BBQ – a transatlantic review

I had to chuckle at this review in the Telegraph of a Texas-style BBQ restaurant in London.

In short: this is why I recommend Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats, a newly opened barbecue place in London. It’s not only fun but practical – especially if you’re young. You have a good time, stuff yourself till you burst, and you  don’t need to worry about saving for a pension any more, because if you eat here every day I wouldn’t count on seeing 65.

Texas Joe’s has been launched by a man called Joe Walters, who once appeared on Dragons’ Den seeking investment in his beef jerky. A proposed deal with Peter Jones broke down after the show, but never mind, because now he has an entire restaurant of his own.

He really is from Texas, too, and can frequently be seen swaggering between the tables in a cowboy hat and sideburns, or cradling a little dog named Crockett, after Davy of the Wild Frontier.

The restaurant itself, meanwhile, is decorated with film posters of westerns, photos of horses, maps of Texas, and, above a window, a huge pair of horns that might have been plucked from one of Desperate Dan’s cow pies. Corny, sure, but I liked it. During my visit, there were sadly no gunfights, no brawls and not a single varmint flung through a pair of swing doors, but these are early days.

. . .

In comparison [to the brisket] the mutton seemed a bit ordinary, so I livened it up with one of the ferociously hot sauces they offer. It was called Kankun, and it practically leapt out of the bottle and bit me. It was made from habanero, which is among the very spiciest chilli peppers. It was savage.

. . .

My side was a bowl of jalapeño peppers, each one stuffed with cheese and brisket, and wrapped in rashers of bacon. Just looking at them made me feel unhealthy. All these heaped, bulging cocoons of glistening fat.

As I held up the first, fingertips moist with grease, I remember thinking: this is how my heart is going to look afterwards. Purple, oily, swollen and coated in bacon. I took my first bite. I could almost feel my arteries slowing.

In a way, it was completely disgusting, and yet, in another way, I genuinely enjoyed it. It was just so shamelessly noxious, so unapologetically crammed with cholesterol, I couldn’t help feeling a strange kind of respect for it. I mean, a jalapeño, and cheese, and brisket, and bacon. What a lethal combination. I wonder if they considered adding, say, a squirt of whipped cream and a Mars bar.

Anyway, so what if it was unhealthy? Screw spirulina and spelt. Life is short. Well, particularly if you’re eating cheese jalapeños wrapped in bacon. But even so, Texas Joe’s is worth knocking the odd month off the end of your life for.

There’s more at the link.

Like I said – giggle-worthy.  I wonder how Londoners would react if we introduced them to several BBQ restaurants in a row, each serving a different variation on the tradition?  There are dozens of them around the world.  We could drive the British capital into a gastronomic meltdown!



  1. The English obviously expended all their energies building an empire, leaving little time for culinary accomplishments. If they want REAL barbecue, they'll have to try North Carolina style.

    Briskets? Don't make me laugh.

  2. And there's a cajun restaurant at the Solent marina in Portsmouth where, if you close your eyes and take a bite of the gumbo you'd swear you were in N'Orleans. Run by a local Hants guy who studied in LA. Slackwater Sam's, IIRC.

  3. They need to open a KC BBQ joint, St. Louis style BBQ, Memphis style BBQ, the two NC style BBQ, they would have plenty of good BBQ every night of the week.

    But God spare them the stuff west of the Rockies. That stuff drips with BBQ sauce that is way too sweet. The customer ADDS the sauce not the kitchen! If you do the rub and smoke right, it doesn't need sauce.

  4. The Brits have no room to complain about fattening, unhealthy food. Perhaps he is simply unused to anything delicious?


  5. The reviewer's whinging reminds me of the old wheezer about, "Some people would bitch if you hanged them with a velvet rope…" 😛

  6. My favourite name for a British barbecue joint with American roots comes from the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset: "Bare Grills".

    But as far as London goes, there's been plenty of time to sample several styles of American barbecue. I remember a food cart in London with North Carolina-style barbecue, and there's still a place called Chicago Rib Shack at Westfield London, a large shopping mall located near the Shepherd's Bush Tube station.

    Don't think of this as an opportunity for bargain-priced barbecue — what you'd consider a decent-sized plate with beverage typically runs close to £20, if not more …

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *