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.
Earlier 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.
From 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.
We 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.
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!
Ciaran 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.
Anybody 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.
The 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.
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.
My 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!
Red’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.
Check 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