It’s not often that, on arriving at an American-style diner on Tower Hill boasting some of the best smoked ribs in London, you are bundled into a taxi and driven to what appears to be a garage in the middle of a south London estate, which in fact turns out to be a hub of delicious meat-smoking genius. But this is in fact what happened to me on my visit to Bodean’s BBQ.
The top secret (or at least difficult to find) smokehouse we were taken to is where all their tasty pulled pork, ribs and signature Burnt Ends are smoked over seasoned oak for 12 hours or more for that Deep South taste.
As you walk into the smokehouse you’re instantly hit by the unmistakeable smell of barbecue. The events and marketing manager for Bodean’s (and our host for the evening), Jeremy, explained that they select the best beef and pork they can from both the UK and the USA and then cook it slowly over a lower heat than most places, to keep in the maximum flavour.
Once we were returned safely to the restaurant, we sat down in the comfy environs of the diner to find out why Bodean’s has received so many accolades from the press (among other things being named Best American Restaurant by Tio Pepe).
I tried the Pulled Pork and Burnt Ends, which came with chips and a hefty dollop of coleslaw. The Burnt Ends, which are chunks of beef brisket in a BBQ sauce, were amazing. I would recommend you try them at least once in your lifetime.
The bits of meat are so tender they just fall apart in your mouth. There’s more variety on the menu than I was expecting too, and not all meat – there were a few prawn and vegetarian dishes that sounded very tempting.
We were also brought a number of new and classic cocktails, chosen at Bodean’s for their punchiness so that you can still taste them over your hickory sauce. The first was a bizarre invention called a Nevada Bellini, containing Jim Beam Black Label, bitters, mango puree (what’s that you say?) and root beer (heavens to Betsy!). It was like Bucks Fizz except that you could definitely taste the Jim Beam. And when they say they smoke everything, they mean it – another cocktail contained smoked vodka, as well as agave syrup and Creole bitters. We also tried a Devil’s Cut bourbon, which despite being 45 per cent abv was actually very smooth.
The only thing that might be a downside, particularly if you’re not a sports fan, is the array of widescreen TVs that border the walls, which make the atmosphere pretty raucous on big game nights. But if you’re in the mood for some good old American food, at very reasonable prices (my dish was around £14), then I heartily suggest you check out one of Bodeans’ four restaurants, in Tower Hill, Soho, Fulham or Clapham.
16 Byward Street
Tel: 020 7488 3883