Grillstock Smokehouse review

With their legendary festivals and kick ass street food the opening of Grillstock’s latest venture, a smokehouse on Clifton triangle was always going to cause something of a stir.

Walking through the door you are transported from West-country Bristol to an American dive bar reminiscent of TV series like Sons of Anarchy where rockabilly music and Harley Davidsons rule supreme.
Grillstock Smokehouse Outside

On the website, owner Ben Merrington talks of a social dining experience with “everyone sitting elbow to elbow” and describes the dining experience as “meat, music and mayhem” – well, I think they definitely achieve that!

Jonny Cash booms out at an “as loud as we dare before someone complains” volume, the walls are covered in posters and large, arty stencils. Seating is one long table with cutlery and condiments chucked in the centre, capturing the community spirit of ole’ Americana – we’re all in it together.

The menu is simple; meat, bourbon and beer with a few side dishes and soft drinks thrown in for good measure. BBQ plates such as brisket and pulled pork come with chips, sides and corn breads and portions are huge. Also on the menu are burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs.

We chose the hot dogs on our first visit. Sam, the chilli dog, a large meaty sausage covered in homemade ‘hillbilly chilli’ whilst I went for the hog dog, served came with delicious pulled pork.

At £6.50 a hot dog it felt a little expensive but the portions and quality more than justified the cost. The sausage was meaty with lots of flavour, the pulled pork juicy and tender with great smokey undertones, neither greasy nor tough. These really are hot dogs at their finest and I’d challenge anyone to find a better dog in Bristol.

As a side we ordered BBQ beans, home made with pulled pork. Rich and smokey in flavour with a spicy kick – a million miles from their poor relations of the tinned variety. If I had to pick a fault it would be that the bread wasn’t that great. Good enough as a hotdog vessel but not the highest quality. That said, this is me being pernickety and I was too engrossed in my awesome meat feast to really pay much attention to the bread.

To drink, Sam ordered an American lager (Sam Adams) and I had a doctor pepper. I liked the bourbon selection on the menu, and was particularly impressed to see picklebacks making an appearance… whiskey with pickle juice chaser. I discovered these a couple of years ago when visiting Colorado and whilst I remain a sceptic (pickle juice being a bizarre choice of beverage) the novelty is kind of cool and my American friends couldn’t get enough of them. It’s these subtle touches which bring authenticity to what Grillstock is all about.

Our next visit (just a week later) Sam chose the burger and I opted for the pulled pork sandwich. My sandwich was tasty with lots of meat and went well with Grillstock’s own brand BBQ sauce. Sam rated the burger, it came with pulled pork was generous in size and he assures me tasted great. We weren’t as awestruck as we had been with the hot dogs, but both agreed that our meals tasted great and we left very satisfied.

So my verdict of Grillstock? It’s not super cheap, although still very affordable with a meal and drinks for two costing well under £25. The food is good quality and great tasting especially the hot dogs which are still rocking my palate. More than this the atmosphere is just plain cool, Grillstock have provided Bristol with the perfect place to chill out with food and friends. Meat, beer, rock and roll – what more could you ask for?!

*definitely not suitable for vegetarians

Grillstock Smokehouse
41 Triangle West, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1ER
t: 0117 927 3200
twitter: @grillstock

One thought on “Grillstock Smokehouse review

  1. andy Reply

    called in yesterday [16/11/14] had the pulled brisket sandwich awesome staff see u all soon

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