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Hot, Smokin', sizzlin' and in London



Pulled pork, glistening pork belly, crunchy home style slaw, triple fried fries, soft rolls, floury baps, and spicy home style beans.  Barbecue and the foods that accompany them are just the best, to cheer up a summer evening with friends, or to spice up a cold winter's night.  This being London, you don't have to just stick at an American style barbecue, although the new fashion for slow roasted meats, sticky ribs and pulled pork means that there is some damn good finger lickin' food to be had in this genre.  If you feel like a variation on a theme, then hop around London sampling Korean barbecue in Asadal in Holborn; halal barbecue Pakistani style in Hendon, or Turkish barbecue in Stoke Newington.  Many of the American style places tend to cater for big parties, big easy cocktails, large loud tables and pits of fire, feasting and food, so be prepared for some loud nights out to go with the big flavours.  If you want to combine food and music then try the Blues Kitchen in Camden for a spot of soul, jazz or blues to accompany the Southern style fare; here you can even get Jambalaya and Gumbo too if you've had enough of the meat for one day.


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The Mongolian Barbecue is a bit of a chain in London. So it's popular for big groups of people wanting relatively cheap eats and lots of it. The restaurant's website says that the history of this kind of food goes back to the 13th century when Marco Polo noted that Mongolians liked to barbecue their food. This being one of the earliest cooking forms, it no doubt pre dates even that explorer's observations. This is a bit of a chinese place in disguise, where you choose from meat, fish or tofo, a selection of vegetables and then watch it all being cooked up in front of you on huge circular grills.

Local Expert tip: The grill chefs here are famed for their cheeky repartee, as it's all part of the themed experience. Good for big groups.

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Barbecoa describes itself as a temple of fire and food. It's a new Jamie Oliver venture, that British celebrity chef who's made his millions being enthusiastic and passionate about food. Barbecoa is of course a themed restaurant in the sense that it has a concept and is part of the Oliver empire, but it's a good fun place to be, especially if you're a group of city boys or girls out for a night out after work. They cook their meat in the 'traditional way' smoking and grilling over open fire pits which are 'on show' to the public because they form the 'living breathing heart of the restaurant'.

Local Expert tip: If you want to buy in to the Oliver empire and love steak and barbecued meat then this is the place to come when visiting London. Those who want a more individual place might stay away.

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Bodean's BBQ has now been running for 10 years in the British capital. Created by Kansan native Andre Blais and modelled along the best tradition of American barbecue joints, the restaurant serves up a great plate of Americana. Bodean's has won best ribs and best sandwich awards this side of the Atlantic; and if you enjoy the food, you can get yourself a branded cap, T-Shirt or a bottle of secret sauce to take home and recreate the experience at home. Ribs, slowly smoked and covered in sticky sauce are a specialty. Pulled pork, and chicken also feature heavily along with home made coleslaw, burgers, briskets, burnt ends and pastrami on rye.

Local Expert tip: For those of you who don't want to go to the restaurant, there's an online order form for take away too, so you can eat barbecue in the comfort of your own home.

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Stoke Newington


In the best tradition of London, this is barbecue, Turkish style at Hasan Meze and Mangal in Stoke Newington. Here it's not just meat, but fish, and vegetables that get the charcoal treatment. Fresh crunchy salads accompany starters of salty delicious Tarama (cod's roe dip) and glistening aubergines and mains of succulent chargrilled meat and fish. You can get seasoned chicken on the bone grilled, or deep fried calamari. Whole grilled quails come on skewers served with rice and salad, lamb's livers and sweetbreads also feature. A grilled fish of the day changes depending on the season and availability, or you can order a mixed platter of several different shish, meats and kebabs.

Local Expert tip: The restaurant's website says it itself, this is within almost everyone's price range, even if you add wine, and it's a fun place to come and dine too.

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This is home style cooking for London. The restaurant says it models itself on 19th Century crabshacks which popped up all along the American Gulf Coast at the time. This is all about a simple easy going lifestyle. Where people hang out on beaches and eat crab and barbecued food, with salt and sand in their hair, having a good time with their friends. There is live music too to try and transport you from London's posh Kings road, to this American homestyle myth. Big Easy's signature dishes include Fresh Maine 1kg/2lb Lobster, Fresh Crab & Shrimp, Charolais Beef, The Classic Chophouse Burger, Surf & Turf and Real Home-Smoked Bar-B-Q.

Local Expert tip: Great for kids as they have a special kids menu and it's a big venue so caters well for large parties.

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Korean barbecue restaurant, Asadal in Holborn in London is one of a new trend springing up in the capital. Korean food is being rediscovered, perhaps on the back of West Coast North American cities like Vancouver which have big populations of Koreans, their delicious spicy food has made its way to London too. The same traditions as in all barbecue restaurants are here, meat, fish, grills, and spice, sauce and salads, but as you'd expect it comes with an eastern twist. For the best experience go with someone who knows what to order and can advise you as some of the tastes are strong, but definitely worth taking the plunge and trying a different way with hot coals.

Local Expert tip: Kimchi, pickled fermented cabbage might be smelly but is a must to eat with this kind of food

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North London


This is barbecue Pakistani style at the Original Lahore Restaurant in Hendon and St John's Wood in the North of London. This is an Halal restaurant and you can order whole legs of lamb for 50 pounds or lamb ribs (8) for about 10 pounds or about 13 dollars. They also have a wide selection of Northern food, Pakistani style, curries, biriyanis, and home made South Asian deserts.

Local Expert tip: If you want to try barbecue with a South Asian, or Pakistani flavour, this could be the place for you.

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You'll find a celebration of all things American when it comes to food and music at the Blues Kitchen. They pride themselves on authentic Southern BBQ Food. Diners eat in booths, American diner style, and on Saturdays and Sundays you can hang out for brunch too. Meat is slow roasted in house, using a barbecue pit. There is pork belly, ribs and chicken all cooked long and slow over fruit woods for at least 8 hours. The meat is then covered in their inevitably secret BBQ sauce blend and spices. This being American southern style food, as well as the pulled pork, ribs and chops you can also have a burger, a cup of fries and some home made slaw. They offer gumbo stews and Jambalaya, and to cap it all off, you can have a thick shake, cheesecake or pecan pie for desert.

Local Expert tip: Many nights they have live blues or soul. An exotic meats carnivore club night, including things like alligator, and on some nights special happy hour style drinks offers. A fun place to party and eat down home food in London.

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The Pitt Cue Co started just over a year ago as a pop up American barbecue van under London's Hungerford bridge. Tom Adams is the chef brains behind this venture, and after serving finger licking food out of his van, he moved his operations to Soho. Pulled pork, coleslaw, crunchy pickles, beef brisket are all on the menu here, so anyone who likes slow smoked American style barbecue in London should make a beeline for this place. Everything comes served in enamel bowls or tin trays, giving it that trendy diner feel, as though you were in the middle of a world recession; and oh yes, you are!

Local Expert tip: This place doesn't do reservations, as there are only 30 seats, so try and choose an off peak moment to go and sample the food. If it's too full, you can get takeaways too, so never fear, pulled pork and slaw could be yours very soon.

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Meet Emma Wallis

London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to...  More About Emma

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