kitchen for, in our opinion, the best Texas-style barbecue joint in London. Ribs are cooked for 16 hours and brisket for 20 hours at Blues, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be served dry meat – anything but. We’d recommend everything here but have always loved their Crispy Fried Chicken which has been lovingly marinated in buttermilk. While The Blues Kitchen is always going to be about the food, it doesn’t half pack an atmosphere too with DJs and live blues music every night. Also, make sure you don’t leave until you’ve tried the deep-fried Oreo with chocolate sauce. Every bit as ridiculous as it sounds but also every bit as good!
Location: 111-113 Camden High Street, NW1 7JN. Nearest Tube: Camden Town.