Review of 'Red's True Barbecue (NOW CLOSED)'

I have been meaning to visit “Red's True Barbecue” for some time now having heard that it serves up some pretty good American barbecue. So being in the (relative) area for “The Goat Race” at Spitalfields City Farm we, not terribly hungry, decided to at least sample a few dishes. The restaurant is quite large on the corner of Commercial Road and Charlotte Road, all in black with various religious motifs that are it's trademark. Immediately upon arrival you can see into the busy open-plan kitchen. We were told of the special of the day and a few dishes that WERE not available due to their having sold out (this is common here due to the time many take to prepare, some up to 16 hours, they do not always have enough for the day's customers).

We were shown to our table against the front window in the main seating area and read the menu on our placemats. The menu is divided into:

  • “Divine Morsels” - Starters though we had been told all were sold out today, shame as I would have wanted to try any of them - the home-made jerky, £4.50 - the “cracklings”, £3.50 - the “pig candy”, sweet smoked bacon strips £4
  • “Loaded Fries” - Ridiculously topped fries ranging from the “Swine Fries”, £6.50 for regular/£9.95 to share, fries topped with smoked pork, sour cream, jalapenos and salsa - to “Duck Fries”, £8.50 regular/£11.95 large, fries topped with pulled smoked duck, hoisin sauce, pickled mushrooms, walnuts and spring onions
  • “Burgers” - As you would expect though the “Donut Burger”, £12.95, is a bit unusual and…odd
  • “S'Wiches” - Sandwiches with toppings including pulled meat and chicken, between £8.50 and £13.50
  • “BBQ Lite” - Lighter dishes like salads with a barbecue twist
  • “Sweet Things” - Desserts with the emphasis on chocolate, ice cream and cakes (looking very good available with an optional splash of liquor)
  • “Humble Sides” - Simple, smaller, side dishes including “Buttermilk Slaw” (£2.95), “Giant Onion Rings” (£2.95), “Sweet Potato Cornbread” (£2.95) and, of course, normal, skin-on fries (£2.95).
  • “Divine Sides” - Larger and richer side dishes including “Mac and Cheese” (£3.95) and “BBQ Pit Beans” (£3.95).
  • “Little Plates” - Small plates of things like “XXXL Pit Smoked BBQ Wings” (regular £6.50/large £11.50) with your choice of three flavours and “Mac and Cheese Balls” (£4.95).
  • “Barbecue Trays” - The cornerstone of the menu, served on large metal trays, these come with either two “humble sides” or one “divine” side ranging in price from £10.95 to £19.95 with various assortments of their barbecued meats
  • “Feasting” - For larger groups but much the same sort thing as the “Barbecue Trays”
  • “Extra Meats” - If you did not have enough meat with your meal, you can order sides of more…

On each table is a selection of six sauces to have with your meal including a home-made “Judas” ketchup (all helpfully labelled as to what dish they are suited for use with). This is serious barbecue. Yeah, not a place for vegetarians (unless they stick to basic sides and desserts).

Seeking to try a good assortment of their barbecue we tried the “Pitmaster Tray” (£19.95) which was “St. Louis ribs, Black Angus brisket, Red’s pulled pork, and smoked cheese & jalapeño sausage” and we chose two of the smaller sides, onion rings and the salad (basically none of the other smaller sides were available!). After only a few minutes late our meal arrived. The thinly-meated ribs were quite dry on the surface but moist on the inside, the brisket was delicious with a nice layer of fat and the pulled pork was slightly sweet. All of the deliciously tender meat fell off the bone meaning the wet wipes provided with the meal was superfluous - Just use a fork! The few small pieces of slightly spicy sausage were wonderful and tasty. On the other hand, the sides were disappointing, the onion rings were slightly cool and very greasy while the salad had so little dressing (supposedly balsamic) that it might not have had any.

The "Pitmaster" Tray

The restaurant was not terribly busy at 5 pm on a Sunday and our service was friendly and relaxed. The interior is quite pleasant, though basic, with the religious theme throughout complete with chandeliers and a “Dance away your sins” neon sign on the wall.

We will want to come back when we have a bigger appetite to more properly try the menu but for now we were quite happy with the meat though disappointed with the sides we had though, admittedly, they are not sides we would have ordered had the others been available. The price was reasonable for the quantity of meat provided and it is certainly a mouth-watering menu.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2017-04-02

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London ENGLAND EC2A 3QR

Public Transport: TUBE Old Street NRLOGO Shoreditch High Street

Location: London (England) - Shoreditch



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Telephone: +44 (0) 203 021 2302