Summer is the perfect season for a barbecue, and London has no shortage of barbecue joints for you to get your fix in. Paying tribute to our North American counterparts, we’ve rounded up the best places to satisfy any and all cravings, from smoky ribs to red curry beef skewers. Here’s our pick of the best barbecue restaurants across the capital.
Berber & Q, Hackney
Why we like it: Nailing two huge food trends in one fell swoop, ex-Ottolenghi chef Josh Katz’s Haggerston railway arch hangout Berber & Q brings together smoky barbecue and culinary influences from North Africa and the Middle East. With its barrage of explosive flavours, this eatery boasts options from grilled pork meatballs and sweet tea brined baby chicken, to smoked hot wings and marinated baby aubergine.
Where: Archer 338, Acton Mews, E8 4EA
Big Easy, Canary Wharf, Chelsea, Covent Garden
Why we like it: This New Orleans-inspired crab shack is as popular as ever, cramming hordes of bibbed customers into its borderline-twee interpretation of a good-time-soul-food eatery. Celebrating its namesake city in all its sinful glory, diners can indulge in a selection of daily specials, including the likes of shrimp Tuesdays, where unlimited deep-fried shrimp is available to order, steak and lobster Fridays, and limitless Wednesdays, where options range from endless chicken wings to fajitas depending on the location.
Where: Upper Level 1, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR; 332-334 King’s Road, SW3 5UR; 12 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA
Why we like it: From successful street-food venture to a fully-fledged restaurant, Hotbox boasts a menu of delectably seasoned smoked meats. Opt for a starter of buffalo wings or crab sliders to start, before tucking into hearty mains such as the St Louis pork ribs or the piggy burger, made with beef, pulled pork collar, pickled onion and cheese. Wash down your meal with a refreshing cocktail, such as the Lavender and Mint Julep with bourbon, or the Basil Brush with gin.
Where: 46 Commercial Street, E1 6LT
The Jam Tree, Clapham
Why we like it: Occupying what was Grafton House, the revamped Jam Tree space features signature touches of the mini-chain – battered chesterfields, globe lights, hammered tin ceilings and colourful-jam-jar pop art. The kitchen, however, is the real attraction. Taking inspiration from Clapham and Brixton’s multicultural mix, diners can enjoy an eclectic range of dishes, from a jerk chicken burger or a chicken kebab, to an order of lamb kofta.
Where: 13-19 Old Town, SW4 0JT
Pitt Cue, City
Why we like it: With the relocation from a Soho shoebox to an airy Spitalfields dining room, this barbecue Mecca gained a strong following in W1 for its smoky cuts of high-quality meat. Searing its meat on a huge, gleaming grill displayed at the end of the room, Pitt Cue offers options from the grill and from the smoker. Dine on an order of smoked beef neck with shiitake mushroom, and if you still have room, opt for a grilled monkfish with fennel and blood orange.
Where: 1 The Avenue, Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP
Why we like it: Part of a wee gang of three covering N1 and EC2 (The Pig & Butcher and The Princess of Shoreditch being the other two) the Smokehouse is a gastropub through and through. On the food menu, you’ll find hearty smoky dishes to match its name, such as lamb bacon, smoked bone marrow and toast as a starter, and smoked lamb shoulder with lentil and aubergine as a main.
Where: 63-69 Canonbury Road, N1 2DG
Why we like it: Discreetly housed in Shoreditch, this barbecue smokehouse from David Carter, former front of house manager for Roka and Gordon Ramsay, offers bites that hold true to its name. With a menu riddled with small plates and sharing dishes, diners can enjoy the likes of grilled meats and coal roasted vegetables. Expect barbecue classics such as a brisket bun with pickled red chilli and thick-cut pork ribs, offered alongside a number of unexpected nibbles, such as padrόn tempura with aioli or crispy ox cheek with anchovy mayo.
Where: 35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB
Smoking Goat, Shoreditch
Why we like it: Another smoky favourite, Smoking Goat focuses on afforadable Thai barbecue and seafood. On the seafood side, the short menu features ingredients such as grilled John Dory with green nahm, and steamed oysters with roasted chilli and fried shallots. For heavier meals, diners can enjoy the likes of five spice braised chicken with egg and shiitake mushrooms, or an order of spicy fried chicken with sriracha.
Where: 64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ
Why we like it: This buzzing bonfire of a restaurant was the first solo venture from barbecue-obsessed Neil Rankin, who co-founded Smokehouse, and has dedicated Temper to the art and craft of cooking meat. The basement floor houses a taco bar for savoury options of beef fat or smoked goat, while larger dishes come in the form of smoked lamb shoulder, a red curry beef skewer, or a lamb birria, all served on flatbread.
Where: 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF
Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats, South Bank
Why we like it: If the name of this restaurant wasn’t a dead giveaway to what it serves, Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats boasts a menu that covers all meat bases. From side orders of bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños or brisket nachos, to mains that consist of short rib or pork belly, shoulder and ribs, this joint does a good job at paying tribute to its namesake state. When you’re done, wash your meal down with a bourbon cocktail, before tucking into a slice of pecan pie for dessert.
Where: 8-9 Snowfields, SE1 3SU