Red’s True BBQ has been one of my favourite feasting venues in Nottingham since it opened in 2014. So, finally, with their recent offer of 51% all food when booking a table in January, I decided to eat a little slower and review their food offerings. Red’s True BBQ began life in 2012 at their first venue in Leeds and since then has expanded across the UK. Before Red’s opened, I was quite sceptical of ‘Low and slow, BBQ food’ finding that many offerings from restaurants lacked any depth of flavour, quality and was often tough. Therefore, after trying Red’s around 30 times over the last couple of years I was hooked on their awesome BBQ food using authentic recipes, meats that are slow cooked for hours and a myriad of sauces to compliment their various meaty options.
There are five sauce options that range from the vinegar based North Carolina BBQ which is best with pulled pork. The sweet and smoky Kansas City BBQ sauce which is perfect for dipping fries into. The South Carolina BBQ which is mustard based and packs more of a punch and is perfect drizzled on beef brisket. Now for my favourite two sauces the Judas ketchup which is a nice variation on traditional ketchup and again perfect to add to all meats with sweet but smoky tones. And finally, the Triple 6 hot sauce which is a mix of 5 different type of chillis which creates for a fiery mix but the array of flavours comes through really well.
Located on Queen Street, just off of The Old Market Square, Nottingham. The bright neon lit signs call you in as you approach the venue and smoky, BBQ aromas hit you as soon as you step foot through the door. The restaurant is well themed with a range of dining spaces for small groups or larger groups in smaller rooms. The open front to the kitchen is always a bonus and helps to spread the smoky aromas around the venue.
So, to start, a bit about their food offering. Over the years the menu has changed quite a bit in structure but it is now an easy to read menu with set categories for different food such as burgers, bbq trays, choose your own meat, starters and sides making it fairly easy to choose what you want to eat. Although, you may be tempted to order it all, which I probably have done over the years. To start, mac and cheese balls (3 in a portion), these balls of cheesey goodness are golden and crisp on the outside and upon biting into them you get a rich and cheesey hit from the mac and cheese. The only slight downside is that they can be a bit dry so you need to dip into a sauce of your choice to balance this out. The juicy Lucifer. Beef patties containing a melted, spicy cheese centre. Smoked bacon, fried onions, pickles, fresh jalapeños, Dirty sauce, Devil Wing BBQ. Served with fired up fries. The burger was juicy and peppery with molten cheese inside. It had charred edges and was pink and juicy in the centre.
Swine fries which are a combination of sweet potato and skin on fries. A good crunch to the fries. Red’s pulled pork and sour cream and cheese cut through the sweetness of the fries and pulled pork which also offering a cooling note with the addition of spring onions and sliced jalapeños. A fresh tomato salsa adding further sweetness with a slight hint of lime juice. The t-bone steak which is usually served with garlic butter or blue cheese and comes with 2 sides for £26. I chose to have it without any of the toppings to get all the flavours of the meat. I asked for it to be cooked medium and they did this well with the steak still remaining pink and juicy in the centre. The cut of meat has a lot of flavour from the bone and the sprinkling of black pepper that was added when cooking really bought out the flavours of the meat. The meaty BBQ pit beans I had with this were nice but were not as runny as they have been previously and I feel this detracted from the quality of them as it seemed that they’d been sat in a pot too long, resulting in the liquid reducing.
The meat trays are a great way to select your favourite cuts or types of meat and to even try something new. You can get 2 meats with a side for £12 or 3 meats with 2 sides for £18. As I’ve tried just about all of the meats during my many visits I’ll try and summarise the taste and textures of these below.
The beef short rib had been cooked low and slow to create a tender, rich and juicy meat that hadn’t been overdone. They were executed to perfection with a slightly sweet and sticky outside char. The short ribs are gargantuan in size, and a slab of meat sits off a wide, thick rib and just falls off the bone. You get different tastes and textures throughout with the meat staying juicy and slightly sweet from the rub and glaze on the outside. The chopped pork (which was previously the pulled pork) is again extremely tender from the slow cooking and has a subtle balance of flavours from the rub it is smoked it. I have to say that when it was ‘pulled’ I felt that the pork was slightly tastier and it felt that more care had been taken with this dish than the more recent chopped pork offering. This being said, it is still a tasty portion of meat that I’ve still ordered on several occasions. The cheese and jalapeno sausage is a good size and again is packed full of flavour. It has a hint of paprika to it and the jalapenos add a fresh, slightly sweet kick to the sausage with the molten bits of cheese throughout complimenting this perfectly. The ¼ smoked chicken is, again, cooked low and slow resulting in a pink smoke ring which may worry some guests but this is just a result of the cooking method and it is completely cooked through. The chicken takes on the flavours of the wood from the smoker well and still remains juicy. The black Angus beef brisket was juicy and the flavours of the meat had been intensified during the cooking process. Charred edges gave this tender cut texture and they had slightly more taste from the glaze. The macaroni cheese had a depth of flavour whilst being the perfect gooey consistency and not overly runny.
Overall, the service was polite and fairy quick given that they were quite busy. I’ve found the service to be of a good standard on many visits and have always been impressed with the food. This venue is perfect for many occasions and party sizes. More recently they have varied their offering and have a good selection of vegetarian and vegan options, although I’ve not tried these so I can’t pass judgement on the quality of these.
The food on my visit to Red’s was paid for by myself and none of my visits have been complimentary nor have I been paid to advertise the venue. Regardless of whether or not the food was free, I always try and write an honest and balanced review of the restaurant’s food and service.
Location: Red’s True BBQ, 11 Queen Street, Nottingham, NG1 2BL.
Opening hours: 12PM till 10PM Sunday till Thursday and 12PM till 11PM on Friday and Saturday.
Phone number: 0115 711 7999.