BBQ Shack at the World’s End pub, Brighton (review)

Brighton trainAs a huge fan of American BBQ I was thrilled to read Jay Rayner’s recent glowing review of the food at The World’s End pub in Brighton, my hometown of London being somewhat oversaturated with disappointingly mediocre examples of this fine cuisine born in the heat and smoke of the South.  So recently, when family duty saw me down in that corner of the world I hurried with unconcealed excitement to this unassuming little pub on the distant outskirts of Brighton’s central shopping district, ready for a feast of ribs, wings and slaw.

A little something called the bank holiday weekend conspired against me however, and when we rocked up early Sunday lunchtime (food served “12-‘til it runs out”) we were told by a weary server that much of the menu was sold out, including those famous ribs.  Ah well, I said, save that for next time, what I’m REALLY craving now is some hot wings. But no, they’re not on the menu either, not ever in fact – how can you do American BBQ and not have wings?  Aren’t sticky, BBQ- or hot sauce- glazed wings charred from the pit, succulent within, and served with their best-friend-in-bad-taste, blue cheese sauce, a key staple on any menu of this sort?! Apparently not here, a BBQ restaurant located in a cavernous dark wood-panelled pub catering largely (when we were there) to the football-watching locals.  I desperately wanted to like it, being a big fan of anywhere I can curl up at 1pm with a pint and a book, but nowhere that shuts its windows and rolls down its shutters on a bright sunny day, just in order to improve the visibility of its three giant projector-screen televisions, is going to win with me, no matter how many leather sofas and walls of books it has.

BBQ Shack at the World's End pub, BrightonBack to the food, and once we’d recovered from the ribs and chicken wing disappointments there was plenty to choose from that whetted the appetite and we eventually settled on a beef brisket bap and chilli-cheese hot dog, plus sides of fries and coleslaw.  When it arrived it transpired that the ‘fries’ were in fact big chunky chips, just as one might have from any chippy on the pier (when I order fries I want FRIES dammit – American, thin-cut, FRIES) and the hot dog was actually a huge fat sausage of the Cumberland variety I suspect given how pungent it was with herbs. Neither item was at all unpleasant (the chips in fact were excellent), but also emphatically not what was expected or desired.  The beef brisket was flavoursome and tender, a clear indicator of someone skilled at the grill, and the chilli on the hot dog was proper old-school: no namby pamby mince here, just huge chunks of slow-cooked meat and tender little pinto beans.

Sadly the good ended there, with everything else a bit of a letdown (again, not bad precisely, just not, well – not what you expect from somewhere Lord Rayner describes as the home of “real BBQ”).  Everything cried out for sauce but all the condiments on offer – and let’s face it this kind of food is DESIGNED for condiments – were ridiculously vinegary: the ketchup, chipotle BBQ sauce, the ‘very hot’ chilli sauce (not hot), the jarred jalapenos, everything, right down to the otherwise fruity and flavourful sauce that accompanied my hot dog.  I like acetic acid as much as the next person but I quickly felt my mouth pickling under the influence, and there was no doubt everything needed the lubrication – I suspect the otherwise tasty chilli had perhaps been stewing under a hot lamp since the beginning of the bank holiday.

Would I go back?  Well yes, to try the ribs denied me on this occasion, but I won’t be making a special trip, and in all honesty I think for your American BBQ needs you’d be better off at Bodeans.

The World’s End Pub (http://www.bbqshack.co.uk)
2 main meals with sides and two drinks –£23.26.
World's End on Urbanspoon

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About Emma

Sometime chef and utterly besotted foodie out to eat the world!
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7 Responses to BBQ Shack at the World’s End pub, Brighton (review)

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  3. Thank you for that Emma! Completely agree with you, American fries should be thin…and crispy…and thin!!!!! We shall see if they have ribs this weekend, I will get back yo you on that. Mmmmm also – cumberland sausages instead of a dirty dog is a crime. Definitely shall not be ordering that. I want my dog nicely processed.
    Why do people mess with things like that? i.e.home-made beans with an English breakfast…never!

    • John Hargate says:

      hi Emma/ Olia. sorry to disappoint you but thanks anyway for the review.We don;t really serve too much American[ Kansas City sweet and sticky] BBQ , we serve Texas style [ sauce on the side and chunkier fries aka Texas toothpicks ]. Our sausages aren’t Cumberland as you stated [I should know, I am from the north west] they are Texas hot links. we do now serve hot wings but with our own peach and jabanero BBQ sauce, not a Buffalo sauce.[ that ain't BBQ its a yankee thing] There shouldn’t have been any beans in your chilli though It’s true that if you believe BBQ should be all about the sauce then you’re probably better off with Bodeans.Those who believe their BBQ should be about the meat can come to us. British BBQ Society Grand Champions[ 2010 and 2011 ] and we’ll look after them.

      • Emma says:

        Thanks for stopping by John, it’s always interesting to get an insider’s point of view on a review. Olia may well be popping in this weekend so hopefully she’ll be able to taste your famous ribs and experience the rapture Jay Rayner spoke of!

    • John Hargate says:

      DON’T JUDGE OUR SAUSAGE TILL YOU’VE TRIED THEM, THESE ARE TEXAS HOT LINKS …A DIFFERENT ENTITY TO THE BEEF KOSHER DOGS FOUND IN CHICAGO AND NEW YORK. BTW I WOULD NEVER PUT BEANS ON AN ENGLISH BREAKFAST. THAT’S JUST FOR PEASANTS. LAMBS KIDNEYS HOWEVER SHOULD BE THERE,

  4. Lils says:

    Hmm…a bit late to this, but to be honest, thick-cut fries are pretty standard in the States if you’re not at a fast food chain. I’m not from anything resembling a BBQ region, but I’ve always had big country-style or waffle fries or whatnot like that with barbecue if it’s at a restaurant…crispy thin fries are kind of a letdown, and generally only expected at a bar’s late-night happy hour, haha. And of course chilli is hotly debated, but here in the north it’s beans (usually kidney) and ground beef, with tomatoes as an ingredient in the sauce. Them’s fightin’ words to many parts of the country, though no one really cares up here.

    Fantastic blog btw! I got here looking for Vietnamese caramel pork and got to browsing. :)

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