Rub Smokehouse and Bar has been open up on Adams street next to the Lace Market tram stop since late November 2014. I have popped in a couple of times to try them out but this time I came in with the intention to try everything properly. On their website they tell us that they are a BBQ restaurant with its roots firmly in the South of the USA. All of their meat is cooked in their smokers which they have named ‘Hank & Marvin’ overnight after being marinated with their secret ‘Rub’ blend of spices. They say that their Brisket and Pork Shoulder is cooked low n slow for around 16 hours. This is sounding good already.
There only seemed to one way to try this place out properly and that was take one for the team by diving right in and simply ordering their ‘Taster’ plate. Could this be a mistake? Would this be too much food? Well the clue was there, right in front of our faces with that hashtag menu section title! #HungDrawnAndQuartered. It does say “The amazing MEAT taster plate which feeds 4 people or 2 Hulks”. Perhaps this was over ambitious? lets just wait and see how this plays out.
We only opted for the HungDrawnAndQuartered for Two, but even reading the description we should have know it was going to be a food coma inducing plateful!
The Tray was piled so high and so deep that on first inspection it was hard to see what was really on there. Before I tell you if it was any good or not I suppose I should try and break this plate down for you so you can see just how much bigger our eyes are than our stomachs. Just on the Meat front you got Four Buffalo wings, Half a smoked chicken, Half a Rack of Ribs, a Pile of Pulled Pork, and a Pile of Brisket. Then to add to that for some reason you also get a couple of sliders, and a couple of corn dogs.
If that wasn’t enough food? well you also got to choose four sides to add onto that gigantic platter. We chose (knowing full well that we probably would not eat half of them) the skin on fries, corn on the cob, the dirty rice and the onion rings. I would not be surprised to hear that you feel stuffed just reading all of that!
I tried to start gently with just a few items on my plate. The corn dog if you have never had one is essentially a hot dog on a stick dipped into corn meal batter and deep fried. In this case although I did like that they had smoked the dog it was just there as a filler, and on this plate a filler isn’t what you needed to be honest. If I was here at Rub looking for a starter they would be OK but not something I would be relishing or yearning for.
I would however be pretty happy to order as a starter the next bite that I had which was one of the BBQ chicken wings. On the menu they are called Red Bull wings and described as “chicken wings smoked over hickory and coated in our special red bull BBQ sauce“. These were really very good indeed, if you were to order them as a starter they would set you back £5.95 and I would say that was good value, I would order these again.
The sliders looked good with a nice pink tinge to the burger, but sadly they were a bit dry and were a bit disappointing, I don’t think that I would order those on their own. I have had the burger here before as well and that also was a bit on the dry side so I think it may be one to avoid, at least until they really get going and have got the menu down to pat.
We felt that we needed to make some space on this mammoth platter so we started moving the sides onto our plates so that we could get a clear run at the meat. I suppose we should talk about them as well so lets start taking a few bites and getting a feel for this bad boy of a plate.
The onion rings described as ‘Anchor Beer Battered Onion Rings’ were really excellent, to be hip with the kids (and probably failing) ‘they were the bomb’. If you ordered these on their own you get 3 for £2.75. I would order ‘like a whole pile of these just for myself.’ You can tell a good onion ring on the first bite (and I did), the batter should be crisp and crunchy and the onion soft, and a bite should take a bit of both and leave the rest intact. These did just that, well done indeed.
The chips are OK they are well just chips, and there is nothing too much wrong there, way to many for a platter like this though. They do offer more interesting variants on the menu which I might think about on another day; options included ‘sea salt fries’, ‘rub spiced fries’, ‘cheese fries’ and even ‘pulled pork chilli fries’ (although that last one sounds like a meal in itself doesn’t it?)
The dirty rice did look a bit like uncle bens finest, but it was actually really nice with a nice bit of spice and we really liked it. Funnily enough I only chose that when I found out that there was no Mac ‘n’ Cheese, but you know what? I am glad that I did. I could have had a much more of that on my plate and I would order that again
I always like a bit of the corn on the cob (usually nice slathered in butter, but I suppose you cant have everything). It was nice to have something less rich on the plate so I was happy enough with something quite simple.
Now that we had made a little room it was time to try the main event and some of that meat.
The slow smoked ribs are quite decent, the meat is tender and falls easily off the bone with a light bite. Lightly smoked and gently spiced would be fair assessment of these. I would order these again but would perhaps want a few more BBQ sauce options to go with them.
The half chicken was a mixed affair, the leg meat was nice and juicy, but the breast meat was a little on the dry side. It is so hard to keep it moist I know but it did need to be dipped in the BBQ sauce to help it out, the charred skin on the chicken was really good and I would have been happy just with that as a side and no chicken.
The big pile of shredded meat in the picture was the pulled pork which had been smothered in BBQ sauce, and while quite rich, it was also a pretty decent effort. The menu describes it thus; “Smoked over hickory stove for over 15 hours, hand pulled and coated in our famous smokey barbecue sauce”.
Next to the pulled work was the real star on this platter; that 16 hour brisket. The menu simply describes it as “Aged Beef Brisket slowly smoked over hickory and coated in our JD ™ BBQ Gravy“. That gravy was excellent and of everything on the platter I would order this as a meal in itself. It comes ‘served with fries or mash & one side’ for £12.95. The chap at the table next to ours was having a bowlful with the mash and some corn on the cob, he seemed pretty content and I felt I would also have been content sitting eating that bowl as well.
Outside Rub there is a chalkboard encouraging the diner to #Treat Yourself and to #Challenge Yourself. Well I think that we managed both of those by ordering that platter, it was both. I suppose by default if I knew what it meant we may have also completed the last hash tag #RubYourSelfie, but perhaps if I tag this post with that then I really will have done so.
Now I know that you may be thinking that the platter we munched our way through is a bit intimidating, perhaps rather overfacing, and maybe even just downright greedy. You may well be right on all accounts, and if you read my thoughts where it seems that I liked some things and that didn’t like others it may seem that it was a waste getting the whole platter and that perhaps I should have just had one dish.
But what if I chose wrong? would I want to come back?
Whenever I travel to a new city I like to take those open top bus trip that takes you around the place showing you all the key places and perhaps showing you places that you had not even though of going to. That is kind of how I felt about ordering the platter, some places or tastes I will come back to, some I will just be glad that I met just that once. If I was to say right now, then with conviction I would have the brisket with the mash, I would have the BBQ chicken wings, and I would have those onion rings.
Things that I would like to see here is a greater range of BBQ sauces on the table. In my travels I have been to plenty of Rib Fests and BBQ competitions across the states, and all the best people have one or two really good signature sauces, and most have a good range of at least 5 or so, and with smoked BBQ it can really make the difference elevating a good bit of smoked meat into a magnificent meal.
You can read more about Rub Smokehouse and Bar on their Facebook Page and on their Twitter Feed. You might also be interested to read about where their meat comes from? They get it from Sykes House Farm in Wetherby North Yorkshire. On the Rub website they tell us that “Their passion for meat cuts is evident and their farming ethics are second to none. They have years of expertise in butchery of American style cuts of meat.”
Sounds good to me!
Anyhow this place is just about 1-2 mins walk from the Lace market Tram stop at 2-4 Adams Street and although it seems pretty popular you can still get a table if you walk in.