God I love barbecue. I have worshiped at the alters of Red's True Barbecue, made a pilgrimage to the Mighty Quinn's in New York, sat in the sun at Grillstock and surely sampled all the smoked meat Manchester has to offer. I cannot get enough of the stuff.
He who shares my DNA has the same affliction - not surprising really, although oddly he hates Haribo? I cannot explain this molecular misdemeanour. He's been a bit crook recently, and not overly mobile since having an op on his foot, so when I suggested we have a trip to Chester with our mum, he jumped at the chance - not literally - that would be foolish in his condition.
When I asked what sort of food he would like for lunch, I was given a one word brief - barbecue. A quick Google search later and I landed on the banks of the River Dee. A five minute taxi ride from the station is Hickory's Smokehouse; an impressive building overlooking the river, with its very own flaming rhino protecting the gates.
Vegas! Whilst in Hickory's, I sampled the strawberry (always a good barometer) and the Solero shake. Both are packed with real fruit and thick ice cream. They also boast an impressive cocktails list, and a few decent American craft beers too - notably by Goose Island and Sierra Nevada.
Burnt Ends - Tender chunks of smoked beef brisket coated in crispy Cajun rub: These are not like any other burnt ends that I have tried before. They had a coating on them which was similar to Southern fried chicken. Generous in size and very tasty, however I think I prefer the traditional type doused in barbecue sauce.
Smokehouse Nachos with sour cream, guacamole, melted cheese served and BBQ pulled pork: These were heavenly. Enough cheese to make your doctor nervous and an ample amount of fiery jalapenos.
Smokehouse Platter Memphis style baby back ribs, hot links, low ‘n’ slow smoked beef ribs, Kansas style spare ribs, USDA beef brisket, BBQ pulled pork, fries & slaw: The reason this comes with two lots of fries, is because it's for two people. My brother ordered this and ate the lot, bar one portion of chips.
Kansas Style ‘BBQ Glazed’ Spare Ribs - hand-rubbed with a secret blend of spices, pit-smoked
for 6-8 hours and glazed in Hickory’s BBQ sauce: This is Hickory's best selling dish. It's not the prettiest rack I've ever seen (snigger) but it tasted amazing! Granted, they were not quite as good as those offered at Red's, but then again they are exceptional.
Smokey BBQ Southwest Chicken Skewers - charred & sizzled, served with fries & slaw: My mum chose these as a bit of a lighter choice after troughing on the starters. This was still huge. Large chunks of chicken and vegetables slathered in BBQ sauce.
Mac 'n' Cheese: A lovely crisp top with a thick cheese sauce.
Cheesy Chilli Fries: House fries topped with jalapenos, red chilli and a ridiculous amount of cheese sauce - yes - like the one they have in Hooters! I was so I excited I nearly burst!
Florida Key Lime Pie, chocolate ice cream & berry sauce: This little individual pie was more of a tart to be honest, as it has a pastry base. It was packed with a tangy green filling and topped with delicious torched meringue.
Hickory's has a really friendly atmosphere, and has maintained a cosy feel despite the size of the restaurant. I can imagine that it's even better in nice weather, as the location is surely one of the best in the city.
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