Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

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Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby crphillips » 01 Nov 2012, 20:09

Myself and a friend have just returned from here. We both run GMG Daniel Boone's and he's planning on setting up a BBQ restaurant. He's been to Texas and checked out the Salt Lick among many other BBQ joints and we thought we'd visit Reds to do some R&D and see what the competition was like.

It wasn't good.

We ordered pulled pork, brisket, slaw, cornbread and a bucket of bones (baby backs, spares, beef ribs and rib ends). We also had bbq beans, garlic toast, sweet potatoe fries, skin on fries, mac and cheese, 'soon to be legendary' onion rings......etc.

Everything was dry, tasteless and under seasoned. If i'd have cooked pork ribs like we had tonight I'd have classed them as a failure and tossed them in the bin. They were tough, dry and tasteless.

The beef ribs were OK but a long way from excellent. The rice dish was complete rank mush. More like risotto. The pulled pork and brisket was very dry and tasteless. Nothing had any hint of smoke flavour to it. You couldn't smell any smoke in the restaurant. The BBQ beans were just Heinz baked beans with some bacon and kidney beans added. The 'soon to be legendary' onion rings were massively average. The hot sauce wasn't hot at all and didn't really have any flavour to it. There was a mustard based sauce which was basically Frenchies mustard. There was a Kansas sauce which tasted like watered down HP brown sauce.

The service was pretty poor.......the girl who served us was ok but she was let down by the bar as we constantly had to remind them we'd ordered drinks.

The cornbread was pretty good and the vanilla ice cream was good but this wasn't made by them.

Also I'm sat here typing this and my clothes stink of rank, burnt grease......not lovely hickory smoke!

From reading the reviews on google it appears the general public (who must have no experience of good, low and slow BBQ) seem to like it. As a BBQ fan who cooks brisket and ribs every week it was bad.....really bad! Save your money and go to KFC.

We paid the bill, left a small tip but wouldn't go again.
Last edited by crphillips on 04 Nov 2012, 10:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby Saucy Pig » 01 Nov 2012, 22:14

Thats a shame. Seeing the pics and reading the posts from customers I was planning a little trip up the M62 myself.
Hopefully they were having a bad night?

You're right about peoples lack of experience with 'proper' low and slow though. I've turned out food that I have been really disappointed with and friends have loved it. Can only think its because its completely new to them.

Best of luck to your friend in opening his place. With any luck the more decent places that open the more people will expect decent food every time.

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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby keith157 » 02 Nov 2012, 06:41

Nick you've hit the nail on the head, I'd had some "BBQ" in restaurants and some of it was okay, it wasn't till I tasted the offerings from forum members at the various comps that my tastebuds returned from sabatical. I have the sad feeling that "Proper BBQ" is the new bandwagon for people (restaurants & chains) to jump on. With time and exposure of the right kind, it should get better.
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby crphillips » 02 Nov 2012, 07:40

Yeah looking at the website and reading the reviews it sounded promising. I don't think it was a bad night unfortunately. The methods required to produce good BBQ just aren't present. A mate of mine went a couple of weeks after it opened and said it was naff (he's had BBQ cooked by myself). He suggested we wait a month or two and go again. We went again and it was naff.

I can easily imagine the general public with think it's good but to someone who's had proper BBQ it was a long way off.

The other really annoying thing is you can't book a table. You've just got to turn up and then they take your number, send you to a local bar and call you when a table it ready. In the hour or so we were there we counted that they'd sent more than 60 people away. There's no way I'd drive 30 mins with a group of friend just to turn up with a good chance we won't get a table.

The ready cooked ribs you can buy from costco are far superior.
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby Saucy Pig » 02 Nov 2012, 17:06

Yeah the not being able to book seems to have riled plenty of people over at Tripadvisor. Place seems to be packed out every night with some people mentioning 3 hour waits for tables. Probably been a victim of their own success.

You mentioned not being able to smell smoke at all in the place. This wouldnt have anything to do with the fun guys over at health and safety would it?

"Of course you can open a BBQ smoking place"
"can we use real smoke then?"
"of course not"

But, as you say, it should be all about the food. And if the basics aren't there...

The menu makes interesting reading tho.

http://truebarbecue.com/menu/
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby aris » 02 Nov 2012, 17:12

Menu sounds nice indeed. I went to Bodeans in Soho again last week. My family enjoy it - and it is very good value, though their prices have gone up recently. I suspend it would get panned by many here though :-)
Last edited by aris on 02 Nov 2012, 18:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby Saucy Pig » 02 Nov 2012, 17:15

Keith, you've only got to take a walk down the sauce aisle of supermarkets this summer to see that BBQ is the next fad for celebrity chefs. Great british menu were using BGE and they all seem to be falling over themselves to be more BBQ then the last.
Personally I think its great. I've been spoilt for choice trying out the sauces down at Sainsbury's (even though I ended up using my own :D ) Any raising of the BBQ profile in the country can only be a good thing.

It will inevitably be the same with BBQ restaurants. With any luck the wheat will soon get sorted from the chaff and we will end up with a collection of decent restaurants we can be proud of..

Who's up for the first annual UK BBQ crawl?

I'll pencil it in for around 2014
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby crphillips » 02 Nov 2012, 19:32

I'm really glad that the the profile of BBQ is being raised. Especially as I sell the pellet grills!

With regards to the smell of smoke....Leeds is a smokeless zone so you couldn't do what they do at the Salt Lick but I'd still expect there to be some kind of hint of hickory infused air in the place but not a whiff. Even if you have to create the smell with chemistry rather than smoke. I'm sure Heston blumenthal could sort it!

I've a friend who went to Rib Shakk who said that was pants too.......he's also eaten my BBQ:) I reckon BBQ restaurants are going to end up a bit like Nandos......the general public will like it but to the serious BBQers it doesn't come close.

As an example......I'm well into my coffee. I buy my beans green and roast them myself. I have approx £3000 worth of kit to make an espresso.......my coffee is amazing. I can't stomach the stuff at Costa and Starbucks. It's seriously bad but to the masses they love it, as they've never had better.

Rather than a tour of UK BBQ restaurants we should do a tour of UK home smokers. Pick 10 people throughout the country, sort a bus out and go around everyone's houses:)
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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby Pecker » 03 Nov 2012, 09:01

At the website it says of their food:

"Then, it’s cooked low n’ slow – for up to 18 hours – over Hickory and fruit woods inside our custom Oklahoman smokers."

Surely they can't say that if it's simply untrue.

This is a shame, as I was going to give this place a go.

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Re: Reds True BBQ Leeds - My thoughts

Postby Toby » 03 Nov 2012, 09:21

I know Scott has invested heavily in his restaurant, and know he has the equipment having competed at Mayhem in May last year. Not sure what he is using in the kitchen, I know that Rib Shakk boil everything and all flavor comes form the sauce. You will see int he review section that chicago rib shack use yield king but fail to add any smoke to their food. Itsa strange old market and you can guarantee one thing you will never impress everyone :lol:
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