So, by now, those interested will have spotted the fact that Grillstock is coming to London in 2013. In addition to the Bristol dates (May 11-12), Grillstock rolls into The Old Deer Park on June 15 and 16 - which is where, should all go to plan, you'll find me sweating, panicking and hopefully serving up some decent slabs of BBQ joy.
I had a little reminder of just what I'm up against last week in Oakland, CA. It's perhaps an unlikely setting for some of the best BBQ I've had - Oakland isn't exactly mentioned in the same breath as Lockhart or the outskirts of Nashville - but Oakland is one of those places that seems to surprise on a lot of levels. After a fascinating (and all too brief) tour of Oakland's up-and-coming food scene thanks to Carlo Medina of Savor Oakland (I'll hopefully get to that in a future post), we settled in for lunch at B Side BBQ, the creation of Food Network star and soul food expert Tanya Holland and her partner (and "rib wrangler") Phil Surkis. Indeed, we settled in for lunch with Tanya and so left the ordering to her. And that's when these arrived.
The ribs are "Dark and Stormy", with a marinade based on the classic cocktail. The brisket is just classic, old school, deeply smoked, soft, juicy, wibblesome, slow cooked beef. And while some of what we ate in Texas was excellent, this was the brisket I: a) had always imagined; and b) want to deliver at Grillstock. No pressure there then...
There wasn't a duff note at B Side BBQ although some might argue that the jerk ribs, while delicious and fruity, weren't really jerk in that eye-popping, mouth-fanning way you might expect. Mind you, they still disappeared before I could get a photo so what do I know? As for the sliders, the wings, the hot links - not to mention the brilliantly punning beer - and if they hadn't dragged me from the place, I'd still be there attempting to finish every last morsel, be it piggy, beefy or the excellent okra bites and braised tofu.