A good friend of mine recommended I try Hickory’s Smokehouse, and because we have almost the same taste in food, I completely trusted her opinion, without even having to go online and check reviews or menus or pricing! All I did was check the address, and made my way there!
It’s set in the pretty location of Chester, which makes for a great day out; after some shopping and strolling by the river, you can treat yourself at this American Smokehouse.
As you get closer to the restaurant, the smell is undeniable. A hint of smoked wood, with underlying tones of tangy barbeque sauce, which gets your appetite going before you even walk through the door. The restaurant is huge, with outdoor seating available, and it was full when we arrived on a Saturday afternoon- good sign!
As you walk in, you’re surrounded by American themed memorabilia and food items like cans of egg-nog, tubs of ‘fluff’ and large bags of tootsie rolls! The walls are lined with weird and quirky sauces and condiments, all of which you can try out with your food. The bar is quite small, so we had to stand around for about 20 minutes until our table was ready. No problem though, as we were served delicious home-made American cloudy lemonade in a large jam jar, which tasted just like the ones I had when I went to Las Vegas- very refreshing! There are different types of seating at the restaurant, with some quirky private booths with their own private TV inside, so you can watch a game while enjoying your food- those are popular though so you’ll have to book in advance if you want one!
We chose to sit at the ‘chef’s table’, partly because it was the only seating available, but also because it’s pretty cool to see what’s going on in the kitchen! When we first sat down, the waitress brought over a bag of salty popcorn, freshly made from the large popcorn machine, as a snack while we checked the menu- loved it!
We decided to go for the ‘Smokehouse Platter’ which is a little bit of everything: Memphis style baby back ribs, hot links, jumbo beef rib, Kansas style ribs, beef brisket, BBQ pulled pork with baked beans, fries, slaw and a side of Mac n Cheese. My personal favourite from this selection? The brisket… by far the best brisket I’ve tasted to date, incredibly moist with a crunchy exterior. The link sausages came a close second but everything tasted great, you can’t go wrong with slow cooked, smoked barbeque, can you?
The portions are huge- as you would expect with an American themed restaurant, but the best thing is that the meat tastes incredible! I haven’t been to Texas and tried ‘real BBQ’ so I can only imagine what the food tastes like having watched hours and hours of food shows like man vs. food, diners drive ins and dives, bizzare foods America and so on… I’m sure people from that part of the world would have something to say about a restaurant in the UK trying to recreate those flavours… but as far as I’m concerned, the food here is as authentic as it can be and tastes great to me!
I’ll definitely be going back to this place, even if it is over an hour’s drive to get there! Next time I’ll be trying the pulled pork nachos, which my neighbour was having and looked delicious, and might try one of the burgers on the menu, after seeing how they’re prepared.