Real Texas BBQ at Texas Joe’s

img_9241Texas Joe’s BBQ opened in Bermondsey on 4th of July – American Independence Day – and I had been keen to try it ever since. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of BBQ and ever since I moved to London nearly two years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for the city’s best and most authentic American BBQ. Well, I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Texas Joe’s does it all right.

img_9207Texas Joe’s is owned by native Texan Joe Walters from Dallas, who carved out a name for himself a few years ago when he was a contestant on Dragon’s Den and won an investment for his awesome beef jerky, which is now sold in every major grocery store in the UK.

img_9232What I really love about Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats is that it’s all about the authenticity of the BBQ. Admittedly, we have tried some pretty poor BBQ restaurants in London that just haven’t made the cut. Similar to Kansas, life in Texas is all about the BBQ and Joe has really brought that pride to the Big Smoke.

img_9192The menu is cleverly printed on a vintage Texan newspaper and features signature dishes from pork shoulder, USDA beef brisket and beef prime rib to mutton, chicken and an array of sides such as chicken wings, brisket nachos and Frito pie (yes, FRITO pie).

img_9198We kicked off our lunch with some cornbread sprinkled with jalapeño peppers and topped with butter. Spicy, sweet and buttery, Joe’s cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to the smokey meat to come.

img_9195We ordered the signature brisket, one of my favourites, and it was fantastic. Smoked low and slow in a mighty smoker, fuelled by age oak from London Log Co, this brisket was smokey, tender, juicy, melt-in-your mouth good.

img_9201We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries, which tasted great in the homemade BBQ sauce.

img_9203Our only wish was that they featured burnt ends on the menu, flavourful, smokey pieces of meat cut from the point half of a smoked brisket. However, we did ask if they had any and they happily brought out the end of the brisket for us, which was divine. Crispy on the outside with a black peppercorn crust and tender and smokey on the inside, these weren’t your average morsels, but slabs of incredible meat that they should definitely consider adding to the menu.

img_9212I loved the interior of the restaurant as well, which pays homage to Texas, featuring TX longhorns, the state flag, and cowboy artwork. There is an rustic southern vibe and it reminded me of a lot of BBQ restaurants you’d find in Kansas. No gimmicky decor here, just a real Texan pride that shines through in both the food and the interiors.

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img_9216After you’re done eating, be sure to check out the Honky Tonk bar next door, which features an array of award-winning bourbons, an awesome selection of US and UK craft beers and of course, Lone Star lagers. There’s even an old-school juke box where you can pick any American tunes you like. Pull up a bar stool, put some money in the jukebox, grab a bourbon and enjoy.

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img_9227Overall, I really loved Texas Joe’s BBQ. I thought the brisket was outstanding, service was great and the USA pride really shows through. There’s no gimmicks, just all around, awesome food. For a real taste of Texas, pop Texas Joe’s on your foodie bucket list – you won’t regret it.

What are some of your favourite BBQ spots in London?

Texas Joe’s | 8-9 Snowsfields | London | SE1 3SU 

 

Tastes of Kentucky at Southern Joe’s

Last week, I was invited along to American-inspired restaurant Southern Joe’s in Covent Garden to try out their newly launched limited edition, Jim Beam-infused BBQ menu. As you may know from reading my blog, I am a mega BBQ addict, so as you can probably guess, I was thrilled to try out the delicious-sounding Tastes of Kentucky three-course dinner.

_R015144The unique menu features an array of dishes that have been infused with Jim Beam’s most popular flavours – Jim Beam Apple, Jim Beam Red Stag and Jim Beam Honey. Each dish is also expertly paired with a refreshing Jim Beam cocktail, made with complementary bourbon flavours. It’s safe to say if you’re a bourbon-lover, then you’re in for a real treat with this menu.

_R015156A super knowledgable Jim Beam brand ambassador gave us the run down on why Jim Beam is so special. First off, it’s one of the best selling bourbons in the world and each and every bottle is produced in Kentucky, USA. Jim Beam has been around since 1795 and seven generations of the Beam family have been involved with its production. You may be thinking, why Kentucky? Well, interestingly enough, the process of creating every bottle starts with naturally filtering water though limestone, which is predominantly found in Central Kentucky. This process plays a huge part in the overall taste of Jim Beam’s bourbon and it is pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

_R015159Dinner kicked off with these pretty Smoked Chicory Apple Sours, made with Jim Beam Apple, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, angostura bitters and chicory essence. The drink itself was sweet and although it was a bit too sugary for me, paired really well with the delicious Pulled Pork Buns infused with Jim Beam Apple.

