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Couldn’t make it to the Big Smoke for the Big Grill in Dublin this week where local chef John Relihan was taking a leading role. But there was considerable consolation when I visited John’s local, Holy Smoke in Cork's Mardyke complex. Lots of smoked meat, Holy Fruit too for dessert and Holy Water and unholy beer (Punk) as the evening unfolded.
They don't really go in for starters here. True, there are few things to nibble but I usually go straight to the beef. Or the pork. Or the chicken. You can get some massive tray-fuls here. The largest is the BBQ Blowout (€24.50). You’ll get Brisket Burnt Ends, Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs, Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken, and Pulled Pork. Mega stuff. Great for a family to share or a group visit. Not too many will manage one of these on his or her own!
You’ll notice different woods on the menu here and that's because each wood has different flavour compounds. As well as the big trays, you may try the individual meats Pork, Beef, and Chicken. And Burgers too.
The Big One!
Oh, by the way, John Relihan and Holy Smoke are committed to the “sustainable sourcing of produce”. “Where possible, all of our ingredients and supplies are carefully selected from handpicked Irish producers and suppliers. We do everything we can to ensure the highest level of food provenance from field to fork.” Good to hear. I like it like that!
And what will you drink with that? There is a varying list of craft beers available, some on tap, more in bottle, and they have a direct line to Porthouse! There is even a list of cocktails and then a good selection of spirits: whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila. And some wines too.
Beer was our choice the other night. I got a pint of Brewdog’s Punk IPA on draught and CL enjoyed her bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (a beer that I rather liked myself, based on a limited, very limited, sample!).
Still, my Brewdog and some of that Holy Water went well with my twelve euro Burger, the Juicy Lucy, grilled over a sweet mixture of beech, chestnut and oak charcoal. I got a 6 ounce burger with a Gubbeen cheese core, grilled onions, mixed lettuce and beef tomato, served with naked slaw, and pickles.
CL went for the Real Deal, also twelve euro. This is pulled pork smoked slow and low mixed with their own BBQ sauce, topped with just slaw and served with naked slaw and pickles. By the way, you get a choices of sides, so, from their Sideshow, we shared their Pit-smoked Beans and also the Skinny Fries.
Both burgers were delicious, great combinations of textures, tastes and flavours, and both sides were much appreciated as well. Really top notch burgers and the beers weren't bad either!
Desserts? Yes please. Always have time and room for their Holy Fruit. That too has been on the grill but we’d prefer it warm rather than this week’s cold version. Overall though great stuff and an enjoyable visit, made even more so by the lively, chatty and efficient service from start to finish.