Lighting up a barbie with a cold beer in your hand is one of the most satisfying experiences that life can offer. Eating half-cooked, Encona-slathered chicken thighs and trying to prevent your tin foil grill from being extinguished by the rain is, on the other hand, one of the least satisfying experiences that life can offer. Barbecues in the UK can be brilliant but they can also be incredibly inconvenient and a massive pain in the arse. Smoking meat for hours so that it falls apart and develops that much-sought-after smoke ring of flavour requires a lot of time, space, and patience that a lot of us simply do not have. That’s why barbecue restaurants are so great. They’re meat-packed havens that you can visit and get your fill of smoked meats without so much as touching a bag of charcoal.
It goes without saying that the international barbecue scene is obviously streets ahead of the UK. Countries like the United States, Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, and countless others have barbecues ingrained as a part of their food culture. Us Brits, on the other hand, have got burnt Richmonds and gristly supermarket burgers.
Thankfully, there’s a load of pitmasters in the UK who are looking to change the way that we eat barbecue. London, in particular, is a city that’s now home to some expert grill masters and a heap of barbecue joints that are actually really, really good. This is a list of those places.
Now, it’s important to note that I’ve excluded many of the big smoke’s wonderful Korean BBQ joints; Turkish, Greek, and Cypriot grill restaurants; West African suya spots; Caribbean jerk traders; and Thai grill experts from this list. Why? Because those cuisines are so rich and rewarding to explore that they all deserve a list of their own. Instead, this guide focuses on the restaurants doing more American-inspired barbecue. The spots where you can find Texas-style, Flinstone-esque short ribs of beef and brisket with more bark than Battersea Dog Home.
These are the best barbecue joints in London, Mob. Check them out if you’re ready for the meat sweats.