Review – Little Blue Smokehouse

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Pop up restaurants have got to be one of my all time favourite dining experiences. The anticipation as to what exactly will be on the menu paired with eating great food (often cheaply) in a pub setting is something I crave we saw more of across the city.

So, imagine my delight when Street Diner regulars The Little Blue Smokehouse announced they would be serving their array of smoked meats and other delights at one of Brighton and Hove’s best pubs. Partnering with Craft Beer Co. on Upper North Street, the Little Blue Smokehouse team brought their usual array of smoked meats plus an additional special of beer braised pigs cheeks.

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Little Blue Smokehouse started life as an experiment in the Crowborough pub, Blue Anchor. Owner Martyn began experimenting with smokers, soon expanding on his American BBQ skills and turning a hobby into a full time career.

“I am very particular about my produce, we source all our meat from Sussex and use local butchers, game dealers and buy direct from small holdings. Where ever possible we use organic produce and believe in seasonality and sustainability” Martyn informed me. He went on to say “all our dry rubs and sauces are my own recipes, we use different rubs for different meats and different finishes depending on the product. Some we smoke to finish, some we finish in the oven and some get steamed, braised, chargrilled or deep fried.”

At this particular pop up Martyn had pulled pork, pastrami and brisket available but something a little more exotic took my fancy and I ordered the smoked and beer braised pig cheeks with pickled asian mustard greens, kimchi aioli and sides of pickled plums and homemade ‘slaw (£7), all served in a large white bap.

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When street food traders go against the standard fare and give the public something a little bit different and a little bit interesting to try, it fills me with glee. Martyn and his team had it spot on with the combination of fleshy yet melting smoked and steamed pig cheeks alongside the Japanese tinged spring greens and umeboshi.

Serving this combination of wet foods in a bun may have been a step too far as the kimchi got slightly lost and saturated into the bread, however, this didn’t detract from the flavours which went together really well. Crunching on homemade purple and traditional coleslaw gave a much needed crunch to the dish.

Devoured alongside three friends and washed down with one of Craft Beer Co’s medium ciders, Pheasant Plucker at 4.5% and a reasonable £4 a pint, Little Blue Smokehouse clearly have a great eye for food and their smoking capabilities were very well received across the board.

Be on the look out for Martyn’s home smoked range of meats and other delicacies popping up in the not too distant future.

Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper 20/12/13