Last night we visited the Blue’s Smokehouse in Bracknell following many recommendations from family and friends. It’s essentially an American themed diner, offering a plethora of the finest barbecued meats and the most flavoursome sides. It’s located in a renovated pub, which to me, gave it a very welcoming and comfortable feel, as opposed to the usual diners with plastic booths and the like. There is also a smell of hickory in the air that hits you as soon as you walk in. We did visit at 5.30pm on a Thursday evening, and I’m sure it gets a little more hectic at weekends, but the atmosphere was very relaxed and I didn’t feel like I needed to eat and run (certainly no running after the feasts they have on offer). That said, it was at near enough full capacity by the time we left.

We ordered a couple of Heinekens at the bar (incidentally selling pints as well as bottles) while we perused the highly attractive menu (especially to someone who hadn’t eaten all day in preparation!) brimming with ribs, chicken, burgers, hotdogs, shakes – everything you’d expect to find on an authentic BBQ menu in the American South, and more (including tasty options for vegetarians such as Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Lentil and Barley burger). However, we had already heard the word on the street about ‘The Challenge Platter’…and we thought the House of Greedy were up to it (plus, it’s a great way to try everything when you simply can’t choose).

As it arrived at the table the waitress said ‘feeling hungry?’ with a chuckle. I can see why. The size of a dinner tray it consisted of a huge rack of ribs, sausages, sliced brisket, burnt ends, half a BBQ chicken, pulled pork, slaw, a large bowl of BBQ beans, an onion basket and a very generous helping of fries. The only thing to do was get stuck in…immediately. My oh my.

Everything tasted wonderful. It’s very hard to pick out the star of the show, because it was all so full of flavour. Even the beans contained pulled pork, that’s as well as being smoked and finished off with Bourbon. The ribs were so sweet and tender they they just fell off the bone, and chicken was succulent and juicy. We managed to eat the whole thing between us, leaving just one sausage and a small handful of fries.

At this point I was sufficiently and pleasantly full but dare I say it, but, we did ask to see the dessert menu. I’m a real sucker for ice cream and they have so many tempting flavours to select from. I decided to go all out and order a scoop of Cioccolato (rich and dark chocolate) and a scoop of Ciokomenta (mint choc chip). I’ll let the picture tell the tale, but it certainly was some of the best I’ve tasted. This was my first time sampling Joe Delucci’s tremendous Italian ‘gelato’ ice cream. The ingredients tasted so clean and pure, not laced with sugar and cream. Fewer calories too, so I’m told. It’s won me over and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for it from now on. The husband went for a shot of Knob Creek instead (apparently a mighty fine Bourbon – he now wants a bottle for his birthday).

It wasn’t until after we had left the restaurant that the true fullness set in. It creeps up on you! We did have to have a lie down for a few hours. That said, we demolished a platter of meat and sides between us. Next time, we’re going to order more modestly but I’m glad to say we went the whole hog (pardon the pun) because I know that whatever we order on future visits, definitely won’t disappoint. The staff are attentive, the place is spotless and the food is cooked to perfection. If you like your BBQ, nothing can beat it. Already choosing my next meal.

Blue’s Smokehouse
High Street, Bracknell, Berks, RG12 1DS