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_R015170Three mini Pulled Pork sliders were presented  and to be honest, I really couldn’t get enough. The Pulled Pork was perfectly smokey and tasted as if it had been made in a real smoker. I loved the Apple-infused BBQ sauce, in fact, I’d love some to have at home as it was a really unique and tangy sauce. It was one of my favourite dishes of the evening.

_R015192Next up was a Honey & Vanilla Bourbon Milk Punch that I would gladly drink again and again. Made with Jim Beam Honey, vanilla syrup, milk and garnished with a honeycomb, this libation was hands down my favourite of the evening. It’s super simple to make and we’ll definitely be re-creating it for cocktail hour at home! They also tasted fantastic paired with Jim Beam honey-infused Southern Fried Wings, that were finger-licking good.

_R015196These sweet and succulent wings were some of the best I’ve had in London and I was really happy to have had such a hefty portion! I am normally not a wing-on-the-bone kinda gal, but these were incredibly flavourful and cooked to perfection. They fell right off the bone and melted in your mouth. A must-try if you visit Joe’s Southern!

_R015208Our final tipple of our lovely Americana evening was a Black Cherry Old Fashioned, made with Jim Beam Red Stag, Demerara sugar syrup, whisky bitters and orange zest. Typically Old Fashioneds can be a bit on the strong side for me, but the Black Cherry added a hint of sweetness and I really enjoyed topping off the evening with this sipper.

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_R015218We finished off our dinner with a Joe’s BBQ beef burger with Jim Beam Red Stag glazed bacon. The bacon was delicious and the salty flavour combined with the sweetness of the cherry made it the perfect accompaniment to the burger.

Overall, the limited edition menu is great if you are craving some American comfort food in Central London. I highly recommend the pulled pork as well as the chicken wings and definitely try out the Honey & Vanilla Bourbon Milk Punch if you get a chance – it’s a real winner.

The Tastes of Kentucky Menu in partnership with Jim Beam is running for the next five weeks at Joe’s Southern, so get in and get your bourbon fix before it’s too late.

Joe’s Southern | 34 King St | London | WC2E 8JD | Book Now 

I was a guest of Jim Beam, but all views and opinions are my own. 

4th of July Weekend at Red’s True BBQ

Happy 4th of July to my fellow American expats in London! As some of you may know, I am originally from Kansas City, and BBQ is a HUGE deal out there and to me. So I celebrated 4th of July weekend the best way I know how – with some cowtown comfort food at Red’s True BBQ in Shoreditch. A while back, I decided to start a BBQ series and have made it a mission to find the best Q that London has to offer. After visiting the outstanding Shotgun BBQ, and the less than stellar Red Dog Saloon, it was time to try Red’s, and boy did it deliver.

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_R014678Earlier in the day, we had planned to go to Spitalfields Market to do some shopping. We walked down Rivington Street and the glorious smell of BBQ hit our noses, leading us to follow the trail to find out where this smokey incense was coming from, until we hit Red’s True BBQ on Great Eastern Street. The delicious smell alone made us both agree in unison that we had to give it a shot and in we went.

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_R014666From the moment we stepped foot inside, there was no question as to whether Red’s uses smokers to give their prime cuts of meat that intense and authentic flavour. I mean, to be honest, there was really no doubt about it at all as we could smell it from all the way down the street! As you can see below, they put the wood in the smoker, which helps give the meat that awesome flavour.

PicMonkey CollageWe took our seats and our server walked us through the menu, which all sounded delectable – brisket, ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork, buttermilk slaw, cornbread- you name it, they had it. We had a look over the menu and I was THRILLED to see that Red’s carries PBR beer! I’ve yet to come across a place in London that carries this beer, so if you have any insight as to who else stocks it, please comment below. The amazing smell coming from the smokers combined with the fact that they carry a beer that I love from the US, made me feel like I was in my hometown again.

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_R014637 Red’s has an array of authentic BBQ sauces to sample – North Carolina, South Carolina, KC, their own ketchup and Triple Hot Sauce. The KC BBQ sauce was true to form with a sweet and tangy flavour that I couldn’t get enough of. Great news is that these are all now stocked in Tesco!

