Mr. and Mrs. Flavour take their taste buds down South at their favourite American barbecue restaurant.
I’d just returned from a business trip to New York and was feeling sleepy, sweaty and seriously hungry. Mrs. Flavour sure knows how to push the right buttons, suggesting we forgo the hassle of a home cooked meal and mosey on down to our much-loved local eatery. I phoned the good people at Dukes and was surprised to secure a last-minute table at this ridiculously popular venue. I put it down to my masculine authority, distinctive mellifluous tone and popularity with the staff. (Mrs. Flavour’s note: It was 6:30 on a Wednesday, you pillock! Plus, it was 28 degrees and they’re hardly a bleedin’ ice cream parlour. Under those circumstances, they’ll put up with your faux-American accent and shoddy Dad jokes if it means filling the restaurant).
As London hipster code dictates, approximately 1/3 of all restaurants within a stones’ throw of Shoreditch must serve smoked meat and stock at least 785 craft beers with quirky names. Dukes Brew and Que is no exception to this rule – but nobody does it better! Sat at our distressed wood table and surrounded by full sleeve tattoos and beards, we were bought the obligatory vintage milk bottle full of tap water and the extensive list of beers. I generally favour a crisp Samuel Adams. However, my American colleagues recently pointed out that drinking a bottle of Sam makes you look as knowledgeable and unique as a trackie clad hoodlum swigging a Carling outside bargain booze. Time to up my game with a Beavertown Gamma Ray, which hits the zesty sweet spot between cool local craft brew and tramp-strength power booze. My delightfully cultured wife opted for a refreshing Partizan Pale Ale. Great to see our London brewers giving the Belgian big boys a run for their money. At least we’ll have something decent to drown our sorrows when the dreaded Brexit happens.
Never has there been a more harmonious marriage than the wedding of beer to hot wings (Mrs. Flavour’s note: fancy the sofa again, do you?). We opted for a portion of the hotter variety. Crispy exterior, succulent flesh and a tantalising dance between fiery Bastardo sauce and ice cool blue cheese dip. The culinary song of the South, y’all. Throw in some crispy fried pickles with Creole garlic remoulade and it’s a real Dixieland hoe down. YEEEE HAW! (Mrs. Flavour’s note: There were zero Americans present. You’d better not be planning to write one of your Trump jokes into this review).
Now for the epic main event. Dukes greatest hits, and great they were too: Smokey pulled pork set off by the sweetest pickled red onions. Bold slow cooked ribs that are so mouthwateringly stupendous that I think the piggies were pleased to part with them. The hefty chunk of Texan toast makes a welcome addition. I doubt I’d want a fat white slice with garlic and parmesan aside my morning cuppa but with this feast, bring it on! The name may be Dukes but the true King on up in here is the slow cooked beef rib. This monstrous 17 ouncer sits resplendent upon his barbecued throne, daring pretenders to the crown to challenge his meaty dominion. A charred outer crust holds a ruby interior of juicy, tasty, slow cooked perfection. Massive in size and gargantuan in flavour. This is what low and slow cooking is all about.
No room for dessert after riding that rodeo of ‘qued delicacies to the finish. We’re out the door and setting off into the sunset with our bellies full of culinary gold. There are other local barbecue joints but Dukes Brew and Que is the true Royal in this city. Come on London, let’s make Barbecue great again!
(Mrs. Flavour’s note: What did I tell you?)