There are some food experiences that I just know from the word go that I'm going to share on here, Red's True BBQ was one of them. Situated right near the Corn Exchange in Leeds, Red's is an American style BBQ restaurant offering different types of meats smoked low and slow with glazes and rubs. They go on an annual pilgrimage to the Southern States of America to meet and learn from the worlds best BBQ joints to bring back stacks of new ideas to keep it as authentic as possible for us UK heathens who don't really have a clue what a proper BBQ really is.
Red's has definitely taught me a few things about how BBQ-ing should be done.
Firstly, the menu is immense and it does take a while to get your head around it; we had a really helpful server who showed us the ropes and gave us some recommendations because we were a little bit overwhelmed with choice. We decided to order a couple of things from the 'Little Plates' menu just to eat while we were deciding which turned out to be a very good call because we got a little taster of what was to come. The service was lightening fast, they were literally with us within about 5 minutes of ordering which I was really impressed with.
On the left we have the BBQ Rib Taster which is a selection of Red's legendary pork ribs, they are so unbelievably tender, moist and tasty; definitely the best ribs I've ever tasted. On the right there's the BBQ Wrapped Jalapeños, we chose these because it was something different that we'd never tasted before. They were definitely tasty but a little too hot for Jason to handle (I know, it's a jalapeño but he insisted the one he had was hotter than any he'd had before), so hot that he had to ask the server for something to cool his mouth down because the Diet Pepsi he had wasn't cutting it so she recommended a milkshake (more on that later).
We eventually decided on a selection of meats from the 'Meat Combos' list because neither of us wanted to leave feeling like we'd missed out so here goes...
Beef Long Ribs, Mashed 'Taters, Giant Onion Rings
I've never tried beef ribs so after the pork ribs were so amazing in the starter this was an obvious choice especially as the server recommended them. They were melt-in-your-mouth tender smothered in the amazing Red's Unholy BBQ sauce. I think ribs can be a little thin on the ground where meat is concerned and they can often be more bone than anything else but these were the total opposite; so much meat! The mashed 'taters with white gravy were a gorgeous alternative to fries and I felt like I was really getting an authentic taste of how they do it in Southern America; white gravy is an odd concept but it totally works. As for the onion rings, don't be fooled into thinking 'there's only two, that's not enough' because they are massive; I didn't actually eat any of them but Jason said 'They were really crispy, probably double fried and the onion inside was huge'.
Black Angus Beef Brisket, 7oz Pulled Pork, 2 Mild BBQ Wings & Corn on the Cob
This was what is known as a 'Meat Combo'; three types of meat plus a Divine side. I'm going to start with the BBQ Wings because they were probably my least favourite and what I would leave out next time; they are massive on the face of things and different to any other wing I've had (they're usually tiny, aren't they?) but the amount of meat on them was a little disappointing, what was on there was tasty but there just wasn't enough. The Brisket however was plentiful and so, so moist. It's obvious that it's been cooked as low and slow as possible because it was so flavoursome and just melted in my mouth. The Pulled Pork was to die for; the server said that it was a really popular choice and I can totally see why. If you wanted to make more of a meal of the pulled pork you could do because there was an option to have it with slaw, crackling and apple sauce (I've just eaten and the thought of that is making my mouth water).
Alongside your meats there's a selection of sauces available on the table which I was really impressed with and it meant that for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel the need to ask for mayo (I also thought it would be a cardinal sin to ask for such a thing in a place like Red's). My favourites were probably Kansas City BBQ and North Carolina BBQ (who knew there could be so many variations of BBQ sauce?!), the Judas Ketchup would be a good one to try if you're a red sauce lover because it's a sweeter take on the regular stuff which makes it a perfect combination for the meats.
There wasn't really anything that tickled my fancy on the dessert menu but I was glad that we had the milkshake for pudding because it was really nice and creamy. Jason chose the Banana and Peanut butter one and it was just what we needed as something sweet after a meaty main. As you can see, it was served in a milk bottle which although simple, was a really good idea I thought!
The bill came and it was just under £60 which although quite pricey, I thought was fairly reasonable considering what we had eaten and drank. We left the server a nice tip (American style!) because she was so nice and helpful and I walked out knowing that I would definitely be back as soon as I could because it was a brilliant eating experience both in environment and quality of food.
Leeds city centre isn't the only Red's True BBQ, they also have restaurants in Headingley, Nottingham, Manchester and Shorditch. You can view the full menu online which I highly recommend before you go because it'd be less overwhelming if you had an idea of what you might want to try before you get there.
Have you ever been to Red's True BBQ?
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