_R014654Ciaran and I both decided to order two of Red’s famous Barbecue Trays and share. Ciaran went for the USDA Black Angus Brisket & Burnt Ends, with sliced white onion, pickles, mustard caviar, sliced fresh jalapeños and white bread to soak it all up. The USDA Black Angus Brisket is smoked for 12 hours while the incredible Burnt Ends are smoked for 16! Each of the Barbecue trays include two sides. Ciaran went for a salad and BBQ greens.

_R014653Anybody that knows me, knows I am not a huge fan of greens (I know, it’s awful), but these greens were unique in that they had a garlic-buttery flavour that tasted lovely.

_R014655The Brisket and Burnt Ends were absolutely delicious. They just melted in your mouth and were so tender they broke apart instantly. The flavour was so intensely smokey, that they almost didn’t need any BBQ sauce at all (which is a sure fire way to know good BBQ from bad). Burnt Ends are a KC delicacy and these were up there, along with Shotgun’s, as some of the best I’ve had across the pond.

BBQ I opted for the Red’s Pulled Pork & Slaw, smoked for 14 hours, served with buttermilk slaw, cracklings and a Pickleback crust. Pulled Pork is my absolute favourite BBQ dish aside from burnt ends. Not that it needed it in the slightest, but I slathered mine in the Red’s KC BBQ sauce just because that’s how I like my BBQ. This pulled pork was so tender, juicy, and full of flavour, I managed to finish the majority of it in about 5 minutes. I’m also a huge fan of coleslaw – so much so that Ciaran makes fun of me because I’ll eat it with any meal (alongside corn on the cob). This buttermilk slaw was not too creamy, but just right and accompanied the pulled pork perfectly.

_R014647My two sides were the Sweet Potato Corn Bread and the Giant Onion Rings. That Sweet Potato Corn Bread was one of the best things I have ever eaten. I mean, I couldn’t stop eating it and again, it went so well with the pulled pork. I must get the recipe to re-create it at home. The Giant Onion Rings were battered to perfection and deliciously crunchy – they were, no doubt, an Onion Ring Lover’s dream.

After polishing off nearly every last bite, we sat back, relaxed and raved about how fantastic this BBQ is. It’s top notch Q in London and we will no doubt be back to try some other dishes – namely the ribs and chicken.

For those of you who like to take a walk on the wild side, the most outrageous dish on the menu is the Donut Burger  – Two patties, melted cheese, smoked peppered bacon, crispy onion and Dirty sauce, all in between two sweet glazed donuts. Think you could handle it?

As we were heading out, the manager asked if we wanted to take a peek inside the kitchen to see where the magic happened, which was very exciting to see!

_R014671Red’s uses two huge smokers and even leaves them on through the night to smoke their meats. They opened up the door and smoke flew out – making our eyes water from the intensity. So worth it though to have a look behind the scenes.

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_R014669Check out all that burnt end goodness. These are thrice smoked and again, top notch.

It was a brilliant Saturday afternoon and great to celebrate 4th of July weekend with some Kansas City-style comfort food. We walked out feeling happy and full, which is how you should feel after a BBQ feast. I also want to note that we were in shock when the bill came and it was only £32! For all the phenomenal food we ordered and the portion sizes of each dish, I think this is fantastic value for money, especially in London.

Know any good BBQ places in London? Comment below and let me know for my next BBQ series destination.

Wishing all of my fellow Americans a very happy 4th of July. GBA!

Red’s True BBQ | Great Eastern St | Shoreditch | EC2A 3QR | Book here

Shotgun BBQ

While living in London is extraordinary 98% of the time, there are the occasional weeks where I get really homesick and miss the comforts of home – one of those being real, KC-style BBQ. I’ve written about my love BBQ on here before and for those of you who follow along, you’ll know that it’s my favourite comfort food. In light of the nostalgia of home and in need of a date night, Ciaran and I headed to Shotgun BBQ in Soho for a BBQ feast.

Shotgun BBQ hails from the team behind the Lockhart, an iconic American-style restaurant in Marylebone (another of restaurant of which is on my bucket list). Brad McDonald, the head chef and partner is originally from Mississippi and his wife is from Kansas City, so it’s a safe bet that these two know good BBQ.

