Lunch on the move Smoked meat treat for barbecue lovers
The dismal barbecue season may be all but over for another year but those who love gnawing on hunks of smoky meat fear not.
Jon Finch and Ben Merrington, the creators of the hugely successful Grillstock BBQ festival that took place in Bristol Harbourside over the summer, have opened a "street food" version of the festival in the heart of St Nicholas market.
Grillstock's first permanent site has moved into the former premises of the recently closed Trethowan's Dairy cheese shop, and in many ways it is Bristol's first real equivalent of London's much talked about Pitt Cue Co BBQ restaurant.
This is a takeaway operation with no seating for those who wish to eat their ribs in the market itself. The owners are calling it "al desko" eating as most people are taking their polystyrene boxes of smoked meat back to their offices if they aren't grabbing a bench in nearby Castle Park or by the water at Welsh Back.
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They are even offering a vac-packing service so that meat lovers can take away a BBQ-meal box that just requires reheating at home.
Open from noon each day until the food runs out (which is quite quickly, it seems), this modest operation is being run on a day-to-day basis by Bristol food blogger Dan Vaux-Nobes, a man known for his huge appetite for meat as well as much as his cooking skills.
The idea behind Grillstock is simple – the meat is cooked slowly in Fast Eddy – a smoker imported specially from America and the menu will change often. There might only be two choices each day, although they promise daily specials such as gravy-dipped brisket rolls, brisket chilli and ox cheeks.
On this occasion, the baby back ribs – served as a full rack – weren't quite ready so the only choice was the 18-hour hickory smoked pulled pork bap with slaw for £4.
The fibrous, tender meat was stacked high inside the glazed and seeded bun with a generous dribble of oak smoked chipotle sauce – one of several sauces and seasonings also available to buy to take home. To the side was a pile of crunchy cabbage and carrot slaw. And that was it, but what a delicious way to spend £4.
I ate mine on a bench in Castle Park surrounded by envious-looking pigeons and seagulls clearly waiting for me to drop the contents of the bun on the ground.
But their wait was in vain. OK, there may have been a few dribbles down my chin and a splash of sauce on the trousers, but I wasn't prepared to lose a crumb from this lipsmacking lunch.