Grillstock BBQ Review
While it’s still summer, we’re going to be cooking, eating and, just for you, writing about one of our true loves here at Average Joes Blog, BBQ food. BBQ restaurants have been popping up at a seriously rapid rate, seemingly after the UK public discovered something called ‘pulled pork.’
When you get so many, it’s no surprise that some smokehouses don’t quite hit the spot. But one we heard great things about is Grillstock in Walthamstow. So we went down try things out for ourselves!
Grillstock has six smokehouses in the UK: two in Bristol, one in Leicester, Liverpool, Bath and one in Walthamstow, London. The Awesomestow (as the locals call it) branch is located near the Empire cinema on the apex of the High Street and the busy Hoe Street, a 3 minute walk from Walthamstow Central Station. The tube station is at the end of the Victoria line, 15 minutes from Kings Cross, or on the Overground, 15 minutes from Liverpool Street.
Grillstock is located at the start (or the end) of the longest daily market in Europe so naturally it can get pretty busy. However, we went on an early Tuesday evening and had no problem getting a table. There’s plenty of different seating from long wooden tables for the socialites out there, to booths and everything else in between for something more private.
Good contemporary music is played in the background and the American baseball-pen style décor plus the open kitchen, complete with visible smokery, added to a very relaxed feel. The staff were friendly, attentive and offered good advice when asked.
Now for the real test – the food. Grillstock started in 2010, when owners Jon and Ben combined their love of slow-cooked, smoked meat and music to create their first operation in Bristol. Those five years have meant that they’ve clearly had time to perfect their craft as every meat we had at Grillstock was cooked to perfection.
As our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs, we went straight in for the Smokehouse Combo, a combination of three meats, chips, slaw, a bread roll and pickles. We went for the pulled pork, brisket and BBQ chicken, which we were all succulent, juicy and fell apart to touch. We could have just as well had the ribs, which we tried on someone else’s plate, or the wings as part of our combo.
You’ll also be pleased to know that all the burgers at Grillstock come stacked with not only a beef patty, but an added meat of your choosing to set it apart. The trademarked Smokestack burger came with pulled pork and we’re struggling to think of a better burger we’ve had.
While all the meats are obviously rubbed with secret herbs and spices, Grillstock let you moisten up your meats yourself with their range of homemade BBQ sauces. Our personal choice was the Backyard BBQ Sauce which is very smoky, very woody and gives you some slight heat. It’s a little chunkier than some other BBQ sauces you’ll find, which we loved. The Caroline-style sauce was also great for Joes who like something a little milder.
Sides and Drink
One of the main reasons we love BBQ so much is the range of added sides you can get. At Grillstock, they won’t let you down in that department. We had the mac n’ cheese – this is a BBQ joint after all – the BBQ beans (beans mixed with even more pulled pork) and the Grillstock burned ends, all of which were superb. If you haven’t come across burned ends before, we can’t recommend them enough. As the name suggests, they’re taken from the ends of a slow-cooked beef brisket so you’re left with tender meat that’s a little more charred. They’re then mixed with some BBQ. We love it!
The drinks menu isn’t gigantic but it’s certainly better than your average BBQ joint. There’s an array of American style craft beers on offer as well as the BBQ Joes usual weapon of choice, Brooklyn Lager. There’s not many ciders on offer but both the UK-based Caple Rd and the US-based cloudy Lazy Jacks were excellent and we’ll be looking out for them again.
For our money, Grillstock is great value. As this is a BBQ haunt, you can quite easily spend in excess of £35/40 depending on A) how many sides you get and B) how much Brooklyn you’re drinking. But similarly if you’re just out for a quick lunch with a quick bottle, you can easily get out having only spent just over a tenner.
The sandwiches, which are sizeable enough and come with chips, range from £6.50 for the pulled pork and go up to £8.50. The burgers are similarly prices starting at £8.50. If you’re out for a meal and want to try the full range like we did, the Smokehouse Combo is great value at £18 for three meats, all good portions, plus sides. We promise there’ll be no need for dessert!
The sides are also all fairly priced at £4 each for the larger ones including the mac n’ cheese. Unsurprisingly for a restaurant, the booze is where you can come unstuck. A Brooklyn Lager, which comes in a bottle or can sets you back £4.90. So maybe think about driving instead!
We loved the BBQ on offer at Grillstock and they also run a festivals complete with top artists and naturally all the succulent BBQ meats you can think of. This year the Walthamstow festival is running on the 5th-6th or September with acts on the bill such as Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Grandmaster Flash and Razorlight. Check out the Website for more details.