And with a Reds True BBQ on my doorstep, never a truer word has been spoken. Fact, I’ve been back twice before even writing up this review - what can I say, I like my meat slow and smokin’
Quoting that the people must be saved from sad sausages and rodent sized ribs, Reds has opened its doors on Hanover Street, Liverpool, encouraging its Scouse flock to come forth, rest their hand upon the good book and have their meatless souls cleansed with the smoked offerings only a true bbq can offer.
I’d already heard so many good things about their Manchester branch that I was eager for my meat cleanse, so we grabbed the Mr’s family and headed on down one afternoon to see just how true a believer they could make us. The restaurant itself is huge, going up the floor after floor in a mechanic themed diner, with a full sized truck right above the door as you walk in. Cages of smoking sauces piled atop tyres and tees, I was half expecting the staff to have bbq grease stains on denim overall uniforms (ok, they didn’t but I did end leaving looking pretty much like this!).
We snagged a table for 6 pretty easily, early on a Friday afternoon but this place gets super busy around tea time and over weekends. We grabbed some drinks then took to drooling over the good book for some time. Everything sounded amazing, with extras, sides, and drink pairings. Ribs, smoked sausage, brisket, steak, create your own meat trays, pulled pork, and their infamous donut burger, yes, it’s exactly how you’re picturing it right now. They have some really great sounding vegetarian options too, including a double bean burger.
Though I was so so tempted by the donut burger, because, well, come on! It’s a damn double cheeseburger, bacon, onions, all the trimmings, and all wedged between two glazed donuts. I don’t know if I could eat it but I just wanted to bask in all its glory. I eventually decided on the donut-free, brisket Philly cheesesteak sandwich; USDA approved Black Angus brisket, peppers, mushrooms, onions, con queso and beef rub, with two very humble sides, skin on fries and giant onion rings.
I couldn’t have made a more perfect choice. It’s been a while since I had a Philly cheesesteak but after Red’s, I don’t think another will ever compare to just how good this was. The bun was so jam-packed with meat and smothered in soo much cheese that I couldn’t even pick it up so it was a cutlery job all the way. Everything was fresh, flavoursome and smokey, I didn’t want it to end! The meat was so juicy, it just fell apart with the lightest touch! The fries were fine, I mostly ordered them because I wanted to try all the sauces they put out on the table, from a vinegar bbq to a smokey bbq mustard and a flaming hell it’s hot sauce. The onion rings really were huge! I could have sported them as edible accessories for the rest of the night!
The Mr went for the current special (which I think changes monthly). It was called the Houston Slopper; and if my poor, meat-addled brain can remember correctly, it was a double patty burger with all the trimmings, covered in a rich beef chilli, served with V cut fries - perfect for scooping up the chilli! I managed to grab a bite and it was amazing, I almost wish I’d ordered it myself!
Surprisingly after our salvation-by-meat, there was no room left for dessert, but I did have my eye on the homemade deep dish apple pie and the classic chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I just don’t think I could leave any of my amazing main behind to make room!
My first trip to Reds was amazing, from start to finish, I couldn’t fault the staff, the food or the company, but my second trip, just a few weekends later on an early Saturday evening was a totally different experience.
We knew we would have to wait for a table, we didn’t have a problem with that. We grabbed a drink at the bar, got chatting to some other members of the flock, then before we knew it was being shown to a table…in the corner. The corner to end all corners, we were practically on our own behind a bit of wall. Ok. They’ve sat us here, they know we’re here…right? Wrong. It seemed to take forever to catch someone's eye to order food, the order came out wrong, with things missing, and it wasn’t all that warm. The air con blowing down right above us didn’t help all that much either. I ordered the Pulled pork sandwich; with buttermilk slaw, Unholy bbq sauce and house recipe applesauce on the side. It was good…but not as great at my Philly cheesesteak. We struggled to get another round of drinks and struggled again to get the bill. There were a lot of bigger parties in and the staff seemed stressed and stretched, I felt sorry for them.
I say if you’re going around a quieter time, you will have the greatest bbq experience of your life. Regardless of the more disappointing second visit, I would go back again, and plan to. There are so many other things on the menu I want to try! My first experience was so good that is almost evened out what happened the second time around, and you know what they say, third times a charm!
Have you been to Red’s True BBQ?
Until next time,