Usually emails titled “Do you want to get dirty?” go straight into my junk folder for obvious reasons (…) but luckily this time I caught it before it disappeared into oblivion – an invite to try out Smoke Barbecue in Leeds. With a subject line like that who can refuse?
Smoke Barbecue is a relatively new meaty restaurant round the back of the Merrion Centre. I’ve heard good things so it had been on my hit list for a while. It’s a deceptively large space, having a fairly small front but goes realllllly far back. The interior is probably as you’d expect for this sort of casual American dining place; lots of exposed metal and chipboard making it feel industrial. Nothing out of the ordinary here but it does feel a bit more chilled out than that other Leeds BBQ place.
We started off with a few beers. I’m still fairly new to beers (only really started getting into them a few years ago) but I definitely know what I like and what I don’t. We tried a Liberty Pils, Freedom Organic (£2 for 1/2 pint), Smoke American Red (£2.25 for 1/2 pint) and American Saviour (£2.25 for 1/2 pint). All the beers were good but I especially liked the Smoke American Red which had a really distinctive smokey taste, not like any other beer I’d tried before.
Next out was the sharing platter, and at this point I’m pretty sure everyone had the same thought “How the hell do I tackle this?”. It was absolutely huge. For £30 you get a turkey leg, brisket, chicken thighs, ribs, sausage, pulled pork burger, coleslaw and jalapeno corn bread (we were also given fries but turned them down due to the colossal amount of food!).
If you’re into your BBQ-ed meats then you’re in for a treat. My personal favourites were the chicken thighs which still remained tender & juicy, the brisket which absolutely fell apart and the turkey leg just for the sheer fact that holding it made me feel like Henry VIII. The coleslaw was a much needed crisp, refreshing bite to cut through all the meat. The unexpected star for me was the cornbread which was buttery and carby with a good kick from the jalapenos – I managed to keep nibbling at this even after I’d claimed I was too full. I wasn’t hugely bothered by the slider as I found it a bit dry and my only other niggle would be more sauces. Smoke Barbecue do have their own sauce (which is delicious by the way) but I’d like to see more variety. The platter defeated my dining partner and I so the BF got a doggy bag to take home – the platter easily feeds 3.
Smoke Barbecue obviously like a challenge so on top of all of the meat we were then sent out puddings! We had a plate with little tasters of everything on offer; Brownie, Peanut Butter Cheesecake, S’mores and Rocky Road Ice Cream. The cheesecake would usually have been my favourite of the plate but it was really rich so I could barely eat a mouthful after the main course. I found the S’mores much more manageable after everything as it had a touch of salt which stopped it being too rich. By the way you need S’mores in your life if you’ve never had them; melted marshmallow with chocolate on graham crackers (though I think usually in the UK we’d use digestives).
Well and truly stuffed by this point we left Smoke Barbecue to slip into a food coma. I would say visit if you’re into your big plates of meat; it’s great quality, cooked well and won’t put too huge a dent in your wallet. I’ll definitely be revisiting; I’ve got my eye on those jalapeno cornbread muffins…
This meal was complimentary, views are my own though.
Ever since I’d been defeated by the meat platter at Smoke Barbecue I’d been craving it again. I think it was probably because I’d not been fully prepared for it, so this time with P in tow we revisited after a few beers at Northern Brewing Co. I have to say it was just as good as the first time round though my comments still stand on the sauces – we want more sauce! Service was friendly and quick, it still had a relaxed and chilled atmosphere despite being a Saturday evening and the food tasted just as good – we even managed chips this time. Hooray for all the meat!