Posted 27th July 2013
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.
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.
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.
*definitely not suitable for vegetarians