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_R013623The interior is quite narrow, which bares resemblance to architecture of Shotgun houses primarily found in the South – hence the name Shotgun BBQ. Legend says that the shotgun houses are so narrow that you could open the front door and shoot straight down the hallway to the backdoor. The interior has Southern charm to boot and I loved the dark wood floors, quirky wallpaper, flower pots and vintage mirrors adorning the walls and the gorgeous bar toward the back. An eclectic mix of hip hop from the noughties played in the background that made for a really fun Friday night vibe.

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The dinner menu is ever-changing and consists of a selection of Southern-inspired snacks, the meats, and desserts. We started off with a couple of beers – a Saison for me and a Sierra Nevada Torpedo Pale Ale for Ciaran.

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I am normally more of a wine person, but to me, BBQ tastes the best with a really great beer.

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To kick our dinner off on a light note, we ordered the boiled peanut hummus with cucumber and radishes. It was our attempt at being somewhat healthy. The hummus was great and had a hint of spice. I liked that it had a crunchier texture, which was a refreshing taste from our usual creamy humous we have at home.

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Out came the sauces in all their glory. KC and KC Hot – both of which are fantastic. So fantastic in fact that when we asked if we could buy a bottle to take home, they told us they are actually going to be selling them beginning this week. I can’t wait to add a bottle of Shotgun BBQ to my KC sauce collection!

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This was a very special trip to Shotgun as I had been looking through their Instagram earlier that day and saw that they had posted a photo of these incredible KC-burnt ends and commented that I couldn’t wait to try them. They very graciously saved me their last batch, which truly meant so much to me. When I walked in and Ciaran explained I was from KC, they said “Ah, you’re the one Chef said to save the burnt ends for.” It was a really thoughtful gesture and after a week of feeling homesick, this truly made all the difference. Thank you, Shotgun for the warm hospitality and thoughtfulness.

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With all of that said, the KC-style burnt ends were simply put, AWESOME. Every state is known for a special type of BBQ delicacy and one of Kansas City’s is burnt ends. These were definitely up there with some of the best I’ve had. They were tender, juicy, smokey and had a black peppercorn crust on the end that melted in your mouth bite after bite. If I could choose one menu item to feast on, these would have been it. I was in BBQ heaven.

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A gorgeous order of ribs to share. They were meaty, yet quite lean. There have been so many times I’ve tried ribs in London and there’s either no meat on the bone, or inedible due to the amount of fat on them. These were perfection. Smokey, tangy and fell off the bone. The hallmark of truly great BBQ is when the meat comes out with little to no BBQ sauce on top and the flavours are so good, you don’t even need to add any sauce. That’s how great these ribs were.

_R013605We also ordered the Pork Belly, which was sliced thin and had very little fat, which we both liked. Pork Belly can be incredibly fatty, and there was very little trace of any on these slices. The taste of the pork belly was much more subtle than that of the ribs and the burnt ends and tasted absolutely delicious with the KC BBQ sauce. I really liked how all three of the dishes came with a slice of Cornbread on the side instead of fries. It’s a very traditional Southern side dish and was a real treat to have with all three dishes.

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My favourite side dish with BBQ, however, is Coleslaw. It pairs well with every.single.BBQ dish. Shotgun’s coleslaw was perfectly seasoned and had just the right amount of dressing so that it wasn’t oversaturated. I’m not a huge fan of creamy coleslaws and really enjoyed Shotgun’s.

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The BBQ at Shotgun was excellent – I was actually a bit sad when we had taken our last bites because it was that good. It’s definitely become one of my new favourite restaurants. We can’t wait to come back to try out the brunch we’ve heard so many great things about.

If you’re looking for a real BBQ fest, head to Shotgun in Soho for some impressive Q.

Shotgun BBQ | 26 Kingly St | London | W1B 5QD

KC BBQ Sauces

It’s no secret that one of my favourite types of food is BBQ and it’s one of the things I miss most about Kansas City. There’s something about the taste of authentic KC-style sauce that is really comforting and makes me feel a little less home sick from time to time. So, over the past few months I’ve endeavoured to seek out some quality BBQ sauces from my hometown from various places in London. I’m planning to add to this post as I discover and collect new bottles, but wanted to share it for anybody from Kansas living in London or for those who just love great BBQ!

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Prairie Fire BBQ was started by Michael Gratz, a native Kansas Citian who moved to London in 2013. While he loved the burgeoning food scene in London, he missed KC’s authentic BBQ (how could you not?). He started making batches of his own sauce for family and friends and eventually started selling it at various markets in London. Thank god for all of us because this sauce is awesome. Gratz modelled his sauces from some of the best BBQ joints in KC including Joe’s KC, Jack Stack and Gates.

