I’m a little bit surprised that I haven’t already blogged about Red’s, considering it is one of my absolute favourite places to eat in Leeds. Perhaps because I know it’s so popular already, I didn’t feel the need to promote it further, but since there’ll be some people reading this blog who are new to Leeds, I want to make sure they know about it!
Red’s is on the corner of Call Lane, next to the Corn Exchange. You’ll probably smell it before you see it. The smell of slow cooked meat is just too hard to resist – do NOT walk by here if you’re hungry and have other dinner plans. It will just make you feel sad if you can smell the food but can’t eat here. It’s not unusual to see people who have to walk past it look mournfully back, wiping away their drool.
Red’s is where you go if you want to eat big amounts of delicious smoked meat. Don’t bring your veggie friends here – not only will there be very limited things on the menu for them, but they’ll also be able to see all the meat cooking in the kitchen in the centre and the smell really is strong. (If you want to eat somewhere like this with a non-meat eater, I’d suggest Smoke BBQ instead as the smell isn’t as overpowering and you don’t feel like you’re surrounded by so much meat!) It’s also not a fancy place to go out (expect trays rather than plates for example) but there’s a really good atmosphere.
Inspired by road trips across the southern states of America, there’s plenty to choose from on the menu – all the classic barbecue foods (burgers, wings, ribs, slaw, fries…) done in Red’s own special way. I don’t have a favourite dish to recommend as they’re all great; I just normally go for the tray of meat where you can choose various different dishes.
If we go in a group of four however, that’s a different matter. James and I like to go with the Booths because they enjoy their food as much as we do. The BBQ feast is a no-brainer when we go to Red’s with them. The Feast is a dustbin lid full of St Louis ribs, baby back tips, burnt ends, black Angus brisket, sticky chicken, smokey sausage, pulled pork, cornbread, slaw, onion rings, skin-on fries and a pipette of bourbon. It is goooood!
I’m sorry I don’t have more photos of the food at Red’s, but we normally get stuck in before I even have time to think about taking a picture!
The sauces at Red’s are also pretty amazing, so make sure you try them all when you eat there.
Last year we went to Red’s for a Christmas meal (is it too early to mention Christmas yet??). This was a great set menu, similar to the BBQ feast but with oak smoked turkey, cheese and jalapeño blankets, candied yams as well as some other festive treats. The pulled pork stuffing balls were incredible. I’m getting so hungry writing about this!
My main tip for going to Red’s is don’t make any plans for afterwards. Eating at Red’s will put you in a meat coma. You will be too full to do anything, even just sitting and drinking. We made the mistake of going to Red’s before the Hi-Fi club earlier this year to watch Hot-8 Brass Band and I really regretted being too full to dance to their awesome New Orleans/Hip Hop funk!
One visit to Red’s True Barbecue is all it takes to become a believer for life.