Red Dog Saloon @ Nottingham

Previously had a very good but expensive meal at the Red Dog Saloon in Clapham North in that London, and had my first proper taste of burnt ends and brisket. That was a good few years ago now, so it was pleasing to find that one had popped up closer to home in Nottingham in what used to be an overpriced clothes shop on Victoria Street.

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Much like Red’s True BBQ on the other side of town, Red Dog Saloon waxes lyrical about authentic American barbecue from the South of the USA. Their meat is slow roasted over fire pits for up to 16 hours to leave it as tender and as juicy as possible. it’s also smoked from the smouldering hickory and mesquite wood to add a distinctive flavour.

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I ordered the ‘Punisher’ and a side of fries. I was disappointed that it didn’t come with fries included in the price of the burger, given that it was over £12. Also while I was eating it I didn’t really feel as though I was being punished to be honest – it was perfectly manageable and I wasn’t feeling particularly glutinous. I have since since pictures of the stacked Devastator burger which looks bloody ridiculous and comes with it’s own man vs Food style challenge. It looked too pricey and far too calorific for a sane man of my age and cholesterol to attempt.

The music is old-fashioned upbeat blues rock and at the volume they were playing it quite annoying, and with only a few groups of people in the place is was quite noisy with people trying to be heard over the music.

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They had a well-stocked bar with a number of beers on draught.

The in-house hickory smoked BBQ sauces were thin and watery much like at Red’s while I much prefer a sauce to have the consistency of ketchup. The flavours of the sauces were okay but dripped off anything I squirted it on rather than sticking to it.

The service was quick and reasonably friendly, if a little brusque, especially given that I was eating alone to begin with – you think they might have been a bit friendlier towards me. Billy no mates.

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The pork atop my burger had a subtle smoky flavour, and was indeed juicy and tender. The bacon was tough and stringy but again had a good deep flavour. The American cheese I assume was a sauce as it had mostly disappeared by the time I had worked my way through the layers of the burger to get to it. I would’ve much preferred a slice of cheese, but when it comes to presenting ‘dirty’ burgers like this its a standard MO to squirt some cheese sauce from a bottle over the burger.

The burger was well cooked, had a very nice flavour and a good texture – crispy on the outside and cooked but still juicy on the inside. The fries were pretty standard fare.

I then had a chance encounter with an ex work colleague who was also on his own. He joined me at my table. He had a root beer and the Philly cheese steak which he told me was very good.

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I got a root beer too – Dominion root beer made with pure honey – bottled rather than on draft. Again this purported to be genuinely authentic American based on recipes ‘found at the Library of Congress’. It has a strong medicinal aromatic taste and while it says it’s made with honey this was third on the list after sugar and carbonated water, followed by at least three ‘laboratory’ chemicals so let’s not get too carried away about its heritage.

Red Dog Saloon seems like a good place to go with your mates at the start of a boozy night out or for a big lunch at the weekend. The trappings were less industrial that Red’s and I guess you might say as a result it was cosier. There’s an equally long trek to the toilets by the way, so you really need to set off before you are really busting!

Here’s some idea of the current menus:

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