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I have known about Prairie Fire for quite some time now, but could never track it down! I was walking by The Hampstead Butcher in West Hampstead and saw it in the window one day and rushed in to buy both the original and spicy! These sauces aren’t exactly cheap – never in my life did I think I would be paying nearly $10 (£6.50) for a bottle of BBQ sauce, but it’s so worth it.

Other places you can buy Prairie Fire include: Wyndham House, Parsons Nose, HG Walters, Jack O’Shea’s Moen Brothers, Provenance Village, Brompton Food Market, Dugard Daughters, Kent & Sons and Allen’s of Mayfair.

I love the original sauce – it’s got a hint of spice and tastes delicious on just about anything. BBQ grilled chicken is my ultimate favourite though to make with this sauce.

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We were in M&S a few weeks ago browsing the American section and came across this Stockyard BBQ sauce. Stockyard BBQ isn’t an establishment in Kansas City, but is sold at the Original Juan grocery store on Southwest Boulevard in KCK and for some odd reason has found its way on to the shelves of M&S in London. Hey, no complaints from me though because this is another fantastic sauce. It’s sweet, spicy and smoky, and exemplifies the taste that authentic KC sauce is known for. It’s super versatile and goes with just about about anything – marinades, dipping sauces, you name it.

We are going to the newly opened Bodean’s in Covent Garden over Bank Holiday weekend and planning to pick up some of their Kansas City-inspired sauce to bring home with us to add to our collection.

If anyone out there has any suggestions for where to find authentic KC BBQ sauce in London, I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading x

Red Dog Saloon South|KC BBQ Series

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We recently moved to Clapham and I was really excited that there was a Kansas City-style BBQ restaurant a few blocks away from our flat. KC is well-known for its incredible BBQ and it’s one of the things I miss most from home, so I was really looking forward to trying out Red Dog South.

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The interior is styled very much like any American restaurant you’ll find in the midwest, but for a place that specialises in Kansas City BBQ, there really wasn’t any homage to the city itself on the walls, which I found quite surprising. Instead, the walls were adorned with scenes from what looked like the California Gold Rush and Arkansas Razorbacks signage.

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Red Dog Saloon has its own Kansas City-style BBQ sauce as well as a North Carolina sauce.

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The KC BBQ sauce was a lot more thick and did taste nice on our food,  however, I was hoping it would be a bit more tangy and sweet with notes of honey, smoke and spices, which is how authentic KC-style BBQ sauce typically tastes.

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The Fried Catfish starter with remoulade sauce sounded delicious. Catfish is not something native to KC and is more prominent down south. It was nice and crispy, but could have done with some Cajun seasoning or a BBQ spice mix perhaps. The remoulade was tangy and added a lot of much needed flavour to the dish.

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Ciaran and I ordered a Pulled Pork Sandwich and the Brisket with melted provolone topped with onion rings, an ode to the famous Joe’s Kansas City Z-Man sandwich. Each sandwich is said to be cooked in the smoker low and slow for 16 hours. The Pulled Pork was not as tender, nor as smokey as I was anticipating. With that said, it was a decent sandwich and I liked the coleslaw on the side.

EDITEDI was really looking forward to trying the Brisket Sandwich, as it’s one of my favourite BBQ dishes, but we were quickly disappointed to find large pieces of fat throughout the meat, that unfortunately, made the sandwich both unappetising and inedible. We asked if they were able to bring out another one and the second sandwich was much better than the first, which we appreciated. The brisket itself, again, was not as tender as it should have been, given it was smoked for 16 hours, and there wasn’t enough of the traditional smokey flavour that BBQ dishes should have.

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I was quite intrigued by the Burnt End Pie – burnt ends in the form of a Shepherd’s Pie. It was admittedly odd to have burnt ends within a mash potato pie, but it was refreshingly delicious. The burnt ends were tender and juicy and the sauce inside was delicious. It was easily the best dish of our dinner and Ciaran couldn’t stop raving about it. It’s not a typical side you’ll find in Kansas City, but it did bring together traditionally Kansas and English elements, which worked really well together.

I really wanted to fall in love with Red Dog South, as there would have been nothing better than to have a taste of home on my doorstep, however, it didn’t satisfy my BBQ itch.

What are some of your favourite BBQ restaurants in London? I’d love any suggestions!

Thanks for reading x